Moore’s Law has become a foundational assumption in modern business and economic thought: that computer chip capacity will double every 2 years is an article of faith among singularity buffs and other technophiles.Think again: scientists now say progress could slow.
The problem is not that they cannot squeeze more transistors onto the chips — they surely can — but instead, like a city that cannot provide electricity for its entire streetlight system, that all those transistors could require too much power to run economically. They could overheat, too. The upshot could be that the gadget-crazy populace, accustomed to a retail drumbeat of breathtaking new products, may have to accept next-generation electronics that are only modestly better than their predecessors, rather than exponentially faster, cheaper and more wondrous.
We’ll see. A slowdown in chip speed might just shift more resources toward more efficient software that makes better use of the power we’ve got. And this is not the first time Moore’s Law has been challenged.Stay tuned.