The New Law That's Making Phones Smaller and Robots (Potentially) Immortal

Computer hardware manufacturers have been guided by Moore's law—that chips double in power every 18 months—for decades. A newly discovered trend, however, seems to be outpacing old Moore, making computers and mobile devices more power efficient in the same timeframe.

The trend, now called "Koomey's Law," was discovered by Stanford University's consulting professor of civil and environmental engineering Jonathan Koomey, and it's significant because there's been a shift in focus from raw computing power over to efficiency in recent years. That's because consumers use more mobile devices than ever before, and it matters more that your phone not die on you while performing basic tasks than if it's got five times the power of last year's chipset.

It, of course, gets more complicated when judging the efficiency gains between yesterday's and today's data centers. But data centers have reaped the benefits as well. Which could be good news for Google's Salt Lake City-sized power suck.

This could also be an interesting development for roboticists and futurists like Ray Kurzweil, too. Singulatarian thought typically follows Moore's law's exponential growth into the great post-human beyond. And there have already been murmurs of software design outstripping Moore's law at that. Could all this mean better, more efficient power for better, more efficient drones? Is AI's sad conclusion that much closer to reality? ...Probably not, but it's worth thinking about. [Technology Review, InfoWorld]

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