On average 320 tons of Gold and 7500 tons of Silver are used to build computers every year.
The history of computers is perhaps one of the shortest stories we can tell but has brought us many optimizations at various levels in a small period of time. Since the first commercially successful laptop computer (IBM 5100) the general public has had increasing access to these devices, expanding their influence and use. Today we have a total laptop market of 85.020 million units.
These devices are designed to last 3-5 years (depending on how resilient and adaptable the manufacturer makes it, also if the software can be used 5 years later becomes an issue). The programmed obsolescence is integrated in the designs of these equipment, and it was not a problem until a few years ago (although the computers were improved very quickly and Moore's law was fulfilled). The computers improved and its use became wider. This obsolescence is thought to maintain the Economies of Scale and to reduce the costs per unit when a certain volume of production is reached. It had a positive indirect consequence: the devices improved very quickly.
What happens today is that the level of detail and control over production has allowed Economies of Scale to meet the demand of more and more people to the point that e-waste has become the fastest growing waste category in recent years (about 3-4% per year (1) ), with a projection of becoming a major global problem in the coming years: Today representing about 59.1 million metric tons, expecting to become 81.6 million metric tons in 2030.