Every piece of technology we own or online service we consume has Gordon Moore’s 1965 law as a common denominator (Moore’s Law = number of transistors doubling in microchips about every two years). Even though the law is nearly half a century old, it’s still valid and impacting our future.
Realize that I have a thirty-year history with Moore’s Law, and I have used it as one of my tools to create accurate forecasts. Before founding Burrus Research 31 years ago, I had started four companies that pushed the envelope of technology; three were national leaders in the first year. Before that I taught biology and physics. I share that with you so you understand that I’m a science guy who applies research to drive business innovations. Between 1982 and 1983, I identified and studied all areas of technology globally and the result was the creation of what I called the Taxonomy of High Technology, and I used it as a way to accurately see where technology was heading. I first read Moore’s Law in 1983 and I knew it was solid and would hold up over time. Because business people were not using personal computers, email, or the Internet in the early 1980s, not many people knew about Moore’s Law.
In order to use Moore’s Law as a way to put timeframes on when technological changes would happen, I needed to add two more laws that I knew would run somewhat parallel with Moore’s Law since they relied on Moore’s Law to advance. They were the Law of Digital Storage, and the Law of Digital Bandwidth. With these three “Digital Change Accelerators” exponentially growing in a predictable way, I have been able to make hundreds of accurate forecasts in the thousands of articles and the six books I have written, including my latest New York Times bestseller Flash Foresight. Unfortunately, in 1983, I did not have the foresight to name them the Burrus Law of Storage and the Burrus Law of Bandwidth when I wrote about them.
Several recent articles have stated that Moore’s Law can’t continue and they cite various reasons, including the extreme cost of building manufacturing plants to achieve the next level of miniaturization. My answer is that if we use the manufacturing technologies that we have used to get this far as we go forward, then the costs will most likely be too high. But, what we will do instead is use new and emerging tools and manufacturing techniques to once again go beyond the barriers we see when looking at the future with today’s eyes.
Because Moore’s Law describes exponential change that is now creating the rapid technology-driven changes we are all experiencing, the next two, four, six years and beyond will represent a new Golden Era of Innovation.
So my prediction, based on what I call the Hard Trends that will happen thanks to the predictability of Moore’s Law coupled with bandwidth and storage, is that over the next five short years, we will transform how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, innovate, train, and educate. And every business and organization does all of these processes. But if you are only changing those processes, you will be falling behind at an exponential rate. It will take technology-driven business process transformation to thrive.
What innovations do you predict will need to happen in your industry to meet the future head-on? How is your organization addressing these opportunities?