I'm not really all that mysterious

Moore's Law

I’ve always been skeptical of many of the claims that people who are pro-Singularity have made regarding Moore’s Law.

Exponential function 2^x

Exponential function 2x (Duane Q. Nykamp) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The main basis of my skepticism lies in the fact that there isn’t really anything that grows exponentially ad infinitum.

exponential growth curve vs. logistic growth curve

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Rayleigh-Jeans law vs. Planck's law

The Rayleigh-Jeans Law predicts infinite energies at very high frequencies (the ultraviolet catastrophe). Planck realized this makes no physical sense and birthed quantum mechanics.

graph from Ultraviolet Catastrophe Explanation

Market share vs. time

The diffusion of innovations according to Rogers. With successive groups of consumers adopting the new technology (shown in blue), its market share (yellow) will eventually reach the saturation level. In mathematics, the yellow curve is known as the logistic function. The curve is broken into sections of adopters.

Just like how in the 19th century, Verhulst realized that Malthus had oversimplified how fast the world population would grow and how catastrophic the situation would be when the population growth rate started outstripping the ability to grow food, I think John Markoff is similarly correct about the ultimate fate of Moore’s Law. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be some massively disruptive IT advance occurring in the future (Markoff is betting on augmented reality) but it certainly won’t be the result of simply packing more and more transistors onto a chip.

(via Could the End of Moore’s Law Be Near? If so, What’s Next? •  • Irving Wladawsky-Berger)

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