Here is an interesting development. Researchers are trying to create a functional laser hard disk drive.
It would outperform magnetic hard drives, to say the least. Light-speed information travels “in speeds measured in quadrillionths of a second”
Magnetic HDDs always face a upper-limit in speed. This will just bypass that maximum altogether.
Computer technology has been doubling in power every 2 years. Look at a logarithmic graph of hard drive capacity over time.
Technology is growing at such a rapid pace that most people miss it’s impact. Does this not show that our economic indicators are missing out of amazing wealth generation? According to the consumer price index, if I buy a $1000 computer, it counts the same as buying a $1000 computer three years ago. Yet the computer today has more than double the power and capacity. I doubled my wealth and technology in three years, but our indicators say it remained constant.
There are upper limits, like with chemical batteries where the law of diminishing returns kicks in. We’re seeing that in some computer technology like magnets. Researchers then figure out a way to bypass it and the revolution continues.
In the 1950s, people lived in an age of ignorance like barbarians in caves. What computers did they have back then? Pegasus 1. It had a memory of a few thousand bytes.
This was the time where socialism was considered intellectually serious, Galbraith published “The Affluent Society” and communism was the official university religion.
The general argument was that producing more material wealth was no longer necessary. Instead we should focus our resources on creating an egalitarian society. More or less.
Two things. First, there are ‘primary’ needs – Food, Shelter, Clothing. These were secured because of Industrialization. Second, there are ‘advanced’ needs relating to technology like computers, medicine, communication and transport.
How can one redistribute technology? Here is the tradeoff. By redistributing profits, you reduce reseach and development of more advanced technology. This sacrifices the future for the present. Like barbarians, they seek to steal existing wealth rather than creating twice as much wealth after a year’s work.
This is a very reactionary and primitive way of thinking. It falsely imagines the world as a static image that we can reshape into anything we want.
If anyone had followed Galbraith’s idea, we would not have had a computer revolution at all. We’d be trapped with Pegasus.
When I buy a computer, I buy the costs of researching and producing this current computer – and I pay for developing better computers in the future. We do this for medicine, oil, and all technology. This is how I live a better life.
I never understood the resentment of the rich. They function as beta testers. They buy expensive but experimental and buggy material goods and report on the flaws. The manufacturers correct the flaws and mass-produce the goods at higher quality and lower price for us. Why are we told we are getting the short end of this deal?
Who will buy the first Laser HDD? Some guy with millions of dollars to waste on defective beta model. I’ll wait a few years and buy a working version for $5000. Who will be the first space tourists and colonists? Ultra-rich guys who yearn to be strapped to a dangerous rocket for a few hundred million dollars. I’ll wait. I want them to spend the money so I’ll have a chance later though.