Macro-economic consequences of Moore's law?

By: Maynard Handley (name99.delete@this.name99.org), April 19, 2017 3:09 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Ireland (boh.delete@this.outlook.ie) on April 19, 2017 2:20 pm wrote:
> John H (john.heritage.delete@this.gmail.com) on April 19, 2017 10:00 am wrote:
> >
> > TL;DR - IMO Any book covering product lifecycles in detail with examples would
> > probably apply to the overall industry as it relates to Moore's Law.
>
> I'd start with a text such as John Thackara, 'In the Bubble', published 2005. It was written at
> a stage, when it appeared as though a lot of human beings would get dislodged out of systems, and
> processes that we were building, to manage and run operations - in all kinds of industries.
>
> Okay, so we get rid of 'people' out of systems - we go to stuff like e-government, or electronic financial
> trading, or whatever. We understood broadly the running costs of systems that were built and designed around
> human agents and participants. I.e. Costs associated with pensions, hiring, retirement, productivity. Heck,
> the whole 'labor' politics and point of view, is built around that industrial revolution era thing - of
> moving people into the industrial scale information processing and administration enterprise.
>
> The economics of things - that are built around electronic agents, and operators - as opposed
> to human one's, is something we're only starting to figure out. Like, it was written up all wrong
> to begin with. You eliminate human beings, and costs suddenly go away. Well, not really.
>
> Take someone like Ridley Scott the director in movies for instance. He offered the view, that because
> we went to so much electronic stage design, prop's and actors in the movie industry - it still ended
> up costing a tonne of money to do. In fact, he argued that when he started directing movies a long while
> ago, they were much cheaper to make. He couldn't for the life of him figure out, why movies end up costing
> as much as they do today. And that is counter to what people often say, that one can make an okay movie
> now for under ten thousand dollars - because cameras, editing etc equipment has all gotten so affordable.
> The movies that make it into theaters, haven't got cheaper at all - the opposite.

Expensive movies are expensive because they are competing against other movies, not because of the INTRINSIC factors involved in making a movie.
(a) The stars generally do a good job of extracting a substantial amount of the expected revenue the movie will generate. This is an elastic cost that reflects the size of the market, not the cost of making the movie. These are the so-called "above the line" costs.

(b) Marketing is another massive cost. Again based on competition, not on the making of the movie.

(c) So we get to "Production Costs". And THOSE are high for movies for which they are high --- but not for all movies. When The Asylum makes "The 18 Year Old Virgin" or "Barely Legal" they're creating legitimate (ie professionally looking movies that are credible entries in their particular genre, regardless of whether that genre appeals to you) on a total budget (including production) of around $1 million per movie.

Productions costs go from high to astronomical when the goal of the movie is no longer "tell a story and so provide 90 min of entertainment" but "be a SPECTACLE; be the ONE movie that everyone watches this year (or even this decade)". And that's a bidding war --- there can only be one number one, only ten in the top ten.

And be sensible. Ridley Scott hardly seems the best authority on this. Robin Hood cost $200M and it's hard to see WTF the money was spent on, or what the assumed spectacle value was...
Maybe ask James Cameron or the various Marvell directors about this economics --- THEY know what they are doing.

OK, relevance to CPUs?
If all you want is basic computation, some sort of ARM core will do the job and you cannot complain about the price.
If you want "the best" currently available CPU (however best is defined --- best mobile CPU is different from best financial services CPU which is different from best supercomputer CPU) you are once again in a bidding war, this time bidding for engineer time and fab time against others. And once again, the cost of achieving a RANK goal is very different from the cost of achieving an ABSOLUTE goal.
It's not an exact analogy, but, right now, it's still I think of some relevance. In twenty years the world might have changed enough that the distinction between rank and absolute compute goals might be less extreme?

As absolute goal, you can now (and people do) shoot a credible movie on your iPhone and edit it on your MacBook Pro. At which point you have a movie that's of interest to a few people and very little more...
(Pretty EVEN IF you are a true genius, headed for great things. Christopher Nolan's _Following_, budget $6000. Very impressive --- but still, gross appears to be ~$50,000 or so --- mainly watched by people who want to see where he started.
Even _The Spirit of Christmas (Jesus vs Santa)_ is something of a specialty item.)
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