This month marks the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law, an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965 that computing would increase in power and decrease in cost at an exponential rate. Technically, Moore’s Law is about shrinking transistors and adding more of them to integrated circuits. “The more transistors you can get onto a chip, the more that chip can do,” explains Steve Brown, Intel’s futurist.
So where will Moore’s Law take computing next? “Being able to put computing into every object in our lives. Being able to make objects that are smart and connected and allowing you to change the nature of those objects to make them more useful for you,” says Brown. Brown gives the example of a smart teddy bear that can read a book to a child or a toothbrush that can check to make sure children are brushing their teeth correctly. “You can start to till computers into soil and measure from a farmer’s perspective where to water. If you’re in drought conditions like in California right now, that’s a big deal,” he says.
One of the biggest breakthroughs that will happen in the next 10 years will be a computer that can really see and understand the world around them, says Brown. “That’s what will really enable robots to be successful and escape the pages of science fiction and be amongst us.” This will also enable driverless cars, he says.
We’ll also have computers “in, on and going through,” our bodies in the next ten to fifteen years. “It’s worth doing if it helps monitor health and health conditions,” he says. “You think about pacemakers and insulin pumps that have been around for decades, the next logical step is there will be implantable computers that will help you monitor health conditions,” says Brown. He points to work already going on with computers monitoring nervous systems and sending electrical impulses to help control conditions like chronic pain.
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