October 1, 2011

innovation starvation

a highly recommend essay by neal stephenson.

it’s a remarkable dis-assembly of some of the things that have been personally nagging at me over the past few years. of note, our inability as a society to take large risks, loss of vision, a tendency to lean heavily on protective padding and the stifling impact of too much information.

stephenson points to the reason for stagnation as being certainty and something of a litigious environment. but i can’t help but wonder if the reason is simply laziness. as we’ve become accustomed to the ease with which we can get novel new things or fat with the artificial abundance that we load our fridges with; have we lost some drive? is it simply easier for the corporations to tell us what we need? as we spend ourselves into oblivion, is the big stuff simply too expensive for us to care about if the corporations keep the price just on the right side of painless?

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