New, Young Voices Finding the Right Tune to Sing

Reading time ( words)

The title of my column this month was provided by Joe Fjelstad. It came in the form of a comment at the top of an e-mail he sent to me a few months back. I think it perfectly describes the theme of this column, as does the quote below from an article about the BotFactory:

"The guys at BotFactory hate to solder. Their eyes start gleaming when they talk about how future generations of their new desktop circuit fabrication platform, Squink, could bring to an end the days of soldering for engineering students and hackers. It’s messy. It’s hot. They never want to do it again."

I recently came across a quote on the topic of change from Bill Gates, which I believe is quite appropriate as we all try to figure out where this technology is going. Gates said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

Futurist Ray Kurzweil says this: “If we look at the life cycle of technologies, we see an early period of over-enthusiasm, then a 'bust' when disillusionment sets in, followed by the real revolution.”

The market hype associated with printed electronics and 3D manufacturing over the years has suggested that these technologies will be game-changers. The speed at which they’re “changing the game,” in reality, may lull some folks to sleep as they see PE and 3D more as fads as opposed to new ways of making circuits.

That brings to mind another Kurzweil quote: “Our intuition about the future is linear. But the reality of information technology is exponential, and that makes a profound difference. If I take 30 steps linearly, I get to 30. If I take 30 steps exponentially, I get to a billion.”

Read the full column here.

Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of The PCB Magazine.



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