Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at the Pentagon’s Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California, believes the rate of technical innovation is slowing. Humanity’s inventiveness, he says, reached a peak a century ago and has been steadily decreasing since.
Huebner compared the number of major innovations to population over time. By his calculations the current global rate of innovation, which is running at seven “important technological developments” per billion people per year, matches the rate in 1600. Despite far higher standards of education and massive R&D funding “it is more difficult now for people to develop new technology”, Huebner says.