Monday, September 03, 2007

Nano memory: 30,000 movies and nothing on

Reuters, reporting on IBM's recent breakthroughs in nanotech-enabled memory and storage, opens its story with this:

Imagine cramming 30,000 full-length movies into a gadget the size of an iPod. More here

I have said this before in different contexts, including a white paper I wrote for NanoMarkets a few years ago: "To think of molecular memory within the framework of existing applications is to severely limit the possibilities of this technology ..."

If 30,000 movies is the best we can come up with, then we have a severe crisis of imagination. I don't blame the Reuters reporter. Like the overused and inaccurate "human hair" comparison, "30,000 movies" places the technology in a context the average reader can understand.

And it is often not the inventor who decides how and where to apply new technology. It's the entrepreneur, the investor and ultimately the consumer who supply the imagination.

The business of imagination
Nantero sings a happy tune
Nanotube interconnects and hot Indian babes


DB said...

If it hasn't been uttered before, I'd like to coin the term "iPocket."

Then ask, what else would American Gothic store in their pocket?

Howard Lovy said...

Hmm. Sounds clever, db, but I don't get it. Unless I'm missing a cultural reference here, I've searched and searched American Gothic but could find no evidence of pockets. Just a very sharp pitchfork.

reneviht said...

"Imagine cramming 30,000 full-length pitchforks into a gadget the size of an iPod..."

BlogDog said...

It'll be used for porn.
Technology's always used for porn.

Howard Lovy said...

Yes, blogdog, I agree. I only recently learned about Rule 34.

Bob Hawkins said...

I can see one major consequence of essentially unlimited storage. It will be simplest to provide everyone with the Library of Congress and Wayback Machine archives on mass-produced sticks. Then it will be impossible to monitor the information being accessed by individuals, since everyone will have everything. It'll just be a matter of what they choose to look at, not what they receive.

JohnS said...

And thus we return to Vannevar Bush's "memex". We still don't know how to find things efficiently in a space that large.

DB said...

American Gothic *is* a cultural reference, Howard, reflecting (at least in my mind) the typical viewing audience, sans the pitchfork (Ma and Pa are innocent!).

Still, I'm being unfair implying such widespread myopia, in that American Gothic is only how the media views their audience. Thus, such a nano-device, an "iPocket" - to them - would only have one useful application; 30,000 movies, of which 29,978 would be porno (hat tip to the above). Which leaves precisely 22 regular films worth considering.

Meanwhile, I remain behind the techno-curve, amazed by everything from the telephone to Google, now add nanotechnology. Just the idea that we can create such self-replicators, it's totally amazing - and so far beyond my comprehension I'm standing here with a pitchfork.

Howard Lovy said...

Well, the time to worry is when the Luddite mob shows up outside your door with torches and pitchforks.