At CRN, we spend a lot of time thinking about, writing about, and talking about the severe risks that molecular manufacturing (MM) may bring. We don't always enjoy this focus on the negative; however, we see the potential dangers as real and quite threatening, and believe it is our obligation to raise public awareness about them.
It should be emphasized, though, that studying and discussing only the negatives misses half the picture.
The very factors that make molecular manufacturing so dangerous -- the rapid prototyping and unlimited manufacturing, and the immense complexity and power of the products -- also provide unprecedented opportunities for positive outcomes.
Even a small fraction of the raw capability of MM would be sufficient to satisfy the world's humanitarian needs for generations to come. Another fraction could multiply the economy and enrich every owner of the technology. And only a small fraction of nano-built products are unacceptably dangerous.
Simply averting the risks is not enough. Any proposed solution must take into account the tremendous rewards that advanced nanotechnology offers as well.
What is required is not blanket permissiveness or blanket restriction, but careful administration of each separate risk and benefit. It will take time to design and implement such administration, and it will be important in the nearer term to prepare for responsible administration by implementing responsible development.