Please sir, can I have some Moore?

In the first week of the IMC 619 course (for those of you reading who aren’t taking the class) there was an introduction that discussed some of the technology behind some of the new and emerging media that is driving some of today’s marketing efforts. One such topic mentioned was Moore’s Law, named after Gordon Moore, who co-founded Intel, which basically states that “computing power doubles every eighteen months.” This law has led to memory becoming cheaper and the increase in processors that allow computers to handle things like video and large files, increase the speed of internet connections and decrease the cost of items like digital cameras that have pretty much become necessities in today’s world of marketing.

It should be noted though that in the Wikipedia article linked above, it does talk about the fact that this law drove the industry and resulted in pressure being put on both engineering and marketing departments to keep pace with what the law predicted.

But like any thing else requiring effort, it can only be maintained for so long and in the past few years, articles have begun to surface predicting that Moore’s Law will slow down or cease to exist in the coming decades as we reach the limits of our manufacturing capabilities. In an article on cnet.com entitled “Moore’s Law to conk in 10, 15 years, says Moore”, from 2007 even Stephen Hawking was quoted as saying “the electronics industry is bounded by two fundamental constraints: the speed of light and the atomic nature of matter.” to which Moore replied “We’re not far from that.” A similar discussion, although not one involving a famous physicist, showed up in the Wall Street Journal in 2006.

Even more interesting though was an article focusing not on the implications of the law not being able to maintain its current rate of expansion or the technological breakthroughs that have been made possible due to its existence, but rather what is the environmental impact of developing new technology that renders computers, cameras and other devices obsolete every 2 years.

In a nod to marketing, environmentalist David Suzuki “acknowledges the important role that technology plays in spreading his message of greener living to the masses, but, he said, “IT has also has been a real problem in terms of cyber-junk and all the stuff that’s out there.”

This problem is further discussed in the article by stating that the amount of information that needs to be stored is increasing, but it has to fit in the same amount of space.

So what does this have to do with marketing? As more and more things are created to markets companies and technology finds new ways of getting the word out, all this information takes up space and has to be stored somewhere. While the application of Moore’s Law comes into play here, storage devices can only be made so small and thus will eventually outgrow the space they are in and require resources to construct the devices used to store that information. Consumers and visitors must also purchase machines capable of viewing or using the new technology and it is the job of marketers to ensure that they want to buy these products. That creates the mountain of “old” machines and devices that are tossed out taking up space in landfills and leads to the need for marketers to promote things like electronics recycling to conserve and reuse materials that might have gone to waste.

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