Fallout When the Chips Are Down

Amazon Prime series "Fallout" showcases a retrofuture wasteland without semiconductors -- could our innovations exist without silicon chips?

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Editor

May 20, 2024

What if we lived in a world without semiconductor chips?

Tony Moor, senior director of silicon lab services with IOActive, and Shane Snider, senior writer with InformationWeek, join in for a conversation on our reliance on semiconductor chips.

In the alternate retrofuture of the popular "Fallout" streaming series and video game franchise, semiconductors

never caught on as a backbone for computer technology. Instead of silicon chips, vacuum tubes became the mainstay of technology, which had a variety of repercussions after the world of "Fallout" went thermonuclear.

In the real world, just a couple of years ago a shortage in semiconductor chips had companies and manufacturers scrambling for ways to compensate. Even now, demand continues for semiconductor-based chips from smartphones to supporting the latest strides in AI.

This episode of DOS Won't Hunt takes a look at what was learned from dealing with past shortages in chips as current demand continues, and how that might change as technology needs evolve.

Are there any alternatives to current chip tech that might be put to work for compute? Could industry get by through recycling chips to meet future demand? Will innovation stall if there are not enough chips to go around?

Listen to the full episode here.

Related:Biden to Inject Nearly $20B into Intel’s US Chip Plan

About the Author(s)

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Senior Editor

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth covers tech policy, including ethics, privacy, legislation, and risk; fintech; code strategy; and cloud & edge computing for InformationWeek. He has been a journalist for more than 25 years, reporting on business and technology first in New Jersey, then covering the New York tech startup community, and later as a freelancer for such outlets as TheStreet, Investopedia, and Street Fight. Follow him on Twitter: @jpruth.

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