Human progress stifling the arts?
One of the great political paradoxes of the 21st century is that while human progress continues unabated in almost every field of science and engineering, people of all ideological persuasions have stopped believing that the future will be better than the past.
Today, the arts continue to suffer and they actually serve as a fairly good indicator of our general mood, more so than progress in the literal sense. Solving material problems doesn't solve emotional or spiritual ones. I think we're more unhappy because materialism can and does, make you more miserable. We've bought into the idea of short term fulfilment.
This is very visible in statistics regarding depression, suicide, and other such things (all are on the rise).
But material progress means that our capacity to solve problems is increasing too, even if we're not currently using that capacity properly. The arts could and should benefit from material progress too.
For example, if we can replace manual labour with robots, then that could free up people to engage in artistic pursuits instead. A society with more advanced technology could be a society with more artists, because more people have more free time to do art. It COULD be... But it isn't right now. So this is a reason to be hopeful about the future: Material progress IS giving us the tools to build a better world. Even if we're not using them right now.