Make the most of your iPod, wi-fi and Blackberry because new inventions will be thin on the ground in years to come, a report has claimed. Technology will run out of steam within 20 years as we enter a new ‘dark age’, a top physicist has concluded.
Jonathan Huebner, of the Pentagon’s Naval Air Warfare Centre, believes the growth in innovation has slowed since reaching a peak more than 130 years ago. By comparing the number of major inventions and scientific advances to global population, he found that 1873 was out golden age.
And it has been all downhill since then, he told New Scientist magazine.
“Perhaps there is a limit to what technology can achieve,“ he said. “It is more difficult now for people to develop new technology. We are approaching the ‘dark ages point’ when the rate of innovation is the same as it was during the Dark Ages.”
But his critics argue there is plenty of evidence to show that innovation and technology is advancing as fas as ever but in different ways. John Smart, of the Acceleration Studies Institute in California, said: “People are heading for a comfortable cocoon where the machines are doing the work and the innovating. But we are not measuring that very well.”
Mr Huebner is not the first person to forecast an end of innovation. In 1899, the commissioner of the US patents office announced: “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Like the audio cassettes in 1962, for instance.