Everyone knows that exponential growth can’t continue indefinitely; eventually it hits a wall. But every time Moore’s Law – the capacity of a chip doubles, and the price of raw computing power halves, about every eighteen months – seems to be heading for a wall, a door appears. Now it seems to have happened again.
Just to review the arithmetic: since
ten squared two to the tenth is 1024, the cost of computation has, since 1948, been falling by a thousandfold every 15 years. As long as that rate of change continues, we can be certain that the future, in economic terms, will not resemble the past. Forgetting that is dangerous.