How people actually get on board with new technologies

How long will it be, do you think, until companies such as Amazon start delivering packages to you by drone?

If that prospect seems fantastical to you, you’re not alone. According to a survey published Tuesday by the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, 57 percent of people are either neutral about it or think it’s a bad idea. Seventy-five percent of people think drone delivery is five years away at best; the rest think it will take even longer, if it happens at all.

There are some good reasons to think this timeline is accurate, which we will get into below. But the survey also reveals something else: Our skepticism of the technology may be a factor. That finding, which has been expressed in policy as a relatively slow approach to drone testing, helps shed important light on how technology adoption works more broadly. Here’s how.

In its questions, the Postal Service OIG asked respondents how they’d feel about companies such as Amazon, United Parcel Serivce and even the Postal Service itself if they decided to offer drone deliveries today, right now. And the results were unequivocal: Every brand’s reputation would suffer, suggesting there is a long way to go before drone deliveries really take off with consumers.

No matter if you’re Amazon, Google or UPS, rolling out drone delivery would result in customers’ thinking less of your company, the data show.

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