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think of how much top-tier human and financial capital is tied up in recreating photo sharing apps, let alone other banal software pursuits

Sadly, market (profit) driven ventures usually seem incapable of making the big leaps and can only incrementally build on the status quo. It seems that a fundamental change can only be brought in by state (see ex. state funding for Silicon Valley leading to computer revolution), which will only shell out the big bucks when facing existential threats, such as war (military being a huge driver in technology, standarization, organization) or ex. epidemics. In current times, there are no imminent existential threats (solutions to global warming would require global coordination, which likely isn't going to happen), so the states mostly take a back seat and we're left with Snapchats and Ubers.

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