Neal Stephenson wrote a short piece on the apparent dearth of innovation, which he believes exists and is caused by the current general lack of risk-taking and investment.
As evidence, he cites our lack of progress on the Guinness Book of World Records front: we don't have people colonizing the Moon or Mars, let alone cheap space flight, our computers don't yet think for themselves, and he's still waiting for his jet-pack.
This is the same kind of argument we hear from guys who have a "super important" project on github that everyone just ignores. So, where do we see innovation?
To a physicist, technology equals a recipe for re-arranging items: we're not creating matter or energy, we just recombine stuff in a different way than before. As the costs of moving people, parts, and money change, so do the economically viable technologies.
If Stephenson sees unexploited economically viable opportunities, he should take advantage of them by investing some of the millions he's made from his books. Calling us all foolish cowards only works *after* he's made some leap into the future and advanced the state of the world.