Monday, January 17, 2011

Several Moore's Law Corollaries

Computing bang for the buck doubles every two years. It has done so at least since 1968. It will continue to do so, experts say. Gordon Moore first noticed this fixed rate of growth in that year, and the principle has become known as "Moore's Law", not because it is logically proven but because, like gravity, we notice it.

Doubling every two years, computing bang for the buck increases at a yearly rate of about 41 percent.

Why 41%? 141% x 141% = 198.8%, a doubling. That's because 141% = 1.41414141, the square root of 2. This is exaggerated precision. It could be 39%. Call it 40 percent.

There are implications. Today's new laptop will be half the price in two years. A heavy investment in any media, whether it's 45 rpm vinyl records or Zip(tm) drive disks from the 1990's, can become obsolete in a decade or less. The implications can have implications.

Corollary 1: The information available over the internet doubles about every two years.

Six years ago I was first able to see an aerial view of the plot of land my great great grandpa Myron farmed around 1872. Today I am able to find cheap houses on and drive by them late at night using Google Street View. Last night in Kalamazoo I think it was, Street View offered a 3d option. I clicked it and a red-blue 3d screen came up. Google apparently has just now doubled the camera lenses in the cameras they use to capture street views. Or I was staying up too late.

What you can see is doubling every two years. This is apparent from experience.

Corollary 2: Visibility doubles, including personal visibility, every two years.

The seer is also the seen. Google your own name. How many references to your grandma are on the internet? The price of seeing the world is that the world sees you. Your visibility doubles. Comb your hair.

Corollary 3: Transparency doubles every two years.

Computers are both data storage devices and communications devices. Their ability to compare the present with the past and to communicate the difference doubles every two years. Contradictions are ever clearer.

A politician who tells the local crowd one thing and the national crowd something else is quickly shown false. You can see through him.

Politicians who change course see their past preachings shown on TV, cross-cut with their current ones. Unless the story of their conversion is made clear, their past is continually held up to illuminate their present. Their past shines through their present.

Transparency doubles.

Corollary 4: The true surrounds the false twice as effectively every year.

Public lies fail. Proven wrong by ever more visible data, they become an embarrassment to the liar, because they don't go away. Newscasters who make things up become targets for comedians, and a single silly lie is shown and joked about again and again.

Video clips about old hokeyed stories like "The Willie Horton Story" that brought down Michael Dukakis become like labels from shown over and over again. The James O'Keefe fake Acorn video is becoming similarly iconic. Anything fake becomes an island surrounded by the true.

Corollary 5: Dimensionality of the view increases.

The dimensions of measure are usually considered to be height, width and depth. And then there's weight. That's a fourth dimension of measure. To a database programmer, every field in a record is a dimension of measure. It is a dimension along which he can sort a set of records.

If you want to find all the blue 1946 Plymouths in Saginaw, Michigan, you sort the set of Michigan license plate records by year, automobile make within each year, color within make within year, and by town within all the rest, and you scroll down the screen until you see the cars. If the data fields have been indexed, then you just throw the indexes against each other and out pops your final set.

The increase that is the doubling of stored data is spread over increases to the number of records, the number of fields on a record, the length of the fields, and the number of fields that are newly indexed to simplify searches. The doubling itself is spread over many dimensions of measure. The number of fields in records increases - dimensionality increases - but it probably does not double.

Corollary 6: Refinement of presentation increases.

There's the mechanical layer. Silicon. Then there is the logical layer. Then successively more abstract layers. Nuance evolves, in a computer. As the junction count doubles.

The tool reaches to fit the hand. The presentation converges ever better on the mind that sees it.

Corollary 7: Boundaries blur.

Telephones are becoming televisions. Cars are computers, little R2D2s that guide you and tell you when they need an oil change. Skype telephony is free and global. Global ethics are trumping local tyranny. (Slowly, though, and there is much to be done.)

News of horrors, of genocides and torture, reach global eyes and ears 40 percent better every year. As the past is more and more uncovered, the world owns the knowledge of all its parts.

Corollary 8: The granularity of the viewable is ever finer.

This is true for high-definition television, true also for data driven views of the world.

The granularity of indexing is ever finer. This brings the shape of the world as we know it ever better into view. Every grain of sand can have an address.

Corollary 9: Searchable Information Becomes The Teacher.
Search engines compete to provide ever better indexed linking to all that is known. The world's knowledge about what is known makes the Googles, Yahoos, and other search engines natural educators. Everyone with a computer is in school again.  

Corollary 10:  A THING is born. 

A growing common culture loves cultural diversity. Growing access to all cultures by all cultures ensures that the best of each will survive. The oneness of man is becoming self-apparent.

We are it.

Modern man lives inside - our unity lives inside - the digital exoskeleton. If silicon chips were to disappear, our interests would become local once again. 

Corollary 11: The digital technology that unites us defends its wholeness.

This proof is left to the reader.


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