The human progress is tied to scientific and technological discoveries made by pioneers. So people like for example Einstein have had a unique impact in the course of humanity because they discovered or invented things. It is not only natural sciences that play a big role; social sciences such as psychology, economics, philosophy, etc have had a big influence too. Our lives would be vastly different without those discoveries.
It is difficult to say hadn’t a specific person existed if we would ever discover their theories or use their inventions. At some point in history, maybe someone else would find out or come to the same conclusions. But there could also be the case that no one else would ever made those discoveries. This is especially true, I believe, for theories that are not based on experiments or other empirical observations, and are mostly the product of radical thought.
Therefore, the role of those people is uniquely paramount to the human experience. They have shaped our world in a profound way. Thus, for humanity as a whole, it should be one of our top priorities to give every single person the opportunity to be able to realize their full potential. Perhaps in a random population of one million people lies the next pioneer that will change our lives. We don’t know who they are, so we need to cater for the whole one million people.