How does Jared Diamond's theory that innovation is the mother of necessity relate to the traditional "heroic" model of invention in Guns, Germs and Steel?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Diamond points out that many inventions simply came about as the result of tinkering, and that they came into use only when society found a use for them, or when they were adapted to a use quite different than what the inventor initially intended. He cites the example of the phonograph, which Edison did not initially view as a means of recording and playing back music. Similarly, there was no demand for the gasoline engine when it was initially invented. Most inventions did not result from a heroic team of inventors working to fill some pressing need of society. In fact, most of the great inventions we associate with this model are improvements or adaptations of previous models rather than being completely original.


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