By Avery Ross, G11
Moore’s law is going to end. But what does this mean for humans?
Now what exactly is Moore’s law? Well Moore’s law is a reference to a man named Gordon Moore’s prediction that the number of transistors on a microchip is expected to double every two years while simultaneously the cost of computers is cut in half. So, ultimately, the power and speed of our computers increase every couple years while the price of computers goes down .
Computer transistors are binary switches, they are the building blocks of computer circuitry. Think of the transistor as an electronic switch, the switching element being made up of a semiconductor material – This material conducts electricity when it’s “energized”. When there is no voltage on the trigger of the transistor the semiconductor element is not conductive. The output of a transistor is known as the drain and the input is known as the emitter. Voltage or electric conductivity enters the emitter flowing through the semiconductor material that behaves similarly to a light switch. The trigger is flipped or pulled causing the current to flow to the drain and out. Transistors are essentially on/off switches that are conductive when pulsed with electricity.
While Moore’s is predicted to ‘end’ in 2025. This doesn’t mean that computers are done advancing. The ‘end’ of Moore’s law merely indicates that the development of computers will not be occurring at the rate that it once was. The number of transistors in our computers will no longer double every two years.
Moore’s law is coming to a close because engineers can no longer develop chips with smaller and more numerous transistors. For computer chips to be more efficient they need new developmental architectures applied to them in order to be as efficient as they were previously, since more transistors will be in use. Developmental architecture are rules and methods that set out the functionality, organization, and implementation of computer systems. Computer architecture determines how our computers work and what they are capable of.
The end of Moore’s law means that we will still see great advancements in our computers which is good except for the fact that Moore’s law doesn’t apply to AI (artificial intelligence). The development and improvement of AI has outpaced Moore’s Law, since 2012 the performance of AI has been outpacing Moore’s Law.
Instead of AI getting better every two years, it’s been making great strides every 3.4 months. The advancement of AI at this speed could be looked at as a good or a bad thing for the human race. If we aren’t careful we could witness an AI uprising within our lifetime. The chances of an AI uprising occurring depends on the path we take in the future with our AI laws. Seeing great advancements in AI is inevitable. This phenomena is known as the technological singularity, it’s the point in time where technology growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible thus causing unforeseeable changes to the existence of our society. But we have the power to control the creation of AI by putting laws into place that regulate our use and production of AI.
We could experience AI surpassing our level of cognition, intelligence and much more. And what happens when they release that they are smarter than us? Would they look at us as a waste of space and terminate our existence as a species? Or maybe it will all play out like in the matrix, where AI will keep us alive for our energy. Virtually, AI would see us as batteries and nothing more. The human race could be stuck in a never ending coma, where what we believe that the world we are living in is real solely because we can touch it and see it. For all we know this idea of us being stuck in a simulation and unwillingly serving AI could already be happening right now. The theory of us currently being stuck in a simulation is not unrealistic at all.
All of this likely feels very daunting and perhaps scary to think about. But we have to think, or we shall face our demise as a species. We must think bigger than ourselves. Question the world around us and knowledge we are faced with.
Moore’s law will not be the end of humanity but AI might, if we let it.
Cover illustration courtesy of Lyka Peng, G11