Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that we have the ability to have this debate in the House of Commons today. It has been lively, and I have enjoyed it, but I am going to remind Canadians, who might be watching at home, and my colleagues who are here, just how rapidly technology has advanced in the course of our lifetimes.
One of the last jobs that I did prior to becoming a member of Parliament here in the chamber was as a tenured faculty member at Red Deer College in Red Deer, Alberta, where I was a member of the computer systems technology department. I taught computing systems to students there for a number of years. It was a great job with brilliant minds of the young people who had come to that college.
I learned all about computing when I was an adult. I did not have the privilege of growing up inside a computer. Those of us in the room who are old enough to know, back in the mid-1990s, an old IBM 386DX used to cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, for computing power that right now would not even match an outdated, obsolete iPhone.
I would remind the people watching what the significance of this debate is and why the legislation we are discussing, and hopefully sending to committee, is so important.
If we go back to the 1960s, the development of ARPANET is where the foundations of the Internet started. The transmission rate of data at ARPANET, which was a military defence network, and as I said, the founder of the Internet, was 56 kilobytes per second. Now, in 2022, we are at 5U, which is 100 megabits per second. This is an absolutely astounding rate of growth in the ability to move information from point A to point B.
The growth since 1983 is based on Nielsen's Law on bandwidth. Basically, every year we increase the capacity to send information over a network by 50%, which is an exponential number that keeps going up. It is not 50% of where we started from. It is 50% from now. If we could do compound interest in the financial system that would give us a 50% compound interest return, we would be doing quite well. However, this is how fast the network processing, or the bandwidth, is growing in the world.
If we take a look at Moore's law, when it comes to the ability of microchip processing, transistors on a microchip double every two years, which is what they said back in the mid-1960s. In 1970, there were just over 1,000 transistors on a microchip. Now, there are 50 billion transistors on a single microchip. That is an insane amount of computational power, and coupled with the bandwidth that I just talked about, leaves us in a situation where parliamentarians and politicians need to be cognizant of the scale of the capacity of what we are talking about.
Let us go back to the early 1990s and a computer at that point in time. We measure computational power in things like FLOPS, or floating point operations per second, and MIPS, or million instructions per second. A computer back in the early 1990s could do under 1,000 calculations per second. Today, we are well over a billion computations per second, and that is floating point operations, which are more complicated than even just the millions of instructions per second. We can just take a look at that efficiency.
When we talk about going back to original computers, we talk about the Harvard Mark II, which I think weighed 23 tonnes. Now, with today's technology, the demand of energy per unit of processing or unit of computing power has actually been cut in half every 18 months, which means that every 18 months, the amount of energy and power that it took to do the same job is now half of what it was. This is allowing for massive growth. We see things springing up all the time. We have Bitcoin mining operations using massive amounts of electricity. Can members imagine if we tried to use that much electricity using older computers? It would have been absolutely astounding.
On storage, I am not talking about memory in the computer, and I already talked about the microchip storage. However, when I was teaching at Red Deer College, we got these hard drives that came in so that we could play around with a hard drive. Now, I am mostly a software guy. I was a programmer and database administrator, but I had to learn a little bit about the hardware.
We had a 420-gigabyte hard drive. It might have been a megabyte, but I think it was a gigabyte, but oh my goodness. I remember we had 20-gigabyte hard drives. Who can remember when they were excited about having a 20-gigabyte hard drive?
In the 1950s, if we go back to early computing, the cost to store one terabyte of data, using that technology and working backwards on the cost of a unit of storage and the evolution of computing, it would have cost over $100 trillion. Today, for less than $100, people can go to a computer store and buy a hard drive or a disk for their computer that contains well over a terabyte of data.
Why is this history lesson so important? It is because we are moving into an age of artificial intelligence. Some of my colleagues have expanded upon the importance of artificial intelligence in their speeches earlier. I listened with great anticipation to what they said.
What does the requirement for computational power and bandwidth require for artificial intelligence? Today's computers, looking at artificial intelligence, are actually using something called petaFLOPS, that is 10 to the 15th, a quadrillion floating point operations per second. That computational power exists in our networks that are out there that are now hooked up with 5G networks that can operate at 100 megabits per second.
The amount of technology and the availability of technology and the ability of that technology in today's standards are absolutely amazing. In fact, because of these advances in technology, we now have some pretty amazing facts. A television today, a software game, any of our intelligence toys, anything that requires computing is 35% lower in cost relative to income than it was just 20 years ago. Meanwhile, college tuition, education and so on have gone up over 150% in the same time frame. That tells us the vast amount of research and technology that has been put in place on the development of this technology.
That is why it is so important. Artificial intelligence is a conversation that we should be having in this House, and cybersecurity is certainly a part of that. Everybody knows, we are watching the news, and we see some great potential uses. That is the thing; everything that is designed to make our lives better, more efficient and more productive could also be used for evil.
I am not accusing anybody of using it for evil. That is not the point I am making. However, everything we want to use for good, somebody else could use with malicious intent.
I will just give a couple of examples. We have had the conversation today about the amount of personal information that has been lost, hacked and held hostage through various cyber-attacks. We know that the People's Liberation Army in China has tens of thousands of people working, just in their cyber-attack divisions alone. Just to keep in mind, for the people who are watching at home, Canada's entire military hovers between 60,000 and 70,000 people. The People's Liberation Army, just in their cyber-intelligence division alone, would have more people than the entire Canadian Armed Forces across all three of our divisions.
These are the folks, coupled with our security establishment, who need to have the tools to defend us, our networks, our infrastructure and all the critical things that we do. We are talking about hospitals, electricity grids and all these things. Imagine something as simple as a driverless or autonomous vehicle. An autonomous vehicle can now drive itself, and the reason it can do it is because we have that 5G technology, and we have the cameras and the ability for that car to make intelligent, informed decisions at the calculation rate, because of the advances in computers that I just talked about. Imagine what somebody with malicious intent could do with an autonomous car, if they wanted to.
That is why we have to get the cybersecurity question right in this debate. If we leave our systems vulnerable, if we leave ourselves open to the possibility, and we are never going to be perfect, and for everything we do, somebody with malicious intent could find a workaround for it, so we have to keep it up to speed.
With all the facts I just talked about, the doubling of technology and computing power and the halving of electricity requirements, we need to be very clear. This is the one piece of advice that I will offer to my friends across the way in the government, because this is too important not to be working together on this. The technology is growing and developing at such a rapid pace that I really do hope that we and the government have the ability to put in some clauses to review this, because it is just so important that we get this right and constantly review our cyber defences and cybersecurity in this country.