Next Stop: Mars

August 21, 2020

The amount of computing power at our fingertips today is astounding. Today’s smartphone’s processing power rivals the largest and most powerful supercomputers of thirty years ago. Similar gains have occurred in memory, graphics and in just about every other computer performance metric. Our smartphones today are more than 100,000 times more powerful than the computer used to land a man on the moon in 1969. Even our high school calculators are estimated to be about 350 times faster than Apollo-era computers.

Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns shows that technology is progressing at an exponential rate. The rate of technological advancements has accelerated such that gains that would have taken twenty years previously can now be made in only a year or two. It is mind-blowing that in the future we will see advancements, that would take thirty years at today’s pace, done in just a few months. This means that we will be in each technological age for much less time before advancing to the next. This is why it didn’t take us thousands of years to go from the internet age to the cloud computing age and why many are excited to see what the future holds — the next ten years will see more transformations than we have seen since the introduction of the internet.

With SpaceX aiming for the colonization of Mars, it is interesting to think about the kinds of computers needed to monitor and maintain life in outer space or on a planet with such a weak atmosphere. For example, BubblyNet can monitor the air quality, give feedback on carbon monoxide levels and gravitation levels, while managing the lights so they can dim, brighten and get warmer and cooler so as to maintain circadian rhythm. While the colonization of Mars may seem far-fetched today, with the exponential growth of technology perhaps it is closer than we think.

We’d love to hear what you think. What do you think this rapid pace of technological advancement holds for us and our future? Let us know!

Please leave your comments
  • David Kosowsky

    Technology is on that pace but industry and society not as much. When it comes to lighting and lighting controls the pace has picked up significantly with the advent of solid state lighting (LED today) and wireless controls but the industry still lags tech development substantially. Intelligence and upgradable software (firmware) could help close the gap but it's much harder to close the gap with hardware. Envision a future of centralized power management (POE or similar) with a ubiquitous power distribution (miniaturized magnetic track similar) and P&P lighting modules to easily distribute or redistribute throughout the space. Wired (via POE or other) and/or wireless control also ubiquitous in the space. Regulation needs to be 2100st "centuried" to keep up too. UL, ETL, etc are not sufficient for today's LED industry let alone tomorrows.