Lesson 5: The Accelerating Rate of Change
Technology and Society
The Accelerating Rate of Change
Where is the future headed? A few decades into the digital world, we're still looking at the microprocessor and finding hundreds more things to do with it. Part of the reason for this continuing wave of innovation is the microprocessor itself. While we're inventing new things with it, it's being reinvented too. It keeps getting smaller and more powerful. There's even a law for predicting this. It's called Moore's Law, named after Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel. Moore predicted in 1965 that the number of transistors on a chip would double about every 18 months. Not only has this happened for the 10-year span he predicted, but it remains true today. We continue to shrink transistors and pack more processing power into a chip.
Increased processing power would make speech recognition and gesture commands not only possible, but simple to do. You may see many other new ways to interact with devices using microprocessors. It's safe, too, to predict that many more devices—common ones we use every day and devices that haven't even been invented yet—will have microprocessors.
How will people handle so much fast change? If the Internet is any indication, people are actually getting faster at adopting devices that enhance their lives. It took the telephone 38 years and television 17 years to win a place in 30 percent of U.S. homes. It took the Internet just 7 years to do the same.
Now what about you? How do you think the digital world will affect your life? What types of jobs might you want to do when you grow up? Will these jobs require the use of a computer or other digital device? Will you perhaps invent something that uses a microprocessor? Times of change are times of great opportunity. What kind of opportunities will there be for you in the digital world?