Every once in a while, I run into someone arguing that innovation and progress is now dead and the argument usually runs something like this:

Think of all the world changing “modern” inventions: Computers, the internet, cell phones etc. All of these things were actually invented over 40 years ago. We haven’t actually had any major innovation since then, only minor variations on a theme like Facebook and SMS. Ergo, we have already left the golden era of innovation.

However, this is a fallacious argument, if we were to go back 40 years, we could make the exact same claim. Telephones, rockets and the jet aircraft were the world changing modern inventions of that era and no world changing innovation has happened since then.

In the same way that it’s easier to see your hand than your nose, innovation also looks the most clear from a comfortable distance away. What this also means is that, if you know where to look, you can spot the shape of 2049. Innovations that will be considered world changing then are brewing right now and all it requires to predict it is a sufficient degree of insight about the present day.