Effects of Technological Change on the Human Condition: The Age of Spiritual Machines.

Essay by alatheaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2005

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We cannot know the future, but we see trends happening now that can be projected forward. In 1965, Gordon Moore, co-founder of chip maker Intel, put forth an axiom that became known as Moore's Law. Moore stated that every year since 1959 the number of components on a microchip had doubled. Moore predicted that this trend would continue until 1975. . . He was wrong. The computer industry turned Moore's axiom into a general law. Further investigation showed that the law held as far back as the 1940's, if the time frame for doubling is adjusted to 18 months, rather than one year. As 1975 came and went it also became clear that Moore's Law was headed into the future with no signs of failing. The law is now treated as a summary statement that every 18 months a new chip goes on the market that is twice as fast as it's predecessor, has twice the memory, is cheaper, and more compact.

Now Moore himself is predicting that Moore's Law is about to end due to the fact that the number of transistors doubling can continue as long as micronization continues. Power consumption was never considered in the original axiom and so without some new kind of power technology Moore's law will stall.(Wired, April 2004) "Every two years more computers are produced than existed on the planet previously." (Andy Grove, CEO, Intel Corporation)

The number of lines of code written for computer programs is doubling faster than 18 months. Microsoft's word processing program had 27,000 lines of code when it was first released. By 1995 Microsoft Word had two million lines of code. The next version will have four million, then eight, sixteen, doubling every 12 to 18 months. The internet is doubling in size every year.(UC Regents Report)...