An old post, but man does it feel good to read/consider:

Which all makes me wonder: Are we are destined to hit a point where our global intellectual capacity is so taken up with maintaining the technological status quo, that we will loose the capacity for further technological innovation?  Or even worse; are we heading for a technology innovation impasse ends up degenerating into an uncertain and unenlightened future?

I have to say, I’m not an optimist here – that is, unless we learn how to build effective technology ratchets.

A mechanical ratchet, as everyone knows, is a device that allows movement in one direction only. By comparison, a technology ratchet can be considered as something that allows technology development to move forward, but prevents or inhibits it from moving backward.  The idea is to find ways to hold onto ground gained through technology innovation, without having to constantly expend huge amounts of effort in doing so…

<a href="http://2020science.org/2010/03/07/why-we-need-technology-ratchets/Why We Need Technology Ratchets at 2020 Science