4/12/2006

It's Spooky at the Top of the Nanotechnology Hierarchy

Apparently it's Spooky Week for big time bloggers, and they don't come any bigger than today's participant: Glenn Reynolds. In his latest TCS daily column, Nanotech's Toxic Shock, he outlines his hierarchy of nanotechnology:
  • Fake (where it's basically a marketing term, as with nanopants);
  • Simple -- high-strength materials, sensors, coatings, etc -- things that are important, but not sexy;
  • Major -- advanced devices short of true assemblers;
  • Spooky -- assemblers and related technology (true Molecular Nanotechnology).
I am particularly pleased that 'spooky' is synonymous with Eric Drexler's vision of nanoassemblers.


Back in 1986, when only a few people were thinking seriously about nanotechnology, Drexler wrote Engines of Creation. In this intellectual tour de force, Drexler speculates on both the technology involved - including introducing the concept of molecular assemblers, as well as the societal impacts of these technologies as well (including potential pitfalls). Whether you agree with his vision of the future or not, the book is a towering intellectual achievement. Drexler uses clear logic to draw a roadmap of the future of nanotechnolgy long before any of the technology existed. It's fascinating and thought-provoking (chances are good that the first generation of humans for whom death is no longer physically inevitable has already been born!). Buy the book using the link above, or go to the EOC Homepage and read it in HTML or download the PDF (Note: several hundred pages of Courier font).

As you can guess, I'm a big fan of the Drexler vision of nanotechnology. Calling that vision "spooky" is a badge of honor for everyone here at Spooky Action!

Here's hoping that the value of this blog goes up by nanocents every time someone uses the term "spooky nanotechnology". Any guesses how long it will take before I get my first visitor via a google search of that term? I'll update when I get it. [One of the great things about having an obscure blog is you can still look at the daily detail logs during a 5-minute break. With time to spare to engage in the coffee cycle.]

Thanks, Instaman!



posted by Mike at 12:15 PM


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