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« Search for Solutions | Main | Science Misinformation »

April 27, 2005


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Karl Gallagher

I certainly agree with her conclusion. If we had an accountable, freedom-loving world governance body I'd be willing to accept it as a lawful source of regulations and discuss how they could be enforced. I don't see how to get there from the current organization myself but I'll accept that someone else might find one. Possibly a new entity could be created from scratch and the UN colors transferred to it. But the UN as it stands now isn't something I'd trust with regulation of lawnmowers, let alone nanotech.


When speaking to administration of nanotechnology we are left with an eventual conclusion that something will have to be done. I would tend to agree with CRN that no existing organization is ready or prepared for the undertaking. I'm afraid I am also on the list of individuals that do not fully trust the United Nations. This is one of those times when we that is humanity cannot get this one wrong if we step even a small step the wrong direction we could lose millions. Indeed the species as a whole is in jeopardy with a mature and capable MM.

Assuming that at some point a few years from today we have a robust diamond or DNA based replicator capable of reproducing itself. We have a whole series of decisions to make shortly thereafter. As we have stated in the past on several occasions the what it's run rampant and although who is ahead is speculative the past I would say we're looking at a convergence of several roads to the same eventual goal. Several individual countries are in relative short timeframe apart on this road. Indeed only a few steps differ six or seven countries each with it's own distinct history, fears, goals and potential use for this technology.

We could attempt to generalize some of the specific questions that the organization in charge of maintaining and distributing MM will face.

The first question is clear will individuals be granted access to molecular manufacturing production equipment i.e. the device.

The second question what level of autonomy will be granted to individual possessing a molecular manufacturing device.

The next question assuming the first question is yes and the second question is some what are the useful products that will be allowed for production by the individual.

It is here that the questions begin to drift as to the previous answers but certainly some of the most critical ones I will address here.

What will be the position of the ruling body governing nanotechnology in regards to the continuation of the market economy and specifics the payable rights for copyrighted items.

If the ruling body declares all copyrights irrelevant and all existing products are placed on the useful products list this in my opinion would open up a positive and useful step.

There are two other questions the core should be addressed once we have a staggeringly large useful product list. Which products will be removed from the list because of perceived or otherwise dangerous.

The second question is what level of design will be granted to the individual for creation of new products utilizing molecular manufacturing.

This question is open-ended for it would allow individuals to produce weapons that were otherwise not on the useful products list and design their own for production.

As of today I find that I'm curious to hear if even our group can agree on any one of the specific questions I've asked. As we are at least reasonably well versed on the issue it is my opinion that if we here cannot agree on even the smallest issue we are in trouble.


michael vassar

The WTA or IMF are a great deal more influential than the UN, and seem more competent as well, with a greater understanding of liberal values. OTOH, their commercial ethos may be less suitable to MNT than the UN's guardian ethos. Frankly though, I don't think this is for CRN to decide. The default is for whichever organization first develops MNT to administrate it, or to distribute it, but certainly not to give it to some other organization to administrate. The very fact that the original developers had created MNT once would make them the primary threat to anyone who wished to maintain a monopoly. Such a transfer of power would tend to lead to an organization who's authority was born in betrayal and then had eternity to go bad.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Michael, I think it's been shown by long experience that any single organization can only administer a subset of domains well. Governments can't do central economic planning (though deciding economic policy may be an appropriate function) and corporations probably shouldn't do security, and neither one can handle non-rivalrous goods. (Our Three Systems paper says the same thing from a more theoretical approach.)

So, suppose a commercial group creates MNT first. Are they going to administer the geopolitical implications? No! They wouldn't have a clue how to begin. They'd have to let someone else do that. And they might or might not have the wisdom or the power to select who that someone else is.

Suppose a government gets it first. Are they going to develop it to its full positive potential? No! The best we could hope for is a sort of Soviet dole. They'd have to find a way to let commerce and Open Source use it without compromising security too much. (Or, their other viable choice is to impose totalitarianism worldwide and simply prevent effective competition.)


Giu1i0 Pri5c0

Unfortunately the UN should really be called the DN (Divided Nations): the UN have never been more than a platform used for power games in the name of the interests of nation states. Same for other international organizations. Sadly I don't expect any real change as long as nation states continue holding all power.


Since the end of WWII there have only been three major players in global military interventions. USA has a better track record than the USSR did, but UN is superior to both. I don't understand the focus of integrating MM products into current economic arenas founded by the principle of scarcity. I think the whole point of MNT is that getting rich won't matter anymore. Unless a nano-regulatory body controls the 1st assembler and all subsuquent nano-factories, its status is merely decorative.

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