We don't have enough computer chips

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The pandemic cause lots of shortages from personal protective equipment to laptops bicycles but one supply shortage. Could slow down the economy for months. Even after covid is gone. That's the global shortage of chips. Not lay's chips but semi conductor chips the types of silicon power everything from our computers to our cars recode rebecca. Hi awhile has been covering the shortage. Hair becca hey so. This feels like the sort of niche problem. But semiconductors are in everything so tell me what exactly a semi conductor is. Semiconductors or ships are basically the building block of all the devices that we're using today. You know the computers in your refrigerator or the computers in your car phones and many computer. All of that is being made with these tiny little chips. That are powering these technologies and the really important. because we don't just need them for entertainment. We need them to work and learn and especially during the pandemic when we're doing all of these things from home and you not only have your devices at school or your office. Many people also have a full second Electronics setup at their house and what kind of problems is a chip shortage. Going to cause like talk me through. How does this play out in in the world that we experience in the world. We care about in everyday life so broadly. The increase in demand for electronics in general means that we don't have enough chips actually make those electrons so if you weren't getting a laptop on time or a phone on time that you really needed that's how it would affect you. But in the united states there's this particular challenge that's popped up with the automakers. Obviously automakers are really important and the shortage in chips is actually delaying production of cars and some models from gm or actually not going to be running with an advanced fuel technology system right now because the carmakers can't get the chip that they need so we're seeing idle workers in the united states. Some workers being laid off because of this chip shortage. But you know it's not just cars. Samsung is talking about delays with their phones their medical device makers who have asked for help because they also are worried about the chip shortage. So this is really a very very big issue for all sorts of things that we do told about why this is happening. And how did covid cause or accelerate the shortage in the first place so the primary cause for the shortage is the increase in demand in an industry. That isn't that flexible. In terms of how much it can make talking to semiconductor. They say the lead time can be you know over twenty twenty five weeks to make one of these chips so it's not an an industry that can just flip. The switch in terms of of making more another challenge is that we're dealing with incredibly complicated supply chains and there are just a few companies that have the infrastructure and very very expensive infrastructure to make these chips but they need to get materials from other companies. There's also a he does some trump tara trade policies that are making the market. Even little bit more constricted. The us has not really developed a very strong backup system of its own supply. Chain has just twelve percent of global manufacturing in the sector and you used to have nearly forty percent back in the nineteen nineties so we really haven't focused on our own. Us domestic manufacturing of these chips. Which sort of is making a lot of people nervous right now. Especially you know the car makers but you know all sorts of Device makers in the united states right now and. What can we do about that. We can't go back from twelve percent of forty percent overnight. What are people who think about the future of the auto industry governors people who have jobs and the line people who have angry customers calling. What are they doing about this. The biden administration has ordered a giant review of the semiconductor supply chain part of a broader effort. That he's focused on and focus on his campaign as well to sign a boost the resilience of us supply chains. And for you know. We're in the midst of this now. But there's going to be one hundred day review of the semiconductor supply chain. And that's doing a lot of research with all the different chipmakers trying to figure out like where you get these components. What happened in this disaster scenario and really scoping out what this actually looks like. There is legislation that some people say really needs to be funded. That would actually incentivize building. High tech manufacturing in the united states for chips hasn't been funded yet. But that's something that some chipmakers really really wanna see but you know taking the step of the us government actively incentivizing companies to go away from building these trips abroad where it is cheaper. And they've done so for economic reasons and having them chips in the united states. That's a pretty big statement and that's going to be a lot of money and it doesn't always work out. well you could end up with empty factories factories. That aren't being used three years or five years down the line and for customers. What can we do beyond expect our products to take longer to get to us. You know in the gm case you might get that product but you might not get it with a feature that you really wanted mentioning the advanced fuel technology system which means that if you were trying to buy one of those gm trucks you might be paying a little bit more for gas in. That just might be the compromise. But you know it's a reminder to really pay attention to supply chain

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