A potential downside of Moore’s Law

It’s pretty wonderful that computers keep getting exponentially better. Sometimes Moore’s Law manifests itself in the form of faster computation, other times in larger storage, or greater communication bandwidth, or smaller size and weight, or lower prices. At any given time, some aspect of our computational world generally moves forward at a steadily exponential rate.

One would think this is an entirely good thing. Yet there is a potential downside. Professional tools may develop and become mature in an era when computation is relatively slow, and then an industry might become stuck with those tools during a later era when computation is much faster.

For example, there is now a very mature computer animation industry optimized for an era when “animation” meant animated films. This has led to a set of tools optimized for linear animation, and for non real-time computation. It has also led to successive generations of animators being trained for linear animation.

This is all well and good if you are making an animated film. But if you are creating a real-time experience such as a computer game, there is a potential mis-match between the real-time experience you are trying to create, and the production tools and animation talent generally available.

In this case, it is possible that a truly disruptive animated medium, such as immersive augmented reality, will force a more fundamental change in how we do animation production. I guess time will tell.

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