Transistors and ICs have significantly enhanced technologies for mankind to improve living conditions, enrich life experiences and revolutionize civilization. Over the past 60 years, the IC industry has grown due to continual inventions on semiconductor materials, devices, circuits, CPU/DRAM/Flash/SOC chips. These developments have validated Moore’s Law and are currently enabling more versatile Heterogeneous Integrated (HI) Silicon-centric Systems & Applications (HISA)! Industry revenues reached US$480B in 2018 and will grow to over $1T by 2035.
A perspective on the next 30 years reveals that a synergistic growth relationship of IC x HI x PI (I3 Force) is shaping a big wave of new product directions for the semiconductor industry. This wave will power another exponential economic boom, bigger than that generated by Moore’s Law.
PI (Pervasive Intelligences) is surging to stimulate humanity’s ambitions beyond AI due to powerful nanometer-level HISA. The I3 Force enhancements impact many areas: (1) Human Brain Intelligences (HBI), (2) Artificial and Machine Intelligences(AI), (3) Cell Intelligences (CI), (4) Aging Intelligences (AGI), and (5) Environment Intelligences (EI).
As for what may happen beyond the next 30 to 60 years, what will be totally new disruptive technologies surpassing ICs is unpredictable to me. But I am reasonably confident that such technologies will not be using only electron-hole like most of today’s ICs, and my best bet at the moment is on photon-electron synergy, pervasive use of spin-force, and some usage of cell-based or DNA-based technologies with semiconductor/IC technologies.
As for the question on if and how Taiwan can continuously push today’s leading position in semiconductors? A worthy example to study is why Japan is not so strong now as ten or twenty years ago. Significant national efforts to change and upgrade Taiwan’s competitiveness in ICs are definitely required.