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« Who's Afraid of Nanotech? | Main | Science Fiction & Science »

March 12, 2004

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Kurt

I tend to be a skeptic about "Drexlarian" nanotechnology. However, the cost estimates make a useful prediction tool. If "Drexlarian" nanotech is possible, I agree that it can certainly be done for less than $30billion. If that drops by a factor of 10 in the next 10 years, because of tool improvements as well as alot of basic science being done in this period. Such nanotech could be developed for $3billion starting in 2014.

This is definitely within range of most multinationals, not to mention governments such as China or Japan. At this range, it could be done by Malaysia, and they would do it just to stoke their egos. Assuming another 10 year period and a similar cost reduction, you're looking at $300million in development cost in 2024.

I think its reasonable to say that we will get some kind of nanotechnology by 2025. For a look at bio-memetic nanotechnology, have at look at:

www.molecubotics.com

and

www.abqtrib.com/archives/news04/021304_news_life.shtml

Assuming that development timelines are similar to "Drexlerian" nanotech, we will get nanotech even if "Drexlerian" nanotech turns out to be impossible.

Bravo Romeo Delta

One thing that should be getting more attention, but is evidently not, is that $30 billion is a lot for industry, but not for government. By way of perspective, outlays for defense last year approached half a trillion dollars.

A useful size-metric for government mega-projects, is that the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Program both cost approximately $100 billion in current dollar terms. So, essentially, if the nanothingy can be kicked off for $30 billion, it's doable today. By the time you're talking $3 billion, that's the cost of something between 1.5 and 6 stealth bombers (cost figures being hard to tie down explicitly...) and would certainly be a bargain at twice the price.

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