Neal Stephensonin an MIT lecture hall last week [said that] a hundred years from now, we might look back on the late 20th and early 21st century and say, “It was an actively creative society. Then the Internet happened and everything got put on hold for a generation.”
Stephenson was clearly trying to be provocative. But he’s not alone in the judgment that we’re not actually living in an era of great innovation. Economist Tyler Cowen’s ebook-turned-book, The Great Stagnation made similar points.
A worthwhile read. This is a subject that interests me — here’s an old post of mine from 2007 exploring related territory. It’s also perhaps worth considering Kurt Andersen’s recent Vanity Fair essay wondering if the culture is “stuck on repeat” these days.
It’s always possible to poke at such arguments, but I find these views worth serious consideration. I believe there’s some truth to them.