IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2015 - 27

Social Implications
and Recommendations
It is well known and documented
that the semiconductor industry
is credited for major innovations,
impacting modern social life and
economies, so much so, that in the
U.S., from 1960-2007 the industry
accounted for 30.3 percent of all
economic growth due to innovation
[42]. The innovation and progress
of the semiconductor industry has
had a dramatic impact on everyday
consumer electronics, businesses,
and industries that have been transformed by information technology. For instance, modern factories
employ robots and computers to
do much work, and United Airlines
employs supercomputers like IBM's
Deep Blue to analyze and determine the most efficient flight path
combinations, and not to mention,
many companies pivoting into new
markets and digital product offerings. Think of Amazon.com being
the world's largest book selling company, now also leading the digital
consumption market of digital reading on Kindle and personal devices.

Analysis 2009
4

9
8

USA

3.5

7
6

3
2.5

5
4

2 ♽೉
1.5

MtM

Architecture

Manufacturing

Thermal Management

Out of Equilibrium

Information Transfer

0D/1D/2D

State Variable

MtM

Architecture

Manufacturing

Information Transfer

0

Thermal Management

0

Out of Equilibrium

1

0
0D/1D/2D

2

0.5
State Variable

1

MtM

3

1

Architecture

2

♽೉

Manufacturing

3

Thermal Management

4

Information Transfer

5

Europe

State Variable

Japan

Out of Equilibrium

6

However, the social story is not
just a rosy one. There are challenging and contentious social issues
resulting from rapid innovation and
growth in technology. Think of your
old devices and processors that
become outdated that then become
"e-waste." They often end up in
China, South Asia, or certain parts of
Africa. Other challenges include job
losses resulting directly from human
tasks being replaced by computers and automated systems. More
recently, issues such as personal
freedom, privacy, and centralized
"cloud" storage and identify theft are
issues where clear solutions are yet
to be found [43].
Another challenge faced by the
industry itself that may have broader
market ramifications is ever-increasing fabricator costs, resulting in the
semiconductor industry moving
towards an oligopoly, where only a
few silicon device manufactures survive, allowing for control and manipulation of market prices. State-of-the
art fabricators cost $10 billion or
more resulting in few companies
capable of financing next-generation

0D/1D/2D

system architecture for normallyoff computing, nanocarbon, and
spintronics, enhancing the activities in these areas in Japan. Compared with topical maps in prior
years, funding of MtM is increasing and funding in architecture
and state variables remain high.
Although funding on manufacturing
and 0D/1D/2D seem to be decreasing (on a relative basis), they still
remain high. On the other hand,
the underfunded areas include out
of equilibrium, information transfer, and thermal management.
Some programs on spintronics are
also related to the non-equilibrium
nature of spin, but as already mentioned, the categorization may have
to best captured this effort.
In reviewing yearly trends, it
seems Japan has made efforts to
bolster funding in strategic areas
such as MtM, architecture, manufacturing, and materials and devices.
Other areas that have not reflected a relative increase, and are presumed to be underfunded, include
out of equilibrium, information
transfer, and thermal management.

Figure 4 Summary of 2009 IPWGN survey results.

JUNE 2015

∕

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

27


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