Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Other Side of Moore’s Law

The conventional concept of Moore’s Law is that the power of technology doubles about every two years, but the impact of the mirrored, or reverse, side of Moore’s Law has greater consequence. Promised advantages of Moore’s Law are options to take advantage of increased benefits. There is nothing optional, however, about the mirrored impact—it’s an uncontrollable rate of decay in value.

Technology is so embedded in products and services today that the reach of Moore’s Law extends deep into our economic system shortening the lifecycle of any given product or service. The consequence is that the long-term value of a given “thing” (product, process, or service) is near zero. The enduring value of a “thing” is in the ongoing capacity to evolve it—moving from one lifecycle to another. Without the capacity to continually innovate, update, redesign, and replace the “thing” will have a short life and quickly wind up in the graveyard of outdated companies, products, and ideas.

I have admittedly stretched the application of Moore’s Law, shown below, to convey its more general influence now that technology has become a direct, or indirect, component of most goods and services:

The observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. Moore predicted that this trend would continue for the foreseeable future. In subsequent years, the pace slowed down a bit, but data density has doubled approximately every 18 months, and this is the current definition of Moore's Law, which Moore himself has blessed.
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