Tech Explosion

Filed in Science by on June 21, 2011

Even if you always read about the latest tech explosion, yesterday was amazing.

Web Domain Names:
We were recently running out of domain names. We got .com, .net and .org in 1985, but only had 22 domain names until yesterday. A tech explosion will now give us about 15 times as many domains and probably effectively result in unlimited domains.

Fastest Computer:
One of yesterday's tech explosions made Japan's K super computer the fastest in the world. It is three times as fast as China's Tianhe-1A, which became the fastest only nine months ago.

Fastest Computer – 2018:
To me, yesterday's biggest tech explosion relates to 2018. That is when Silicon Graphics will use new Intel chips to build supercomputers 500 times faster than the most powerful today. Each of their computer chips will have more than 50 independent cores (computers), including vector processor computers that operate on entire arrays of data. They will run existing code, with small changes. This sounds incredible. However, consider it in terms of the doubling in Moore's Law.

Moore's Law (1965):
Moore said that the number of transistors we can inexpensively put on a computer chip doubles about every two years. Doubling the number of transistors on a chip vastly increases (but does not double) computer power. However, increasingly optimizing computer components, and adding many computers in parallel (or using many computers per person), can more than double computer power within a Moore's Law cycle. This all but guaranteed our many years of tech explosion.

Kurzweil: Law of Accelerating Returns:
The above Moore's Law article has this Kurzweil link. I have long found Kurzweil very impressive, as a futurist and one of the most prolific inventors since Edison. He says that Moore's Law is only one part of a very long trend of fast increasing combined human and machine brainpower. He also says this tech explosion rate is accelerating. That is why yesterday's tech explosion may relate to the biggest tech explosion of all. We only need simple math (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512) for Moore's Law to give us more than 500 times more computer power. This simple math shows that we will double Moore's Law computer power 9 times (to 512 times, not 500) in 7 years (2011 to 2018). That means we should have 9 Moore's Law doubling cycles in 84 months. This is not a Moore's Law doubling cycle in two years, but one doubling every 9.33 months. Only the Kurzweil Law of Accelerating Returns accounts for this.

Quantum Computing:
The Law of Accelerating Returns will apparently keep accelerating tech explosions for many years. The 2018 super computers will use the same type of silicon photo engraving the first integrated circuit used in 1958. The longest computer show line I ever saw was to see an early integrated circuit. through a microscope. However, quantum computers are now available. Large-scale quantum computers could solve certain problems much faster than any classical computer.

Nine-Month-Old Computers:
As early as 1968, a well-known scientist predicted a symbiosis between man and machine (computer). Newborns may have a computer chip implanted in an inner ear cavity, with circuits connecting to the brain, by 2020. Progress already made indicates that this may well be feasible. The FDA approved human implantable computer chips in 2009. Kurzweil wrote that we would each use around a thousand computers, costing about $1,000, by around 2020. We also should communicate with them directly, as they interact with the rest of the world's computers, without our having to be aware of what they are doing even when we sleep. We are already moving quickly in this direction.

Many of us have smart (web-connected computer) phones. My non-techie librarian wife has long taught computer use to blind or physically handicapped 80 to 100+ year olds. Six year olds need little instruction to use computers and computer phones for far more than texting. It is wonderful to see young and old quickly use computers to learn, especially since we can only dispute their conclusions by learning more ourselves.

Can you imagine the tech explosion we will have when we connect nine-month-old newborns to super computers?

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