That's it exactly -- it's about demand.
There's very little demand for faster computers and flying cars... I mean, we want them, sure, but the value we put on incremental improvements now is a lot less.
The focus of R&D has shifted from big, visible, obvious everyday things like car engines, colour TVs, and transistor radios onto finicky, small, non-consumer items like nanotechnology, gene therapy, advanced surgical techniques, robotics, and new materials. I mean, I am blown away by something new practically every day. Haven't there been two different cures for two types of blindness reported in the past few weeks, one using lasers and one using gene therapy? Then there was that nanomaterial that is supposed to make windshield scrapers obsolete. Bring it on!
It's just that we've done most of the big obvious stuff. Even when we haven't fully deployed it (renewable power, for instance) we've pretty much got the technology down.
Robots and augmented reality are probably going to be the next big game-changers, but the complexity of technology they require means they are going to be slow to deploy and improve. I mean, many people already have a GPS and a Roomba.
Either that or we need to brainstorm and come up with something that not a single SF author has anticipated. And you know the odds of that at this point...