I spent my sabbatical last spring developing an idea I had long been kicking around--that we reached a technological maturity point in our industry sometime in the past decade or so. Of course there will always be innovation, but it occurred to me that most of the big problems we had encountered during my career had been pretty well sorted out, and things had settled down a bit. Gear, for example, is now starting to just wear out rather than go completely obsolete. We have 15-20 year old moving lights and powered speakers and other stuff at my school, for example, that--while of course needing replacement--are still working fine. And the new models don't really offer any significant new functionality.
I’ll write more on this topic later, but the articles are both now available online and I hope people will take a look.
I would read this Lighting & Sound America article first, titled Show Technology Comes of Age, which talks about the maturity of technology in our industry, and includes a detailed timeline (thumbnail above) of seminal shows and show technology developments. I then go onto talk about how this has impacted the way we do things, get reactions from industry leaders, and speculate on where we are going in the future. Link here (you have to create an free account to read) or direct PDF link here.