Technology grows because of different varieties of competition. People spend all that time researching because they want to gain something. The research gets more elaborate because previous advances free up time and make other resources available, but nobody has ever moved mankind forward, technologically, artistically, etc., without some form of insecurity motivating them.
The tensions causing technological creativity are, if anything, more intense than in previous eras, because technological creativity is the primary area of competition in today's world.
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