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Chip war

I have recently enjoyed reading a book by Chris Miller called “Chip War: The fight for the world’s most critical technology”.  It is not an easy read, given that it is a fairly complicated field, but it is extremely informative and interesting and the Financial Times gave it its award as the business book of the year. 

The book explains how everything, including missiles and dishwashers, run on computer chips.  Part of the reason that Russia is struggling in its battle with Ukraine is that while it has more money and more people than Ukraine, it does not really have a very reliable computer chip industry and so their missiles and rockets are a lot less accurate than they would be otherwise.  In any event, that is just one example from the book and it deals much more with China, for example, which is investing billions in those computer chips to try and take away the lead that America has had as the number one super power.  The vast majority of chips are now made in Taiwan and Korea.

The book has a lot of history as well, explaining just how America’s computing power allowed it to win the Cold War against Russia.  It is all about national security and the role of semiconductors.   It is not an easy read and it would not suit most of my friends, but I did like an extract from a quote from the New York Times descrbing the book as – “A non-fiction thriller – equal parts The China Syndrome and Mission Impossible.”   One walks away learning that a majority of the chips and semiconductors are made in one factory in an earthquake zone in Taiwan.  One can understand the political ramifications in terms of China’s claims to Taiwan and the world-wide shortage of computer chips that could easily occur were anything to happen in Taiwan – a Chinese invasion or for that matter a serious earthquake.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 28-Feb-23   |  Permalink   |  9 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Self-driving cars

Tesla recently activated it self-driving software in a beta version, in America.  In other words, a feature that would allow the car itself to drive the whole way home from say, a nightclub.    That could be really effective in reducing accidents from drinking.  There is obviously a long way to go and no doubt deaths and mistakes that will occur while the software improves.  There is an even longer way to go before those types of cars and software are common in cars in SA, but adaptation of electric cars and self-driving software is way ahead of schedule in America and of course that will spread to SA ultimately.

Self-driving cars are something that has been predicted for a long time and it is one of those cases where technology has actually been slower than forecast. Tesla, by way of example, has been threatening to release that software for years now and even settled some court cases where people said they were misled into paying extra money for certain features when they were not available.  Well, they are now, and the cars use cameras and other technologies to identify pedestrians, cars, stop signs, traffic lights and all the other obstacles that one typically finds on the roads.  There will always be those luddites who will be against those technologies, and perhaps even claim they are dangerous, but at the end of the day, particularly in a country like SA where the death toll on our roads is so high, one can only hope for the day when the majority of cars are being self-driven and not in the hands of some of our taxi drivers and other drivers!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 21-Feb-23   |  Permalink   |  15 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Using the sun

South Africa’s problems with electricity never cease to amaze me.  Basically, for years, nothing has been done and all that happens is the situation gets worse.  This, in a country that gets huge amounts of sun, and I have written on my blog before, that the obvious solution is staring us in the face – solar power.  I cannot understand why, even to this day (as I wrote years ago), the government has not embarked on a massive solar strategy, giving tax incentives and help, to create a new industry in SA of fitting out houses and businesses on a massive scale with solar power.  Our population keeps growing, the electricity situation is not going to get any better, and this is certainly one of the ways that the problem could and should have been tackled ages ago.  Instead, we spend money burning coal and polluting the environment and giving everybody more load shedding more often when we could and should have been a world leader in solar power.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 01-Feb-23   |  Permalink   |  14 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

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Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
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