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Submission + - Kurzweil's aura failing?

smallfries writes: Ray Kurzweil has a reputation as a futurist that has remained intact for the past two decades. As we catch up with the first year for which he made concrete predictions it seems that cracks are starting to appear. Kurzweil's predictions of the future have revolved around technology providing exponential returns on investment. But the latest evidence suggests that these returns may fail in the semiconductor business as economics catches up with technology.

"The usable limit for semiconductor process technology will be reached when chip process geometries shrink to be smaller than 20 nanometers (nm), to 18nm nodes," explains Len Jelinek, director and chief analyst for semiconductor manufacturing at iSuppli in a new report. "At those nodes, the industry will start getting to the point where semiconductor manufacturing tools are too expensive to depreciate with volume production, i.e., their costs will be so high, that the value of their lifetime productivity can never justify it," he adds.

Which area will maintain such a high rate of improvement as microprocessors succumb to economic reality?

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Kurzweil's aura failing?

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"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."