See that dust cloud off in the distance? That's the future stampeding toward us at a furious rate.
With progress coming faster and faster, the need to prepare for what lies ahead becomes more urgent -- and also more difficult. Effects of new technologies may arrive sooner than expected and before effective policy can be devised and implemented.
"This is a trillion-dollar moneymaker for a ten billion dollar investment," said Bradley Edwards, whose work with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts has made him a go-to expert on space elevators. "Some of the largest companies in the world are just waiting for the word that this is possible."
If a space elevator is a trillion-dollar moneymaker for a ten billion dollar investment, then how valuable would exponential general-purpose molecular manufacturing be? Think there are some large companies -- and countries -- waiting for the right time to jump in and make it happen?