Earlier I argued that technology in the west peaked in 1970, Tallest building 1972, coolest muscle cars, last man left the moon,though it continues to advance in some other parts of the world:
Unreasonable expectations points at another indicator. The most advanced plane ever built, the SR71, was built in 1966, retired 1972. One would have expected stealthed mach three fighters and bombers to replace it, but instead, slower, lower performance stealthed fighters and bombers replaced it. Unreasonable expectations argues that all advances since then have been driven solely by advances in photolithography, and that when photolithography runs out, technological advance will end.
A number of posts have appeared by a number of people reporting slowing in technology, or actual decline in the level of technology: See Locklin for a summary and review.
I would instead predict that technological advance in the west will end. I see new technologies, such as the blue light semiconductor laser, which makes possible modern DVDs, e-ink, which made possible the kindle, and new construction methods for very large buildings, which make possible the remarkably cool asian airports, continuing to appear in Asia.
You can see where the future is being made. The Oslo cityscape looks as though it should be in sepia, for the nineteenth century look – similarly when you google up street scenes from Europe and the US and compare them with equivalent street scenes from China.
In the 1930s, they imagined the world of tomorrow would look shiny and futuristic. It does look that way, but not in the west.
What is causing it?
Contrary to Charles Murray, it looks to me that our elite is less and less elite, less and less selected for ability, creativity, and intelligence, that it is now primarily selected for conformity and political correctness, and secondarily selected for race and gender, and thus excludes the person who is smarter than those around him, who tends to have difficulty conforming, and is apt to show signs of noticing the more illogical aspects of the holy faith. You observe a lot more women in today’s ruling elite, and women are noticeably less intelligent and logical, less capable of comprehending or advancing technology, and the smartest women are considerably less smart than the smartest men. There are no great female composers, despite the fact that women have been very strongly encouraged to go into music for several hundred years. There are no great female scientists, Marie Curie being a completely faked up poster girl and an affirmative action Nobel prize. So when you see lots of females in the elite, you are simply going to see less technology. You are going to see the really smart man (and he always is a man) simply have lower status and less time and resources to accomplish stuff.
If you read up on the challenger disaster, it is pretty obvious that the people making the decisions were just stupid, and engineers under them were markedly smarter. Mulloy simply did not understand Lund’s presentation. And because the bosses were just too dimwitted, the space shuttle fell out of the sky. Further, the reason Lund was low status and Mulloy was high status is because Mulloy was stupid enough to fit in with the elite, while Lund was just too smart to fit in.
Reading old books, it looks to me that in the US, selection on the basis of ability maxed in 1870 if we suppose breeding counts, and if we instead suppose that the college board test (which later became the SAT) is vastly more predictive than breeding, so that breeding should be completely and totally disregarded, then it looks to me that selection on the basis of ability maxed in 1910, when they started to worry more about the fact that high scorers tended to be affluent white males, than whether the exam accurately measured ability to benefit from the kind of material taught at college.
Ever since then, since 1870 or 1910, depending on how reactionary you are, our elite has just been getting dumber and dumber, hence, technological decline.