The Next Wave

John Markoff, Edge, Jul 17, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Although it feels like the future is rushing forward at us, argues John Markoff, in fact, right now, it's on a pause. "In the last two years, the price of each transistor has stopped falling." We're seeing advances in pattern recognition technology and in robots (which will arrive just in time to address labour shortages expected in China and Japan), but the fundamental discoveries underlying new paradigms are on hold. We have been in the mobile age since 2007 (yes, that long, almost a decade). "You see applied research everywhere. Even the national labs, you see projects that are intended to find ways to commercialize technology. The notion of science for science's sake is under assault." Two questions, then: in the short term, what happens when we collective hit 'pause' on Moore's Law? And second, in the long term, what comes next?

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