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« A Sticky Solution | Main | Cross Cooperation »

April 09, 2004


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Mike Deering

What is "exponential manufacturing at larger scales"?

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Exponential manufacturing is what you get when your manufacturing system can build a cheap copy of itself. "At larger scales" means that it doesn't use bottom-up manufacturing. I guess that phrase is confusing, because it could imply building larger products. But bottom-up molecular manufacturing can also build large products.

Paul Hughes

You said, "That seems to be sufficient reason to worry about being caught unprepared. And if it turns out to take only five years, we're really in trouble."

The scope and extent of danger is evident, but what are you saying here? Caught unprepared? What do you mean by this? Who is unprepared, and how? But MOST importantly, WHAT has to happen for us to be prepared??

Chris Phoenix, CRN

To me, preparation means having ways to mitigate the dangers. There are several serious dangers that we currently have no way to prevent.

We have to avoid an unstable arms race. That might require either some kind of international agreement, or such a massive imbalance that no one can compete. I don't see either of those developing, or anyone looking for alternatives.

Massive manufacturing of high-tech products will allow even small entities to do large amounts of damage. We don't have any structures or administration for keeping vicious people or groups in check.

Likewise, we don't have any way to address the human rights issues. If a government or other large organization can put billions of TV cameras everywhere (inside buildings, etc), with enough computers to distill the information, then there's no possibility of privacy. And there are possibilities quite a bit more invasive than that.

These are just a few of the problems. There's no single WHAT that has to happen for us to be prepared. We need to develop a system that allows massive power to be administered by humans without enabling those humans to abuse it too much. That requires a deep study of the potential abuses and vicious cycles, and the invention and implementation of a system that's immune to them. Without that system, we're all unprepared.



is it possible that at least most people would not think about global domination even if they were first with mnt?

michael vassar

Not possible, overwhelmingly probable. Trouble is, even if the first people with MNT would not think about global domination, the people interested in global domination would immediately think about the first people to develop MNT.


There's a couple of other things I could say, but I think i've pushed such an issue far enough. Yes, I do see that crn's ideas won't stiffle exploring

I think with or without the crn ideas, we will be alright; at least, so long as some part of humanity strives keep pushing further out in the cosmos.

Brett Bellmore

I kind of like the phrase, "clanking replicators" to describe exponential manufacturing at larger scales. It was actually the original concept, the idea of nanotechnology postdates self-contained replicators, aka "Von Neumann machines" or "universal constructors".

And it's the probable end point of the evolution of factory automation, even if we never do get nanotechnology.

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