The Biggest Problem of Technology : It’s Physics !

While Physics has been the branch of science that has helped usher the humans in an era of technology, it might turn out to be the very reason that our technological advancements get stalled. They might get stalled temporarily, or permanently. No one knows. And no one thinks about it.

Everyone expects better gadgets, faster processing and more features, year after year. It’s a sort of given, ain’t it? But why should it be that way?

It’s natural to have such a reaction. You see, that’s what science is all about. One moment, it opens up a vast sea of opportunities. But the very next moment it says, “Now hold on just a bit right there…”. I mean, think about it : Relativity imposes upon us a maximum speed limit. Quantum Mechanics imposes upon us a maximum accuracy limit. I mean, what the hell is this? Why should there be limits at all? (I won’t be entertaining mathematical answers, for they have no physical implications. If they had, then we would have understood the universe much earlier. The only reason is : That’s what happens). 

Anyway, I digressed a bit here.

Returning to the original topic – Physics does impose it’s restrictions on the various hardware components of our devices. And however much you do, sometimes software just can’t beat good hardware.

There is a minimum size of processing chips that can be made, limited by the uncertainty principle. And unless a massive breakthrough comes, we might end up with a chip with the theoretically maximum speed for years. Imagine a scenario like this. No more next-generation of chips. The one you have is the fastest one. That would sure limit our processing power.

Chips are already very fast, though, and this isn’t going to be the biggest problem we face. The biggest problem might very well be the battery life of our devices. As electronics get smaller and faster, one thing that simply can’t keep up is the battery. It just can’t shrink in size as our chips can. Neither do we have any suitable alternatives to Li-Ion batteries that can be mass produced. It’s going to get a whole lot worse in the future with smaller devices and resource intensive software.
If technology has to sustain, we need a breakthrough. And soon. Else all we have might just get stagnated and limited.

Think about it…


Aakash

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