Before I connect to the story of today which BBC gives us is something from my past. In the 80’s I learned that there are 4 basic stances. Attack, defend, avoid and evade. The last two are not the same. In one we deflect here the attacker goes in the other we avoid where the opponent is expecting to be. It helped me in many of the stages I ever faced. It is the basic of being, that is how I saw it anyway. So these matters were in my mind when an article hit my eyes. It was ‘US-China chip war: America is winning’ (at. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-64143602), are they? Really?
You see the article gives us “These tiny fragments of silicon are at the heart of a $500bn industry that is expected to double by 2030. And whoever controls the supply chains – a tangled network of companies and countries that make the chips – holds the key to being an unrivalled superpower.” I cannot disagree, but the setting is folly. You see for the most in the last 30 years that industry tried to be everywhere and there is a stage where we see them in many places. But is that a good thing, or can that truly be pushed everywhere? Think of it, think of the stage from let’s say 1996 and now 2023. Electronics got to drown everything else.
Now lets look at the simple image below
It is an abacus, and it comes from Persia about 600BC, there is enough speculation that they got it from somewhere else and that story goes back to the age of Mesopotamia. What is important is that a person truly versatile in this device can get to a result faster than anyone with a calculator and there is the solution, or perhaps the direction of the solution. The second strap is not what is out today, but what was out yesterday. In the older days we had Microsoft laptops, they outgrew their usefulness, or so that was what Microsoft wanted us to believe. The laptops were too slow, but guess what, those laptops became decently powerful Unix/Linux servers and that was a mere 10 years ago. The old PS3 could be broken into a Linux system, which was surprisingly powerful. They got a new lease on life and that is what we need to do, we need to consider other directions. Yes we see all the bla bla bla on AI and on what a powerful system can do, but guess what? AI does not exist. Machine learning does and deeper machine learning exists too and they are awesome. AI needs a lot more and these parts do not yet exist. In the first a real quantum computer is required and IBM is the closest to getting one. Once they get a handle on shallow circuits and the power is upped, that is when the system exists where a real AI could be, the second part is still a decade (at least) away. A Dutch physicist did find the Ypsilon particle and that is essential to get the shallow circuit truly going, but it is a decade away. You see chips are binary. It is either yer or no and an AI needs the Ypsilon particle. It is Yes, No, Neither or Both and these last two will evolve systems into closer to true AI and we are not there yet. So how does it all fill together?
That is the core and we see part of that with “The manufacture of semiconductors is complex, specialist and deeply integrated. An iPhone has chips that are designed in the US, manufactured in Taiwan, Japan or South Korea, then assembled in China. India, which is investing more in the industry, could play a bigger role in the future.” This is true, or at least it sounds true, but the real issue is what can be replaced with a chip? You think it is ludicrous, but is it? Do we need them? It is a serious question. You see any new technology is derived from the limits of others and as power is more and more an issue in many places, the idea of exploring the field of mechanical computer is not the craziest. What did we overlook? What did we reject because an American told us that their chip was better? They did it before with VHS, Betamax was highly superior, but VHS had the numbers, it is the only reason they won. So what else did we reject? If an abacus can equal a person with a calculator. A system with a time advantage of 3000 years, what else is possible? We forget to look behind us (which is where I found billions in IP) what else is there and what else could be done? And this is not done overnight, this will take years, decades perhaps but it would result in a new technology stream, one not founded on electronics and guess what, when the power falls away, so do your chips. So is my idea weird? Yes. Is it preposterous? Perhaps. Is it invalid? No! There is enough evidence all over the field and seeking replacement systems is not the weirdest idea, not in this day and age.
Consider one other system, in the old days (a little past WW2) someone invented the Knijpkap (squeeze cat) the torch had a small dynamo inside which sounded like a purring cat when operated.
The interesting part is that it needed no battery. So how many torches do you know that have no battery? What happens when batteries are not available? We can add a recharging battery to hold that power, or not. But one device completely without battery. So what happens when we adjust this to other means? These are two simple applications, now consider one where whomever invents it reuses a mechanical computer to take the load away (and revenue) for electronic ones? That will be the exercise and it is not an easy one. It takes one with serious brains and a decade at their disposal. But I reckon the spoils will be so worth it in the end.