Implementing effective plans for responsible management of molecular manufacturing (MM) will be a difficult challenge for many reasons.
Until the technology is fully developed, there may be little apparent incentive for policy creation. But the late stages of development could occur very rapidly, and the inherent ease of proliferation after development will likely spread the disruptive effects much faster than existing policy can handle. The issues involved are highly complex, involve multiple factors, and may take years to sort through.
At least six different dimensions can be identified along which MM may be developed.
NUMBER: Single, Dual, or Multiple
STYLE: Open, Public, or Covert
VENUE: National, Multinational, or Global
APPROACH: Competitive, Cooperative, or Separate
PROGRAM: Government, Corporate, Private, or Mixed
PACE: Accelerated, Gradual, or Incidental
With three or four directions within each dimension, the number of possible permutations is in the high hundreds. This means that policy and strategy planning must take into account an enormous range of variables and potential outcomes.
Tom Craver, a member of CRN's Global Task Force, has been expanding on these six "Dimensions of Development" on the Wise-Nano.org wiki site. Check it out and feel free to comment or add to the work if you're interested.