Rediscovering the power of Moore's Law through a crazy press tour
I am in New York this week to talk about the 50th anniversary of Moore's Law, and talk about it I did. I hit TheStreet.com, Bloomberg TV, BBC, and Yahoo just today.
What I really want to share here is how through the lens of experiencing this frenetic race through one of the world's greatest cities I gained a fresh appreciation of the power of Moore's Law. It truly has changed our world, and made the incredible normal. Let me explain with a quick story about just a small piece of my crazy day....
I received an email from an old friend in Singapore who let me know he had just heard me on the radio there talking about how Moore's Law had changed the world. That interview had been recorded only a few hours before from a little studio in the Associated Press building here in New York. Here's a cheesy grin photo of me in that little studio....
But here's the mind-blowing part: I was in New York but the live interview was by a reporter sitting in a studio in London. Minutes after the end of the interview I received a machine-generated transcript of the entire interview (written by an algorithm that listened in to the show) together with a link to a high quality audio recording stored somewhere in the cloud. I read that transcript and listened to the interview on my pocket-sized supercomputer, and then forwarded it to my mum so she could enjoy it too. And the best part...NONE OF THIS WAS ANYTHING BUT NORMAL.
This is the amazing part of Moore's Law. We all take it for granted. Thanks to 50 years of relentless and revolutionary advances in the sphere of computing and communications, this all seemed...utterly usual.
My friend in Singapore even used his pocket super-computer to record the audio as he heard it live, and sent it to me 9,531 miles to New York, near instantly. How do I know it was 9,531 miles? I just Googled it. A computer somewhere in the world had the answer, and I got to it in seconds.
Thank you Gordon Moore. Not just for being a cool guy that noticed transistors were getting smaller and setting up an amazing company; a company that became committed to driving Moore's Law forward and creating computing devices that empowered and informed billions. But also because his vision set the pace for several generations of brilliant, passionate engineers who have done all they can to keep shrinking transistors and making computing better, faster, cheaper. Without them, my boring, normal, totally usual story would be anything but.
It is to all those engineers that I dedicate this particular blog post. Most people will never know their names, and probably don't even know they exist or understand what they do to contribute to modern life. A life we all take for granted.
But imagine a world today that hadn't been touched by the ingenuity of those people:
No personal computers
No smartphones or tablets
No Internet (and no profit in your pension fund from all those Internet stocks)
No DVR to let you skip through ads
No Netflix to watch Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad
No Facebook or Twitter
No online news or blogging
No Google searches
No Skyping people across the planet for free
No Toy Story, no Shrek, and no Jar Jar Binks (ok, forget that last bit)
And no buying stuff on Amazon.
All these things above would either be impossible, impractical, or too expensive for anyone to do without Moore's Law. Even further, most of the objects in your life today would be very different, not exist, or be unaffordable because they are nearly all designed on computers: from the components in the engines of cars, to our toothbrushes, and even our clothing....nearly every one was designed on a computer.
Yep, we are truly living in Moore's Era. Take a look around you this week and think about just how many times a day (or a minute!) your life is touched by the fruits of Moore's Law.
And the best part....it's all...normal.