Interesting read here on different theories on why human technologies were slow to rise at first.
I think some core reasons why human technology was slow going at first in order of most likely to least likely are:
- Not many people…. 30,000 years ago there were orders of magnitude less humans, perhaps a few million. We now have 7 billion brains at work on technology.
- No free time. If you spend 95% of your time and effort avoiding predators, gathering berries, farming, hunting, fishing, building crude shelters, fighting diseases… it doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Today, modern humans only spend 1% of their time on food and not much more on shelter.
- No way of passing knowledge from great mind to great mind through generations. Without good publishing techniques, knowledge had to be passed verbally. Imagine if Newton’s Principia Mathematica had to be retold to you by a chain of 10 different people of varying intelligence… you probably would only end up getting 1% of his genius after a few rounds of generational telephone.