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See Inside Scientific American Volume 306, Issue 5

Intel Futurist on Why We Should Not Fear the Future

The world's largest computer chipmaker employs a corporate futurist, Brian David Johnson, to guess what gadgetry and computing will look like in 2020 and beyond



Photograph by Chris Mueller

Much of intel’s success as a microprocessor manufacturer over the past four decades has come from the company’s ability to understand and anticipate the future of technology. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore famously asserted in 1965 that the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit would double every two years. This assessment, which came to be known as Moore’s Law, proved to be a highly accurate prediction of what his business could accomplish with generous research and development investments and a meticulous product road map.

As Intel’s microprocessors grew smaller, faster and cheaper, they helped to give birth to personal computing and mobile devices that once existed in the realm of science fiction. So it comes as no surprise that science fiction serves as a key inspiration for Brian David Johnson—Intel’s official futurist and the man who is paid to craft visions of both Intel’s prospective technologies and what coming years hold for the entire computing industry.

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