Great post by Chris Dixon on Medium. The whole thing is worth reading, but a few highlights.
We are now entering an era in which processors and sensors are getting so small and cheap that there will be many more computers than there are people.
There are two reasons for this. One is the steady progress of the semiconductor industry over the past 50 years (Moore’s law). The second is what Chris Anderson calls “the peace dividend of the smartphone war”: the runaway success of smartphones led to massive investments in processors and sensors. If you disassemble a modern drone, VR headset, or IoT devices, you’ll find mostly smartphone components.
That phrase, “the peace dividend of the smartphone war”. Brilliant.
That component costs will essentially drop to zero, is something that is regularly discussed on ATP. It’s important, due to the availability and affordability of computer hardware to every person on this planet, but also in the relatively minimal financial risk to individuals and companies piloting new technology applications. A few smartphone components, a 3D printer and you’re away.
It’s nice to think that a brutal fight in the open market incubates the innovation.
Dixon goes on
But perhaps the most exciting software breakthroughs are happening in artificial intelligence (AI). AI has a long history of hype and disappointment. Alan Turing himself predicted that machines would be able to successfully imitate humans by the year 2000. However, there are good reasons to think that AI might now finally be entering a golden age.
I find it fascinating how predictions for the future so rarely pan out. Turing predicted this for the year 2000 and if we, as a culture, had treated Turing the way he deserved, perhaps we would have been that much further ahead? As one of my favourite lecturers put it once,
If Archimedes’ early calculus breakthroughs had been formalised, we could have watched the Battle of Hastings (1066) on television.
Suffice to say, as a civilisation, we’re going to miss some stuff, not appreciate some slice of genius. But hopefully, on the whole we treat people better, recognise greatness and ignore the irrelevant better than ever.by Simon C Roberts