The Federal Reserve, that extra-governmental entity that has run US monetary policy for the last century, has presented some fascinating interpretations of our economic circumstances in the recent past. The most glaring examples of this has been the idea put forth from its two most recent Chairman, Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan before him, that there was no housing bubble. Oops.
That’s why I found the most recent announcement from one of the twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, in this case the one in Dallas, that it was going to be hosting a one-day seminar on how nanotechnology is going to impact electronics, somewhat disturbing. "Sizing Up Nanotechnology: The Economic Impact of Nanoelectronics" as its called will assemble experts from around the country to speak on December 3 in Texas and have them address:
- What radical innovations might remove the circuit size constraints facing today’s semiconductor industry?
- How will nanoelectronics drive productivity, output and export growth in the U.S.?
- What conditions are needed for the industry to maximize its potential?
I think I have an inkling of what these talking points might mean, but I have to confess phrases like “remove the circuit size constraints” have me scratching my head. And I have to ask what “industry” are they referring to when they ask what conditions are needed for it to maximize its potential.
However, I really became confused when they proffered that “Nanoelectronics has the potential to replace the semiconductor.” I guess I just don’t know what they mean by “nanoelectronics”, or for that matter “semiconductor”.
But I am sure the assembled experts will clear this up. I just trust that they can avoid the reading of the economic tea leaves that led them to believe there was no housing bubble.
Dexter Johnson is a contributing editor at IEEE Spectrum, with a focus on nanotechnology.