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Exactly. And because of that basic business incentives no matter how fast the hardware gets, we will always have software that is just fast enough to be barely bearable, but not a notch faster. That's why I'm depressed ;).

You could also argue that computation has the same tendency as building new/better roads in the cities: the more efficient and more available it is - the more of it we will be using.

E.G. as they say about the CGI - computers became more powerful, but the minutes per frame have not generally changed year on year - they've just become more detailed.

The difference is that the roads are pushing way more traffic and the frames of CGI are getting more and more detailed / realistic / whatever.

A more accurate analogy would be building a 400mph maglev train line and discovering people are riding bicycles down the tracks.

Or that you've built a 400 lane highway but everyone's still stuck in traffic because they each made their cars one hundred times wider.

The sole reason the road problem is known is because when we build new highways going to the city centre, we start using the roads for less important things, thus reducing the efficiency of using roads. It's a well-known problem in city planning.

E.g. Instead of only using a car when you need to get there "now", you start using a car to get some coffee in the central area.

So there is no difference and that's why I mentioned it.

Artists also don't have to optimize their renders as much, leading to less time spent worry about technical details and decreased complexity, so there is some overlap with CGI.

In general though, your analogy is much more true than not, since renderers are mostly optimized as much as possible.

You could argue that the only reason renderers are optimised is because what they're rendering is the sole selling point of the movie. If they are not optimised, they'll not be able to deliver the novel picture that is expected to be loved by the audience.

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