“At the most basic level, an economy grows when whenever people take resources and rearrange them in a way that makes them more valuable. […] We consistently fail to grasp how many ideas remain to be discovered. The difficulty is the same one we have with compounding: possibilities do not merely add up; they multiply.” — Paul Romer re: economic growth
There are reasons to be optimistic. The world is terrible overall, but it’s getting better by the day!
Or getting worse. It depends on who you ask.
The basic purpose of technological innovation is to enable things that weren’t possible before. This is also the basic result of technological innovation, so maybe “purpose” is irrelevant. It’s like Darwin established: things are just sort of happening, according to no one’s plan, and whatever works best will persist. Survival of the fittest, baby!
People tend to interpret “fittest” as “strongest”, but it actually means “most likely to successfully reproduce”. This is true of ideas and technologies as well as organisms — the concepts and techniques that spread easily are the ones that take hold and occasionally reshape society.