Financial TimesFinancial Times

Science is losing its ability to disrupt

By Anjana Ahuja

18 Jan 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Modern science and technology are merely "polishing the same conceptual pennies rather than producing disruptive breakthroughs, the Financial Times argues. Dive in to discover why.

There is, according to an eye-catching metric doing the rounds, a malaise at the heart of the scientific enterprise. This noble pursuit seems to be slowing down in its ability to disrupt convention.

Evidence of that deceleration, according to the metric’s creators, can be spied in decreasingly novel patent applications. Rather than minting revolutionary ways of thinking, science and technology are increasingly polishing the same conceptual pennies. If iterative research is displacing its more radical cousin, to the possible detriment of knowledge, human wellbeing and the economy, then science and technology may require some disruption of their own.

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