Technological progress is slower than Moore’s law predicts

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Moore’s law states that the number of transistors in chips doubles ever two years. In other words, this means that the exponential growth factor is 35%. Although this law has stayed valid for decades in the semicon industry, other areas of development are not at all close to this rate.

For example, the speed of airplanes went from \(35\textrm{km}/\textrm{h}\) in 1900 to 885km/h in 1958, which is an astonishing increase, but of only 5.6% a year. It is also worth noting that from 1958 to today, that increase stayed almost at zero.

The same is true for the yield of crops, in the US corn’s growth was about 2% a year, in China rice has been growing at 1.6% for the past 50 years.

Outside the microchip-dominated world, innovation simply does not obey Moore’s law, proceeding at rates that are lower by an order of magnitude.


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Aquiles Carattino
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