Moore’s Law And The 30-Year Rule

from Tech Crunch

Citations of Moore’s Law are growing exponentially. In fact the number of articles with some mention of the law, which has come to mean computing capacity doubles every 10 months, are accelerating. TechCrunch alone returns 220 pages of results. If you consider the comments, trackbacks, and social mentions, it is only a matter of time before the Internet is just one large recitation.

I tease. I don’t begrudge the technosphere’s fantasy of Law Giver. Readers of Plato still entertain the Philosopher King. I have heard that artists and other creative types regularly project visions of grand influence. The truth of Moore’s Law, which is hotly contested, is not important. Rather, how it has been interpolated — by means of its own interpolation — into so many other areas is what attracts my skepticism. The temptation of forecasting rapid growth is enormous, the proliferation of technology is profound, and anticipating great things is well-intentioned.

There is an interesting counterpoint to hold in one’s mind when participating in an industry of grown-up cyberpunks jacking into the infinite. This is known, in the humanities, media studies, and among cultural theorists as the “thirty year rule.” This by no means invalidates Moore’s Law, but it does reframe it.

The basic idea of this rule is that it takes time for expertise to build, knowledge to grow, and a “golden age,” which typifies a form, to emerge. There are many examples often cited from cinema to video games. Each follows a path from experimentation to the first mature form. This, of course, is not a hard science. Starting dates and criteria will differ.

More here.

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