Re: the economics of transition to nanotech

Date: Sat Jan 08 2000 - 20:18:07 MST

In a message dated 1/8/00 7:47:27 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

> My question was: who will invest
> heavily in developing a magic mill that makes copies of itself for free?

Reiterating what others have said, I'll throw my two cents in. If the
pathway from something like the current technological and economic milieu to
a true "anything box" nanotechnology were abrupt, expensive AND difficult, I
can see that your question poses a dilemma. But I don't think the pathway
will be anything like that. I think it will be relatively gradual and
incremental and only some steps will be very difficult and expensive. I know
the arguments for an abrupt transition to a "magical" nanotechnology are out
there, but I think the control issues will make going from "factory"
mechanosynthesis to nonreplicating assemblers to replicating assemblers a
sufficiently gradual process that there will be profit opportunities for the
people who invest in the improvements that will bring about each new
technological stage of development.

This is what you seem to be describing here:

> (In an update, I've sketched Zyvex's and Ntech's plans, which seem
> plausible: build a clunky thing, then a better small thing, then a wicked
> cool smaller thing, etc, and sell them sequentially for the benefits they
> bring to existing productivity. And have enough money in yr swag at startup
> that you can afford some mistakes and missed targets.)

This sounds like a much more plausible scenario than the all-of-a-sudden,
one-big-breakthrough fantasy.

      Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                                -- Desmond Morris

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