IHS Says Ramifications of Moore’s Law Lead to Trillions of Dollars Added to the Global Economy

IHS: Semiconductor growth tracks global output (Graphic: Business Wire)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.--()--From connectivity to globalization and sustainability, the “Law” created by Gordon Moore’s prediction for the pace of semiconductor technology advances has set the stage for global technology innovation and contribution for 50 years. The exponential advances predicted by Moore’s Law have transformed the world we live in. The ongoing innovation, invention and investment in technology and the effects that arise from it are likely to enable continued advances along this same path in the future, according to a new report from IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight. Titled “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Moore’s Law,” the report describes how the activity predicted by Moore’s Law not only drives technological change, but has also created huge economic value and driven social advancement.

In April of 1965, Fairchild Semiconductor’s Research and Development Director, Gordon Moore, who later founded Intel, penned an article that led with the observation that transistors would decrease in cost and increase in performance at an exponential rate. More specifically, Moore posited that the quantity of transistors that can be incorporated into a single chip would approximately double every 18 to 24 months. This seminal observation was later dubbed “Moore’s Law.”

“Fifty years ago today, Moore defined the trajectory of the semiconductor industry, with profound consequences that continue to touch every aspect of our day-to-day lives,” said Dale Ford, vice president and chief analyst for IHS Technology. “In fact, Moore’s Law forecast a period of explosive growth in innovation that has transformed life as we know it.”

The IHS Technology report, which is available as a free download, finds that an estimated $3 trillion of additional value has been added to the global gross domestic product (GDP), plus another $9 trillion of indirect value in the last 20 years, due to the pace of innovation predicted by Moore’s Law. The total value is more than the combined GDP of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

If the cadence of Moore’s Law had slowed to every three years, rather than two years, technology would have only advanced to 1998 levels: smart phones would be nine years away, the commercial Internet in its infancy (five years old) and social media would not yet have skyrocketed.

“Moore’s Law has proven to be the most effective predictive tool of the last half-century of technological innovation, economic advancement, and by association, social and cultural change,” Ford said. “It has implications for connectivity and the way we interact, as evidenced by the way social relationships now span the globe. It also provides insight into globalization and economic growth, as technology continues to transform entire industries and economies. Finally it reveals the importance of how sustainability affects life on Earth, as we continue to transform our physical world in both positive and negative ways.”

The Moore’s Law Era: Explosive Economic and Societal Change

The consequences of Moore’s Law has fueled multifactor productivity growth. The activity forecast by the law has contributed a full percentage point to real GDP growth, including both direct and indirect impact, every year between 1995 and 2011, representing 37 percent of global economic impact.

“Not even Gordon Moore himself predicted the blistering pace of change for the modern world,” Ford said. “While it is true most people have never seen a microprocessor, every day we benefit from experiences that are all made possible by the exponential growth in technologies that underpin modern life.”

According to the “Moore’s Law Impact Report,” the repercussions of Moore’s Law have contributed to an improved quality of life, because of the advances made possible in healthcare, sustainability and other industries. The results of advanced digital technology include the following:

  • Forty percent of the world’s households now have high-speed connections, compared to less than 0.1 percent in 1991
  • Up to 150 billion incremental barrels of oil could potentially be extracted from discovered global oil fields
  • Researchers can perform 1.5 million high-speed screening tests per week (up from 180 in 1997), allowing for the development of new material, such as bio-fuels and feedstock’s for plant-based chemicals

Moore’s Law: Reflecting the Pace of Change

Moore’s Law is not a law but an unspoken agreement between the electronics industry and the world economy that inspires engineers, inventors and entrepreneurs to think about what may be possible.

“Whatever has been done, can be outdone,” said Gordon Moore. “The industry has been phenomenally creative in continuing to increase the complexity of chips. It’s hard to believe – at least it’s hard for me to believe – that now we talk in terms of billions of transistors on a chip rather than tens, hundreds or thousands.”

Moore’s observation has transformed computing from a rare, expensive capability into an affordable, pervasive and powerful force – the foundation for Internet, social media, modern data analytics and more. “Moore’s Law has helped inspire invention, giving the world more powerful computers and devices that enable us to connect to each other, to be creative, to be productive, to learn and stay informed, to manage health and finances, and to be entertained,” Ford said.

Millennials: The Stewards of Moore’s Law

From the changing shape and feel of how humans communicate to the delivery of healthcare, changing modes of transportation, cities of the future, harvesting energy resources, classroom learning and more – technology innovations that spring from Moore’s Law likely will remain a foundational force for growth into the next decade.

From data sharing, self-driving cars and drones to smart cities, smart homes and smart agriculture, Moore’s Law will enable people to continuously shrink technology and make it more power efficient, allowing creators, engineers and makers to rethink where – and in what situations – computing is possible and desirable.

Computing may disappear into the objects and spaces that we interact with – even the fabric of our clothes or ingestible tracking devices in our bodies. New devices may be created with powerful, inexpensive technology and combining this with the ability to pool and share more information, new experiences become possible.

For more information about the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law, click here.

About IHS (www.ihs.com)

IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of insight, analytics and expertise in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape. Businesses and governments in more than 150 countries around the globe rely on the comprehensive content, expert independent analysis and flexible delivery methods of IHS to make high-impact decisions and develop strategies with speed and confidence. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS is committed to sustainable, profitable growth and employs about 8,800 people in 32 countries around the world.

IHS is a registered trademark of IHS Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners. © 2015 IHS Inc. All rights reserved.

Contacts

IHS Inc.
Lee Graham, +1 212-333-4983
lee@leegrahampr.com
or
Press Team, +1 303-305-8021
press@ihs.com

Release Summary

Ramifications of Moore’s Law Lead to Trillions of Dollars Added to the Global Economy

Contacts

IHS Inc.
Lee Graham, +1 212-333-4983
lee@leegrahampr.com
or
Press Team, +1 303-305-8021
press@ihs.com