Comments such as the following by Anonymous Coward are echoed by others throughout this thread
"When you look at the technology stack and the inherent complexity, the reason why it works is because you have all these different complex pieces working together with different experts focused on specialized pieces within the stack.What you seem to fail to understand is that it didn't happen all in one blob. Nobody pooped out the whole internet to Google in one shot. It's been an ongoing process. It's similar to the automobile. We didn't wake up one morning to find that little elves has created highways and variable valve timing quad cam sports cars. We got there piecemeal, with each piece put on top of each other. Often those pieces were patent (remember the modern wind shield wiper? It's history made for a good movie). Through the process some was patent, some was open, and all of it piled one piece on top of another.""
These observations are both very true and very important to our proper understanding of this World.
What is almost always overlooked, however, because of our naturally anthropocentric standpoint is the logical consequence of such observations. Namely that, except in a very limited sense, we do not "create" or "design" things but rather that and technology EVOLVE within the medium of our collective imagination.
As Carl Sagan put it "To make an apple pie you first have to create the universe"
Without Ritchie we would still have a functional equivalent of Google, just as without Newton or Liebnitz we would still have the calculus of variations, or relativity without Einstein. I am not disparaging any of these individuals but it must be admitted they were mostly picking the low-hanging fruit.
This is expanded upon very informally in the context of a broad evolutionary model (which extends well beyond the realm of biology) in: "The Goldilocks Effect: What Has Serendipity Ever Done For Us?" (free download in e-book formats from the "Unusual Perspectives" website)
Within the context of a broad evolutionary model for which there is good evidence the "singularity" is better considered as a "phase transition" to the next stage in nature's on-going life process.
This model is very informally discussed in "The Goldilocks Effect: What Has Serendipity Ever Done For Us?" (free download in e-book formats from the "Unusual Perspectives" website)