Individual people can change history. History would look very different without Buddha, Qin Shihuang, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler and George Washington.

It helps to be born into privilege but it's not necessary. 4/7 of the above people had little wealth and few family connections. It's more important to be the right person at the right time. By "the right time" I mean "a time when small decisions have repercussions echoing for a long time into the future". Our era meets both criteria.

"The right person" is the one who amasses extreme power. Historically you had to either found a religion or command a nation. Nations and religions are big. Big organizations are slow. As the world changes faster and faster, the relative power of large organizations decreases. These days the road to power is inventing new technology.

Who were the most influential people of the last 20 years? George W Bush invaded Afghanistan. In 2000, Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban. Today in 2021, Afghanistan is once again ruled by the Taliban.

Obamacare changed America. Tesla changed the world. SpaceX is changing history. Facebook got Obama elected.

People have amassed great power by pushing the bits around a computer. This trend is accelerating. Tech entrepreneurs will have more power over the next twenty years than the last twenty.

One could crash the world economy or exterminate an entire nonhuman species by modifying the genome of a single cell. Or save a nonhuman species. Or cure aging.

According to Buddhist tradition, Maitreya the "buddha yet to come" will achieve complete enlightenment and teach the pure dharma. I predict Maitreya will be a theoretical neuroscientist, that complete enlightenment will involve measurable harmonic waves in the human connectome and that the pure dharma will be spoken in the language of differential equations.