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Moore’s Law Reaches Important Financial Point — Computing “Free”

Moore’s Law Reaches Important Financial Point — Computing “Free”

That is to say, the cost per MIP (million instructions) has now fallen to about a penny.  Chris Anderson (you know, Chris “Long Tail” Anderson) makes a great point today saying that historically, the price of computing power has been astronomical; but, as hardware falls and Moore’s Law kicks in, that price has been falling at a faster and faster rate.  Now, its virtually free. 

Mr. Anderson gives a few other examples of things that have now also reached the “almost-free” inflection point — storage, bandwidth, and so on.  I have to take exception to his assertion that free-computing == waste, however.  I think with all of these things now being essentially “free”, the real value will be in the value of ideas and creativity.  Without the restraints and constraints of cost, more people will be able to participate in networks and take advantage of the power of computing for whatever purpose they desire.  And without THIS post turning into a trippy stream-of-thought kind of post, almost-free will also act as a great democratizer on so many levels around the world, bringing the potential for information, the exchanging of ideas, truths and knowledge to everyone.

The downside, of course, is that it is also ripe for abuse; one wonders, for example, if the $100 laptop will just mean an explosion in spam. 

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