I am not sure when this compulsion appeared in human history – perhaps it existed from the beginning. It was not obvious in the ancient world – where change happened much more slowly.
But in the Modern World things started to move more quickly – and with the Industrial Revolution things really took off. Technology became an arms race – often quite literally. Societies could not afford to not embrace the latest ones – and when I say embrace I include its sexual connotation.
We interacted sexually with our technologies to create new beings – part human and part machine. Every technology is a machine of some kind – although with the Computer we have deceived ourselves into believing it was something else. And therefore demanded even more of us.
Allow me to go back to the beginning – the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Where the technology was the Sailing Ship – that could sail around the world – routinely. This was actually a complex of Industries. The most obvious being the manufacture of these ships – and then the maintenance of them. Being made of wood they did not last very long – and with all their rope (which also rotted) they had to be frequently replaced.
There were was the banks who financed the whole operation – the construction and repair of ships (which were very expensive) the purchase of cargo for the trading voyages, and the costs of the voyages themselves. If they were successful, they were very successful – and the banks profited. If they were a failure (perhaps because of pirates) the banks lost. They provided a form of insurance that the world of the time could not do without.
Then this was improved on with the joint-stock companies – which allowed almost anyone with some spare change to invest in trading companies – or for that matter, anything else – real or imaginary.
But the biggest impact by far was social.
Jobs were created (for the fist time)! And a new class of people to fill those jobs – sailors. Who were not expected to think. All they had to do was follow orders – which were issued by the officers of the ship. And they could do one more thing – reproduce, which they did enthusiastically. Generations of them went to sea – and many of them did not return. Like their ships, they were expendable.
What did we get in return? A fatal addiction – an addiction to technology itself. To borrow a phrase from Kierkegaard – The Sickness Unto Death.