I have been working on a project with the Sanitation Manager at the plant, and we were recently discussing all of the data reporting capabilities that technology allows us to do. For example, we were talking about expanding the functionality of our sanitation checklist system to create alerts for team leaders so they could be notified near the end of a shift as to what sanitation still needs to be performed. They wouldn't have to go looking for it--it would just appear in front of their face with little-to-no effort (via PDA, computer, etc).
Then our conversation took a turn towards technology in general, and how we feel the number of inventions per year must resemble an exponential curve, considering all of the breakthroughs we hear about daily regarding genes, computers, hybrid fuels, and such. He brought up Charles H. Duell, who was the U.S. Patent Office Commissioner around 1900.
I had never heard of Duell before, but I learned that he left his mark on the world via a famous quote: "Everything that can be invented has been invented." This was 1899. Apparently he even petitioned the U.S. Government to shut down the Patent Office, as he honestly believed there would no longer be a need for it.
Guess he never thought anyone would ever be on the dot com...