Issues & Overview The U.S. Technology Sector Is Alive And Well

Thursday, September 1, 2005 - 01:00
Philip Y. Braginsky

What's all this talk about Moore's Law? As lawyers and businesspeople, we think we have enough laws and just don't need any Moore. Seriously, if technology development keeps up its rapid pace, we will not only be extending our lives indefinitely, we won't even have to be biologically born to live the lives we are supposed to enjoy. Sure sounds ominous to us!

Moore's law is the empirical observation that at the current rate of technological development, the complexity of an integrated circuit with respect to minimum component cost will double approximately every 18 months. A sizable portion of the world, however, views the U.S. as failing on the technology front or at least seriously lagging. Contrary to this seemingly pervasive belief, the U.S. is actually leading the world in almost all technology sectors. U.S. companies file more patent applications than companies in any other country in the world. These patent applications relate to novel developments in semiconductors, nanotechnology, stem cell therapy, and pharmaceuticals, just to name a few.

Although Moore expounded his namesake law with regard to integrated circuits, it is clearly not limited to this industry. It is interesting to see how many different tech trends follow Moore's law. In just over 30 years, biotechnology has exploded from a few university-based laboratories to a billion dollar industry that has sequenced the human genome and is using that knowledge to prepare drugs that are personalized based on an individual's genetic makeup. Biotechnology companies have cloned a variety of different animals which provides our researchers with, amongst other things, knowledge pertaining to organ transplant and rejection. Stem cell technology continues on the path for large scale growth and production of any human tissue. Additional widespread development is taking place in the nanotechnology field, further aiding the burning pace of U.S. technological advancements.

Moore's law is obviously flourishing, and the U.S. as a leader in technology is working non-stop to bring technological advancement to fruition. Although the pace of innovations in technology is growing quickly, we need to be watchful in the production and marketing of this technology so everyone around the world can enjoy its benefits. The contributions of our scientists and companies will continue to enhance human life all over the world, and yet only a small portion of the world can avail themselves of the advantages gained by these trends. Even in the U.S., many people still have not taken a digital photograph, talked on a cell phone, listened to an MP3 file, or even used the Internet. For all of our talk about the globalization of this and that, the fact is that whole continents are not included in that demographic. Talk all you want, but until we can place this technology into every hand, lasting change is impossible and our individual responsibilities as a member of society has not been fulfilled. This requires much more advancement than we have seen over the past few decades. This requires technology that is exponentially cheaper, not just faster; exponentially more accessible, not just exponentially smaller; exponentially more useful to the world, not just for a few techies. But we believe U.S. inventors and companies have the drive and capabilities to make all this possible.