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« Hype, Part 3 | Main | Hype, Part 5 »

June 20, 2005


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Hey Mike, I don't completely understand what you're trying to say with the "who has the hype?"-postings.

Are you trying to say that there is no hype, just people saying there's a hype?

Or what exactly... ?


Nanotech at this moment, is ALL hype. How could you devote an entire site to something that won't hit the big time until long after we're all dead? It's like talking about airplanes and cars in the Middle Ages. Molecular manufacturing in 20 years, my eye.

michael vassar

But Mr. Bond's speach was completely different from Mikes. His mentioned theologians as one of the sorts of authorities that need to be consulted. In other words, he spoke as a politician. And that makes all the difference.
Chris, Mike, please moderate out MysticMonkeyGuru. Openness does not mean tolerance of trolls.
There is nothing wrong with polite disagreement, or even modestly impolite disagreement backed by logic and serious attempts at sound argument, but he offers neither. Failure to moderate leads to overwhelming noise to signal and destroys deliberation.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Michael, we'll consider your request; it makes sense to me, though it would be the first time we've done it.

Jay, I didn't discuss these posts with Mike, but here's my take on what the point is (copied from my comment on "Hype 3"):

Molecular manufacturing studies have often been accused of excessive hype. Meanwhile, other nanotech boosters, while denying MM, have touted positive consequences so extreme that some of them can only be achieved through MM. That's inconsistent.

Worse, by talking about the positive consequences without any acknowledgement of the source (MM), or any acknowledgement of possible negative consequences of MM (of which there are many), they are short-circuiting much-needed policy discussion.


michael vassar

Yes they are Chris, but it's possible that the level of nuance required for such discussion simply can't be handled by institutions of public discussion in anything like their current form.
Think of some issue like the war on drugs where policy is pathological, everyone intelligent and informed knows it's pathological, and where perfect policies may be elusive but major improvements take very little effort to conceptualize and explain. Issues where the basic science is not in doubt. Issues with centuries of historical precedent.
Then tell me how effective efforts have been to implement sane policy. Efforts backed by huge political movements. Efforts with some of the world's wealthiest people behind them. Efforts backed by a huge part of popular culture... There may be forums where rational discussion and deliberation is possible. Certainly Enlightenment thinkers like Jefferson expected a lot of rationality. Maybe what they had seen of it's effect justified their faith. Maybe the Netherlands or Denmark or New Zealand is capable of usually adjusting its behavior when said behavior is blatantly stupid, but the US isn't. I think you should seriously consider focusing effort on a populace/administration/bureaucracy with less inertia.

Marcel Lossi

mystic monkey guru

You've failed to convince people at KurzweilAI.net of your opinion and failed. Now you've tried it here and failed again - don't you think that's your fault?

To the others

There is no such thing as "nano hype". Nanotechnology, and especially molecular manufaturing represent the most important industrial (and medical, cultural, digital...) revolution ever. If people claim you at CRN are hyping things, they simply don't understand the scope and improtance of true MNT

Mike Treder, CRN


Read Part 5 and you'll find out exactly what we're trying to say. I apologize if I wasn't making it clear before.

michael vassar

I want to clarify that I am not simply complaining and
saying "the government is irrational", much less "the
people are irrational". Yes people are irrational,
and we have to learn to live with this, but
governments are non-rational. They really do have
emergent properties, and so long as all of the people
within play their parts, corporations fighting for
subsidies and inviting politicians to lavish
fundraisers, local government chasing pork, leftists
marching, Christians voting and donating money,
scientist begging for grant money, etc, it can follow
it's own course. Just the fact that the majority of
the muscles in your body are contracting doesn't mean
that you will contract. Just the fact that the rear
leg is moving north doesn't mean the body is moving
south. Just the fact that the majority of interest
groups want to avoid a war doesn't mean the war will
be avoided.
I'll point out that if it was more "democratic", if
"the will of the people" prevailed, then we'd have
school prayer, creation in schools, no abortions,
socialized healthcare, destructive taxes on the
wealthy and on corporations, very little legal
immigration, regular executions, no foreign aid, etc.
The Christian right would sweep every issue because
they combine money and effort, appearent intensity of
caring. As it is, deep down we all expect them to
loose every issue, yielding gay marriage in the US
before most of Europe and eventually leading to
polygamy and other items that aren't on the table yet.
Why? Because the Evangelical Christians fight the
trends of the day. They try to move in a direction
opposite that of society. And because the rural
people always loose political battles which aren't
resolved simply by bribing them. And possibly because
they and their allies get energy from Christain anger,
so their allies make them loose and hence get angrier
and angrier and more and more powerful (no-one ever
taught them that if something isn't working you should
stop doing it).
At any rate, we should learn to stop acting like the
Evangelicals. We should learn to pay attention and
make sure we see the actual consequences of our
actions rather than just moving in the direction we'd
like society to move in. Some of the behavior of
governments can be predicted by public choice theory.
Other aspects cannot be so predicted, but even
thoughtful informal guesses may be better than blind
conformity to patterns that are known not to work.
Trying to invluence key individuals may be a better
strategy, but even key individuals may lack real
power. The Free State project is an interesting
proposal. It's an effort that hasn't already failed.
Smaller alternative communties might be a better idea.
There's still lots of land in the US. At any rate, I
hope this comment gets some reaction.

Nicholas Kotze

Hey Mike

Take a chill-pill, dude. Who cares if nanotech only hits the big time long after we're dead? Its the hype that'll ensure it really happens in the long run anyway. Its like First Contact with extraterrestrials: we all know about it because of the hype, and when it happens it'll happen to a world that's been expecting it for some time. If people in the Middle Ages had hype about cars and planes equivalent to the current hype about nanotech, we'd have been flying long before1903. Hype is good. It informs and educates the common man about issues and concepts he would normally have been clueless about. Yes it has its negative aspects, but so what? If people are misled then it's their problem, not mine, not yours.
Interesting site, by the way.


love the site


love the site

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