Re: What's in store for 2008?

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Wed Jan 17 2001 - 10:50:13 MST

Jim Fehlinger wrote:
> 2008 is near enough that I can almost taste it. Let's see,
> what do **I** expect for 2008?
> 1. On the computer front, we'll be in the 2005-2010 timeframe
> for those next-generation chip-manufacturing technologies that
> Intel and IBM were touting recently -- extreme ultraviolet
> (EUV) lithography, .07 micron line widths (IIRC), 10 gigahertz
> clock rates, etc. Perhaps 64-bit processors will be in the
> mainstream by then, if the Itanium doesn't flop. This will all
> be on the typical desktop, along with RAM in the gigabyte
> range, hard-disk storage in the hundreds of gigabytes. With that
> kind of processing power on the desktop, decent multimedia even
> via low-bandwidth Internet is practical.

You're a little bit too conservative here. AMD will have out two 64-bit
processors by the end of this year/early next year. One may have a double
core on single die (Sledgehammer). If Moore's Law continues at current
18 month doubling rate then by 2008, then you would be looking at between
4 and 5 doublings by then of the 2ghz chips that will be available near
end of this year. So I would put it closer to 20ghz. I believe Seagate has
already announced a 150GB hard drive to be shipping this quarter. By 2008
you should expect hmm maybe 2TB drives would be pretty cheap? And don't
think low bandwidth since most likely the average consumer Net connection
in the US will be at least 100mbit if not 1gbit.

> 2. On the networking front, we may have really-high
> bandwidth, guaranteed-service Internet 2 for the national
> labs and big universities -- something that could support
> surgery by telepresence, for example. Probably no more people will
> have access to this in 2008 than had access to the Internet in the
> early 80's. On the consumer front, Internet adoption
> will probably have reached saturation (in the U.S. at least), at whatever
> percentage that turns out to be; broadband penetration will still be
> creeping along, and decent-speed, relatively cheap wireless Internet
> access may prove to be the next big consumer app. I guess my
> office (at work) will be wired with gigabit Ethernet.

There are companies now wiring office buildings with fiber, and offering
100mbit feeds for $1000/month. Bandwidth is the one commodity doubling even
faster than hard drives and chips. Fiber and fiberless optics to the home,
and other techniques will make 100mbit at least as common as DSL/cable modems
are today in 2008. Heck even VDSL over copper can get you over 50mbit. ADSL
and cable modem technology is about where we were with 2400 baud analog modems.
Plenty of room for improvement in last mile techniques.

And don't forget about wireless Net which will provide slower speeds (2mbit
by 2008?) but allow pretty much all countries on the planet to offer some form
of basic broadband access to every consumer.

> 3. On the bio front, I have no idea. Anti-aging therapy?
> Smart drugs? Better treatments for cancer, heart disease,
> Alzheimers? Who the hell knows? But my expectations are rather
> conservative on this front.

All of above hopefully

> Now, that's the surprise-free scenario. There is another possibility:
> 5. There will be a major paradigm shift of some sort. A breakthrough
> into the third dimension of micro-scale electronic circuitry, as Kurzweil
> anticipates. Molecular-scale computing. Optical computing. Quantum
> computing.

Right, I fully expect some kind of molecular electronics to be available by
then. RAM could be had in super-huge quantities for super-cheap. CPUs might
become super-powerful. This is almost for sure by 2008.

The computing power is not going to be a problem for Singularity in 2008.
Between the chip speeds then, and the relatively fast bandwidth available
to connect them all together, it will be possible.

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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