The Chip Monks

They say money makes the world go round. But silicon chips run everything else. We were reminded of this during the pandemic chip shortage. Chips are everywhere, in everything, and we depend on them constantly (as I am typing this and you are reading it). They are at the heart of our smallest devices and at the core of our biggest geopolitical challenges. Wired’s Virginia Heffernan decided to go to visit TSMC, the mysterious Taiwanese company at the center of the global industry and the holy land of chip making (and it does have oddly holy elements). I Saw the Face of God in a Semiconductor Factory. “SMC makes a third of all the world’s silicon chips, notably the ones in iPhones and Macs. Every six months, just one of TSMC’s 13 foundries—the redoubtable Fab 18 in Tainan—carves and etches a quintillion transistors for Apple. In the form of these miniature masterpieces, which sit atop microchips, the semiconductor industry churns out more objects in a year than have ever been produced in all the other factories in all the other industries in the history of the world.”

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