Say’s law and bandwidth

Ed Felten asks How Much Bandwidth is Enough? (emphasis added):

It is a matter of faith among infotech experts that (1) the supply of computing and communications will increase rapidly according to Moore’s Law, and (2) the demand for that capacity will grow roughly as fast. This mutual escalation of supply and demand causes the rapid change we see in the industry.

Funny how that seems to happen.

Thus far, whenever more capacity comes along, new applications are invented (or made practical) to use it. But will this go on forever, or is there a point of diminishing returns where more capacity doesn’t improve the user’s happiness?

There’s always a point at which purchasing more bandwidth doesn’t make sense given the price of bandwidth and other goods. But will there ever be a point at which more bandwidth, even at zero price, has no utility? I doubt it.

There is a plausible argument that a limit exists. The human sensory system has limited (though very high) bandwidth, so it doesn’t make sense to direct more than a certain number of bits per second at the user. At some point, your 3-D immersive stereo video has such high resolution that nobody will notice any improvement. The other senses have similar limits, so at some point you have enough bandwidth to saturate the senses of everybody in the home. You might want to send information to devices in the home; but how far can that grow?

Human sensory system? The home? By the time there is enough bandwidth to max out the human sensory system and auxiliary devices humans will not be important on the scene.

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