How Do New Technologies Emerge?

I’m thinking generally about the war on coal and the subsequent loss of generating capacity and what to do about it, and I’m trying to wrap my brain around the evolution of technology, and by what means and in what environments new technologies are most likely to emerge and replace existing technologies. Do we know how this happens in the real world? Is the creation and development of new technologies generally an organic event, or a planned event, or all happenstance?

We are feeding tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to renewable tech. Why are we doing this? I mean beyond the desire to replace carbon-based energy with clean renewable energy. I get that part. But what experience, what example, what pattern of tech creation are we trying to emulate?

Has anyone studied or written on this subject? You would think that with all the examples of technological advancements in the United States, many of which are recent and significant, that we would have a good grasp of the political, consumer, social, and financial environments from which most new technologies emerge and develop and become adopted. We could identify and nurture that pro-growth environment for the technologies that are really important to us as a society. Look at examples like computer chips and computing power, which is growing at an exponential rate. How did this happen? What about communications? High yield crops? Pharmaceutical advances?

I’d appreciate any advice, book references, literature, what have you, that can describe to me the model we should be following on renewable energy development and adoption. I really want to know.


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