The invention of the light bulb was independently achieved by 21 people. There may be conscious competition between these but it was impossible for light bulbs not to be invented in the 1870s. 2 paradoxes arise:
The individual seems dispensable. If Edison wasn't born, the world still would have light bulbs. But this is precisely what makes such achievements remarkable: any of the billions of rivals could have won, but only some emerged.
This makes innovation look predictable, yet it isn't. It is obvious that search engines would be the biggest fruit of the internet. But no one saw it coming.