At this point, John was living under a bridge and wearing a bird’s nest as a hat. Despite his tragic sartorial collaborations with the avian world, John still believed that somehow, some way, he could continue to make his transistors smaller. Perhaps the processor could run multiple copies of each program, comparing the results to detect errors? Perhaps a new video codec could tolerate persistently hateful levels of hardware error?
All of these techniques could be implemented. However, John slowly realized that these solutions were just things that he could do, and inventing “a thing that you could do” is a low bar for human achievement. If I were walking past your house and I saw that it was on fire, I could try to put out the fire by finding a dingo and then teaching it how to speak Spanish. That’s certainly a thing that I could do. However, when you arrived at your erstwhile house and found a pile of heirloom ashes, me, and a dingo with a chewed-up Rosetta Stone box, you would be less than pleased, despite my protestations that negative scientific results are useful and I had just proven that Spanish- illiterate dingoes cannot extinguish fires using mind power.”