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« Nanotechnology Future | Main | Nanotechnology Crossroads »

August 21, 2004


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Tom Craver

If you were in charge, knowing the danger of triggering a nanotech arms race, would you want to publically announce the nanotech equivalent of a Manhattan project? You could not publically ignore nanotechnology. Too much is being said and written about it - that would be suspicious. Maybe the nanotechnology initiative was created in part as smoke screen, and in part as a way to openly fund basic nanotech research while carefully controlling the direction it takes.

If this is what is really going down, they've been working on basic MNT research for several years, giving them some confidence of having some technological lead. Slow acceptance over the coming year of replicating MNT, without funding it, just makes the cover more plausible. In 2005 they can respond to public calls for MNT research by openly funding small, highly targeted MNT research projects - things they need researched or developed for their secret program, but which won't in themselves enable MNT.

Paranoid fantasizing? Perhaps. But isn't that what most would have said in 1943 about the idea of a secret city-destroying-super-bomb project?


I would agree Tom, my believe they are they being, United States and Great Britain working on MNT. And I agree I think it's interesting that although they do not fond molecular assemblers per say they fond every contributing technology. So even though publicly we are not necessarily researching molecular manufacturing we are researching every and any technology that will contribute to this end.

There have been several comments made by others describing the fall or the change to the current governing system. I would just like to formally say I for one will not stand against the United States nor will I actively contribute to its downfall. That said if I fundamentally believe the United States is moving into the wrong direction or wishes to restrict MNT in a way that is counterproductive. Then I will leave the country and pursue a new life elsewhere. As for today even though publicly a policy of dismissal is openly discussed I still believe, as I said above that United States is doing everything it can to pursue the eventual goal of producing a replicator using MNT. So my bags are not packed :).

Leonard Neubauer

As a long-time Nanotechnology enthusiast, I've wondered about a great gap in needed research. All kinds of theories and work on Assemblers but little or none on equally important Disassemblers.

We are choking in the mounting debris of the Consumer Age. What are we going to do with all the SUV's when lightweight accident-free fuel efficient Hypercars take over? The stockpiles of H-Bombs? All the other shit we've accumulated in junk-piles around the world.

On top of that the desktop Molecular Assemblers of our New Age will be turning out stuff uncontrollably, there's no authority on earth that can stop the Sorcerer's Apprentices once they get rolling.

Only the art of Disassembly... turning stuff back into the atoms from whence they came will save us from The Ultimate Glut.

Being non-tech, I have no idea if this is practical or even possible.

Any reactions... anyone?

Leonard Neubauer

Brett Bellmore

Disassembly isn't complex, that's why. Unless you want to retain the information on where every atom was, for future reference, you just burn things in a good, hot fire, and then sort out the simple molecules that emerge on the other end.

Diamondoid nanotech, in particular, is easily degradable in the enviroment. Heck, it's got to be passivated on the surface to avoid spontaneously catching fire; It's just very complex charcoal, after all. The nano-blocks CRN proposes using could be equiped with sites in the passivated surface which are designed to be vulnerable to attack by molds or bacteria, and once it's penetrated, they're gone.

Now, silica or alumina based nanotech, such as I suggest might be used to address the issue of relative elemental frequencies, wouldn't be quite so flamable, but even in that case you might design artifacts to break down under specific circumstances, by inclusion of the right kind of internal strained bonds.

My personal vision would have most of the functional nanotech in a home enviroment consist of utility fog, dependent on internal fuel stores, and designed to disintegrate when they're exausted. You would have to do some work to make sure that the end products were non-toxic, of course.

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