Semiconductors are fomenting the worldwide political turbulence in Egypt, Libya, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Qatar, Bahrain and Syria.
“The world is moving at a dizzying pace because of the power of interconnection,” says Dave Bell, CEO of Intersil, “the power of smartphones means people can see what’s happening in their own countries which previously would have been suppressed by governments.”
“It’s the first time in history that has happened – and it’s been happening in the last few months,” says Bell, “it’s an exciting time to be in the industry which is in the middle of it all – semiconductors.”
The four key elements allowing people to communicate images and video clips from anywhere in the world are smartphones, 3G connections, data centres which allow the storage of images on a massive scale and broadband access. And the enabler of all four elements is semiconductors.
“The genie is out of the bottle,” said Bell, “people are getting their information from grass roots sources. News channels like CNN and Fox have to rely on Internet sources or risk falling behind.”
With Moore’s Law now looking good for another ten years, says Bell, the pace of worldwide political change will increase.
Ironically it was Gordon Moore himself who once said “We were the real revolutionaries that year” when talking about the year Intel was founded – 1968 – which was a year of mass political protests across the world.
The revolution, thanks to semiconductors, goes on.