Did Moore's Law Really Cause the Recession?

By November 09, 2009

While the blogosphere lit up this weekend in response to Paul Carr’s questioning of citizen journalism and whether social networks makes people more egotistical (is it just me, or are more and more high-profile tech journalists getting burnt out on covering, if not using, social networking?), another potential controversy was missed. Moore’s Law is the true cause of the recession, Quentin Hardy writes in Forbes. Out a list of all possible contenders, the real culprit is a superconductor paradigm? Why? To begin: with the continual fall in computing prices, Wall Street practices became more complex. “Complexity itself became the grail, and the street hired the best statisticians and physicists it could find to set forth even more complex calculations,” Hardy writes.

Complexity led to speculation. The statisticians and physicists invented things like sub-prime mortgages, which could not be checked against history to calculate probable risk, creating speculative markets based on unproven algorithms which could not accurately predict real-world consequences.

“There was plenty of complex math, however, to pretend they did.”

And then that marked imploded. You know -- and live -- the rest of the story.

What is Hardy ultimately suggesting? That institutions not opt for the best systems available to them? From Hardy’s analysis, system complexity fueled action based on data which was ultimately unquantifiable. This sounds more the fault of human beings than Moore’s Law. The most complex systems in the world won't hurt you if know what you're doing with them.

Moore’s Law did not cause the crash: people did. Social networks don’t make people more egotistical; they are just a tool people use to extend already existing facets of their selves into a realm where the rules of expression are different than the physical world.

I guess you have to anthropomorphize technology in order to make it a straw man.

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