The year that everyone remembered that that was happening

The year that everyone remembered that that was happening

Most importantly Metaverse technology of the year was not Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey blockchain, or Elon Musk dance robot, err.

It was more than likely the only thing that has driven progress in the tech industry for decades. The one that allows juggle tools and information handling, faster and more efficient every year. It is, of course, the silicon chip.

The importance of semiconductors may have faded over the past decade as the web, social media, and apps came to prominence. Silicon Valley now seems more like Google's inaccessible web browsing, Amazon's e - commerce empire, or Facebook's FOMO feed than with Intel's latest chip. But the past year has provided ample evidence that snacks are, in fact, more important than ever.

Demand is rising for chips from new types of customers coupled with the pandemic and geopolitical austerity to put a staggering pressure on the supply of both simple and advanced computer processors in 2022, resulting in a shortage of everything from cars to game consoles. Advanced silicon production control shapes competition and conflict between the two major world powers. And many governments are going to pour large sums into strengthening their manufacturing capacity.

Conventional chip design is increasingly critical to emerging areas such as artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, and 5G. These unique architects, rather than general purpose slots, will help shape the course of innovation.

"There is nothing really humble about the silicon chip," said Jésus del Alamo, a professor at MIT who teaches advanced microtechnology courses. "They are at the heart of everything, and they do so many urgent things in so many valuable places, with incredible benefits to society."

Del Alamo notes that bulbs are now available in a range of bewildering products, making kitchen appliances, industrial appliances, and even items as diverse as connected and programmed light bulbs.

The pandemic quickly signaled the emergence of critical shocks to the economy. When carmakers closed factories in early 2022, in anticipation of an economic slowdown, they canceled orders for low - cost shocks that were increasingly needed in engines, safety systems, and infotainment displays. Even the most basic car with gas power is now on more than 100 chips, and the latest electric vehicle may hold more than 1,000. When car purchases were unexpectedly recovered, manufacturers did not have enough silicon, and had to stop production, slowing down the economic recovery in many countries.

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Computing everything from industrial robots to medical devices meant that chip shortages were widely felt. At the same time, the high cost of building new plants, and the cyclical nature of the industry, have caused the thirst to slow down… and on. "Companies that once considered chips as just another bullet item on a product bill now understand the appropriateness of semiconductors," says Gaurav Gupta, vice president of Gartner, a research company that oversees electronics. . "Now everyone needs to focus on, and strategize in, the supply of semiconductors."

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The tension of the chip is exacerbated by tensions between the US and China. The Trump administration has banned the sale of the most advanced computer chips - the ones that powered the latest smartphones or cloud servers - to Chinese companies accused of being closely linked to the government or being supporting the abuse of Muslim human rights in the Xinjiang region.

The blockchain, which Biden's administration has kept in place, also reflects an awareness that these chips are critical to progress in areas such as AI, 5G, and robots, which are increasingly becoming a key component of economic and military competition. And with China not being able to make the most advanced chips for itself, major tech companies such as Huawei, which once led the world in smartphone sales, have shrunk part of their business. Some Chinese companies were reportedly collecting chips in anticipation of the ban, extending the available supplies even further.

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