The big microchip problem

Front Burner

Feb 6 2023 • 23 mins

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger made a prediction about how the world will vie for resources in the coming decades. For years, Gelsinger said, much of geopolitical relations have turned on access to oil reserves. But in the future, he thinks a more important factor will be where microchips are made. Intel is a prominent figure in the computer chip business, but some 90 per cent of the world’s most advanced chips are currently made by one company in Taiwan. And according to Chris Miller, if the TSMC plant in Taiwan was destroyed the disruption of everything from smartphones to cars could be the biggest manufacturing shock since the Great Depression. Miller is an Associate Professor of International History at Tufts University, and he recently released the book Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology.

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