Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Duty Cycles Finished

We depend more and more on Solid State Storage, and more and more devices use rechargeable batteries.

What if one day, everything went wrong at the same time?

Why this is not unlikely?

Simple - the devices are made and sold in batches. They have a duty cycle limit (there are a maximum number of write cycles you can apply to Flash memory and there are maximum number of discharge/recharge cycles you can run a battery through). The chances are likely because of the law of large numbers - most people buy things at xmas or other holidays, so manufacturing and usage are synchronised.

Devices (like cars) are built so that components fail on the guarantee lifetime boundary (or just after).

The law of large numbers (central limit theorem) says that this is something that will apply to lots of stuff....

So picture this (cue Blondie music) a day in december, 2024, all the electric cars and phones and networks and power systems and internet of things die. And cannot be rebooted. Ever. Again.

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