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« Fun With Organisms | Main | Protein Stiffness And Scaling Laws »

March 21, 2009


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Tom Craver

I could buy that idea - "we have control of the seas, so anything threatening to make that irrelevant has to be blocked".

So, just as creating fear of anything nuclear helped slow nuclear proliferation, fear of gray goo will help slow the spread of distributed atom-precise manufacturing?

So - do you struggle against that, or aim to get as much benefit as possible within that?

Of course, the author could have been wrong - maybe it's "obvious the US will retain power because of their sea control" - but maybe he hasn't taken into account a world in which the seas are no longer all that important?

Chris Phoenix

Tom, I see the seas as still being important for cargo shipping for the next few decades - until after molecular manufacturing is due to be developed, even with low funding/effort. So if this line of reasoning (that the seas make the U.S. strong) is correct, we could expect a strong U.S. throughout the pre-MM time period.


Tom Craver

Yes - precisely - George Friedman appears to have fallen into exactly the same trap he identified - assuming a key element driving current trends will not change.

todd andersen

Nuclear proliferation, we can only hope that MM is as widely available and in use as nuclear power and weapons are today. I never understood why we the U.S. allowed any other country to have nuclear anything. We had it 3-4 years before anyone and its wrong giving any other country the power to destroy us. We should have universally declared any other country who seeks to develop or posses any nuclear capability an enemy of the U.S. and move to destroy any facility being used for this efferent. But that is not what happened and today we sit with many countries capable of destroying us, any time they have a bad day.



You're forgetting one factor: Companies. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that U.S. power rests with the government. While it might seem that way to the layman, it is not. If corporations see the cost benefit in Distributed Manufacturing they will push for that technology and the government will bow down to that wish. This will in the end allow this technology to proliferate.


I read Friedman's book. Very good except the author can be very 'acclerating change unaware' when it comes to technology. Almost myopic. Yet, when it comes to economic growth, he is very accelerating change aware. Go figure.


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