As someone slightly leaning towards green living, as in trying to not harm the environment too much, it has been long clear to me that humankind is wasting far too much natural resources. This now has been confirmed once more by a study of the Fraunhofer Institute (see some short article on the matter on heise.de), specifically tailored to the computer industry. It predicts, that all those (semi-)precious metals and crystalline compounds with exotic names by 2030 will be in such high demand, that for some industries there will be constant short supply, including what we know as today’s Silicon-based computer industry. In effect this means, that those materials, which even today are more expensive than diamonds, will become even more expensive and so will all products requiring their use. This is furthered by those materials being extremely hard to recycle. So at some point, we may actually find the current trend of electronics becoming cheaper and cheaper reversing completely. On the bright side, though, we can hope that information technology will be less dependent on those materials by that time. Optical switches, plastic circuitry and OLED displays will be much more widespread, minimizing the impact resource bottlenecks.
The Computer Age ends in 2030 (or shortly after)!