They've Seen the Future and Intend to Live It

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Pine_net, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. Pine_net Chaos Product Registered Senior Member


    PALO ALTO, Calif. — Dr. Ralph C. Merkle is celebrated as an inventor of the encryption technology that allows secure transactions over the Internet. But that was a long time ago. These days, he is better known as a leading theorist of molecular nanotechnology, the still unperfected art of building machines that are little bigger than atoms.

    On a recent morning in a hotel auditorium in Palo Alto, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley, Dr. Merkle addressed a singular mixture of scientists and engineers, venture capitalists, economists, students of policy and even a poet or two.

    All were members of the Foresight Institute, an organization founded on the belief that nanotechnology will transform almost every facet of human existence by giving people mastery over matter.

    Nanofactories will churn out everything from rocking chairs to rocket ships, superior to any ever made, at "the cost of potatoes and wood," in Dr. Merkle's words. Nanocomputers will interface directly with the brain, vastly increasing human intelligence. And nanobots will cruise through bloodstreams, banishing disease and debility.

    Many in the audience said they believed all that — and believed that it would happen in their lifetimes. As a consequence, their lives would never end — at least, not until the universe itself winds down or recollapses in a big crunch. So when Dr. Merkle asked, "How many of you take a personal interest in cosmology and the heat death of the universe?" many hands shot up.

    Read on...
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  3. Pine_net Chaos Product Registered Senior Member

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  5. Don H Registered Senior Member

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  7. goofy headed punk Registered Senior Member

    Nano tech, while a cool thing, almost seems to clouded in hype. So many things are promised but I doubt that half of what has been promised will actually come true. The hype on nanotechnology seems to me to be similar to all the promises NASA made for the space shuttle. Most of which never came true.
  8. Gifted World Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    Big key: mass production. It won't work unless you get an uncountably large number of nanites, and we can't produce the numbers required.
  9. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

    The space shuttle should have been considered a prototype. there should have been a mark2, 3, 4 so on. Politiciens were cheap, thats all.

    Support the hype. It gets funding. I thing with enough work you can get a self reproduceing controllable nanite. You only need one to have a legion.

    If that dosnt work, figure out how to hijack a bacterium and install a remote control.

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