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« C-R-Newsletter #39 | Main | Gradual Nanotech, Abrupt Impact »

March 31, 2006


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George J. Killoran

Thank you Mike and Chris for the CRN Global Task Force essays on nanotechnology. They were excellent, informative and interesting. I wish it was possible to reach the average Joes and Janes with the extremely important nanotechnology data contained in these essays since the average Joes and Janes make up the vast majority of the population of our planet.

If the average Joes and Janes read these essays and comprehended the implications of nanotechnology, I think dramatic positive changes would occur quickly. These essays would give the average Joes and Janes a glimpse of nanotechnology’s miraculous potential. The average Joes and Janes would see how nanotechnology would instantly change their lives for the better. They would see things like how hurricanes as powerful as Katrina and Rita would become irrelevant since nanotechnology would build structures that were impervious to hurricanes. They would see how devastated cities like New Orleans would be rebuilt overnight. They would see structures built that are impervious to earthquakes. They would see world poverty rapidly eliminated. They would see diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases and injuries like brain trauma and spinal cord injuries treated and cured routinely. They would see criminal activity and wars virtually eliminated. They would see everyone on our planet living in comfort and probably luxurious comfort. They would see that having their country and the countries of the world spend a combined amount of over a trillion dollars a year on unnecessary and destructive military projects is not in their best interests. They would see that their best interests involve having their government and all world governments invest heavily in nanotechnology. Realizing this, the average Joes and Janes would take the necessary political action that would force their government to cooperate with other countries in the implementation of a GLOBAL MANHATTAN PROJECT for the peaceful and rapid development of nanotechnology.

I wonder how long it would take to build the first molecular manufacturing factory and the first Artificial General Intelligence with a yearly budget of $500 billion and having the best minds of the world cooperating on these projects.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

George, I don't know about the AGI, but I'd split the $250 billion for the nanofactory into twenty independent projects, and expect at least one of them to succeed within three years. (Perhaps the one that succeeded would split its $12.5 billion budget into nine independent projects, plus a $1.25 billion prize for the first one that succeeded.)

We would love for Joe and Jane to read these essays. Hopefully, putting them on Wise-Nano and KurzweilAI will make that easy to do. Now, how do we get the word out?

But I'm not as optimistic as you are about the public reaction. Consider how strongly divided the US is on a number of political issues, and how little actually gets accomplished from all that emotion. I suspect that it's not because we're evenly balanced on all of them--it's because we're complacent, and it's easy and rewarding to feel outrage but "too difficult" to do anything constructive.

Look at a couple of other issues that have obvious constructive solutions. Medicines cost an order of magnitude more in the US than in Mexico. Does the public force drug companies to enter the age of free markets, rather than staying territorial and monopolistic? No.

Why is it that Leon Kass hasn't been swept from his position by a tidal wave of outrage? Kass is in a position to influence government policy, and he wants you to die for lack of life-extending medical technology. I guess people either agree with him, or are complacent, or feel disempowered, or haven't bothered to inform themselves in the first place, or...?

Sorry to be pessimistic. I don't doubt that there are some people who will react as you hope, and even a few of them can make a big difference. So the situation is not hopeless. But I really don't know what it would take to start a mass movement in the US these days.


Mike Deering

Perkin Elmer bankrolled Celera Genomics $300 million to sequence the human genome and post it on their website for anyone to see. As soon as the first molecular robot arm is developed someone will bankroll the nanofactory. Could be any day now.

George J. Killoran

Chris, I understand your pessimism. Our past history and our current history demonstrate how violent and self-centered our species is. If we continue on our present course, we are probably headed for global catastrophe. I strongly believe that the people of our nation and our planet have a right to know the truth about nanotechnology and how it can bring either utopia or massive destruction to our planet. It will be up to the average Joes and Janes to decide which way it goes. Knowing the truth, they either take the necessary action to put us on the path to utopia or they sit on their butts and do nothing and watch our civilization destroy itself.

The average Joes and Janes could be reached by using the enormous power of the World Wide Web. A web site with a 20-30 minutes long video could be set up showing the positive and negative potential of nanotechnology. Emphasis would be placed on the miraculous potential of nanotechnology. The video should be geared to the average Joes and Janes but sophisticated enough to hold the attention of more educated people. It should also include a short debate between those scientists who say molecular manufacturing is feasible and doable and those scientists who say molecular manufacturing is not possible or at least not possible in the immediate future. This basic website on nanotechnology would be available 24/7 to anyone who wants to learn the realistic basics of nanotechnology. At the end of the video, links to nanotechnology websites and books will be included so that interested visitors can get more detailed information about nanotechnology.

To spread the word about this website, a world wide movement for nanotechnology awareness will be needed. This movement can be jump-started by having volunteers who are experts on nanotechnology going on TV and radio shows that have average Joes and Janes for their audiences and discussing nanotechnology and advising audiences of this website. Shows like Oprah, Montel, Larry King, the morning TV shows, Al Franklin and George Noory would be good candidates. These experts could also contact local newspapers and magazines and do the same.

During these nanotechnology discussions, it is important to graphically address the daily fears and concerns of the average Joes and Janes and demonstrate how their problems can be eliminated by the peaceful and rapid development of nanotechnology. These daily concerns include having food for their family; having a comfortable home for their family; having an enjoyable lifestyle; freedom from the fear of having their children killed or injured in wars or criminal actions; freedom from the fear of not having access to adequate and good medical help for their family for injuries and diseases they may incur; freedom from the fear of losing their job and having their family desperate for basic needs. Those who want to be involved in this movement would be advised to write letters to their Congressional representatives asking for greater research funding for molecular manufacturing and for a GLOBAL MANHATTAN PROJECT for the peaceful and rapid development of nanotechnology.

All these various media are also seen and heard by many of our political leaders and unfortunately some if not many of our government representatives are either misinformed or ignorant of the real issues of nanotechnology. This website will give these political leaders the true facts on nanotechnology.

Hopefully word of this website would spread not only in America but around the world, and a movement for a Global Manhattan Project for the peaceful and rapid development of nanotechnology would rapidly develop around the globe. This movement may start small but once it gains momentum and people understand the real issues of nanotechnology, this movement will spread exponentially.

If the movement succeeds we have utopia. If the movement fails, we have massive destruction but at least the experts in nanotechnology, unlike the scientists who developed the atom bomb, can rest peacefully knowing that they have the done the moral thing here by making an all out intensive respectable attempt to advise the people of our planet of the benefits and dangers of this new and extremely powerful technology. Then responsibility for the direction that nanotechnology takes will rest with the people of our planet and not with the scientists that developed it.


The average Joes and Janes aren't really the problem, because they're not even half of the world's population. There are average Muslims and Arabs and Asians and Africans we have to convince and contend with as well. If we somehow manage to avoid a nanotech arms race, which will be damn near impossible to enforce with over 200+ nations on the planet, there will most certainly be no global disarmament. There are simply too many obstacles to cooperation right now.

The road ahead is going to be immensely difficult. I'd prefer to just colonize the solar system to prevent extinction!

George J. Killoran

Mike: I have that same feeling. I feel we are close to a breakthrough. I only hope the breakthrough is in the United States and not Russia or China. I value my freedoms and I don't want to live under a dictatorship and have my freedoms compromised or taken away.

George J. Killoran

Rip: Global disarmament and cooperation are formidable challenges and probably near impossible to achieve in today’s divided world. However, it is not totally impossible. It is not over until the fat lady sings. Unfortunately, I hear her warming up back stage. Let us at least make a last minute all out effort and try to prevent this fat lady from singing on the stage.

As a backup, I agree we should start colonizing the solar system and we should get going as quickly as possible.

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