There are two driving forces that are responsible for slowing down the technological progress in the past 20 years:
- It became hard to discover new things
- People has grown more hedonistic and less interested in pursuing something great
Let’s talk more about each of these forces.
Hard to Discover New Things
How much equipment William Gilbert needed to discover electricity? A piece of amber.
How much equipment did Higgs need to discover his boson? A multi-billion international investment to build a colossal tunnel that runs across two countries and many years of work of tens of thousands of the best scientists in the world.
Now compare what electricity meant for the world and how marginal and unrelated to our daily lives Higgs boson is.
You see, it’s not only more difficult, but it’s also exponentially more difficult to discover something genuinely new, something truly groundbreaking. We’re witnessing diminishing returns on investment in science. The next boson will require 10x as much resources to discover, and it will probably be less significant.
Hedonism Runs Amok
Our attention spans shrank to several seconds. Our mobile devices provide all the entertainment and all the distractions we need in the world to keep us busy. Our food, our drinks, our drugs, our Playstations, and Netflixes, and TV Shows and delivery services gave us an unlimited opportunity not to do what is truly important.
More and more potential Einsteins are playing Roblox, Fortnite, or another of highly-addicting massively multiplayer online games. They browse through Facebook and Instagram, liking, re-tweeting and commenting, without creating anything new, without even having a chance to develop their true potential that one day could’ve created a cure from cancer - or anti-gravity pods, or faster-than-light travel.
Then they go and do easy jobs at large corporations selling Ads and earn 5x as much as the brightest scientist. Then they go home and watch Netflix, and jerk off on porn.
That’s how our civilization’s progress stops - and eventually, that’s how our civilization dies. That’s probably why we don’t see other civilizations out there. They became too complacent. They died out. The space travel distances are far too great, and the next item in your FB feed is way too exciting.