It sounds ridiculous, but I'm fairly sure that Wildbow said that there wasn't huge leaps and bounds in the world's tech levels because our engineers and scientists couldn't understand tinker work. Except for edge cases, like Toybox and Dragon, it doesn't appear that tinkers really did much technologically for society as a whole. You've got a bio-tinker like Panacea healing people, but there's still plenty of other sick people around the world [and even in Brockton Bay] who need skilled physicians and nurses. While a single tinker can have a great impact on a person, it's far more difficult for them to have an impact on large scale society. Also, their tech is prone to breaking down without them there to maintain it. So, there must still be plenty of engineers keeping the world and modern civilization running behind the scenes. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a global depression [psychological, though perhaps also economic] akin to what we went through during the Cold War. That would effect the future prospects and fortunes of engineers, scientists, and tinkerers, but it doesn't remove them from the world. They're still there, diligently beavering away, although perhaps grumpier. If you're asking about the Elon Musk's of the world, then that's harder to answer. We've got Alan Gramme who tried to fix a lot of the world's problems [hunger, off-world habitats], and in turn targetted other capes who were trying to mend the world. So, perhaps there was less room for the Elon Musk's of the world when you have Thinkers who can do the same thing, but better. Or perhaps Elon would've stuck to grounded projects like Tesla, and less of the extreme Space X stuff. Steve Jobs and his ilk, would've been fine I suspect.