regarding posts on a nanotech-gift economy and what I see as the big question...

From: john grigg (
Date: Sat Jan 15 2000 - 15:25:43 MST

I have followed avidly the posts about a nanotech-gift economy. Seeing the
varying ideas from Robin, Damien, Greg and Robert gave me some new

I feel a more grounded after the points made about how raw materials, energy
and designs will not be free as in the classic utopian scenario. It makes
sense to me that open-source programming is at an obvious disadvantage in
terms of resources used to develop it and get it used by the masses. But as
Robin said, an early nanotech economy is much easier to predict. His
comment that even with manufacturing and design costs removed we would have
70% of the cost remaining wzs rather sobering!

Still, considering how powerful computers are supposed to be by 2030 and
later, I see common people if given the chance developing capable designs on
their own due to the huge A.I. power they would be wielding. Of course for
this to be the methods and principles of nanoassembly would have to be
well-understood so the capable software could be developed.

The question is will governments allow their people access to such powerful
A.I. and the nanotech replicators we all want? As I said in a previous
post, I see powerful reasons for governments to wish to restrain access to
the common people. This could be a huge civil liberties question of the
next century.

There would have to be powerful safeguards or you could a twisted individual
or group cause mass carnage before being stopped. I wonder how open-ended
the software and hardware would be?

Damien wrote:
Many of the services ancillary to today's production and distribution
wouldevaporate if anything like anything boxes were plentiful, however
circumscribed by protective regulation. What, then, are the salesstaff
selling? What goods are being carefully stored and moved long distances?Who
fill the skyscrapers doing what? What vast trucksrumble over the bigbridges?
Feedstocks? Maybe, but modestly smart nano systems might well copewith what
suddenly becomes a provision of services on the order of pipingin water and
power and pipingousewage. (And even those will surely behandled nearer to
home, ideally by nearly-closed recycling).
(end of post reproduction)

At the stage of relatively mature nanotech allowed by the government to be
shared with the common person; yes, I see this scenario happening.
Salespeople would sell designs and the reputation of their corporation.
Advertising would be more important then ever. I do agree that production
(at least light manufacturing) and distribution would be hit hard. We would
still need executives of many types to coordinate corporate activity in the
skyscapers. Even more white collars over design and advertising and much
fewer over manufacturing and distribution.

Again, this is a scenario for a relatively mature nanotech that government
has allowed at least to a degree into the public's hands. Of course like
Damien said this is all predicated on technological progress not stalling in
some crucial area and as I have pointed out not having the government use
it's power to stop "anything boxes" from getting into the hands of the

In Robert's post I was impressed to learn that these horribly expensive
chip-making plants could be used for other then their original goal. I had
read articles painting a very bleak picture with no bright side to it.

As for a doubling in market price for a halving in unit cost, I hope to see
this principle applied to the moller skycar so I can be zipping around in
one a decade from now for the price of a midsize car and not a yacht.

The view of three main steps in the development in nanotechnology was
eye-opening for me. I think of nanotech always as the third form, molecular
assembly. With the three-legged stool approach to nano it will take some of
the farfetched nature off it and as you said appeal to more and varied
groups of people. And in time these forms of nanotech will merge.

"Bloating" in the nanotech age will definately be accellerated. Just as
someone can buy software with the promise of getting a free upgrade later
on; I see companies that design for nanotech doing the same thing.

It sounds like "Salvation Army" will become very upscale in the future! lol
Things "bludgeoned" together in the old ways just may have that special
antique allure to them.

It is interesting to see that just as in the past, energy efficiency will
still be extremely important. And nature once again happens to show us the
way in microorganisms.

I read the various posts I have commented on several times to try to soak up
what was there. I wish I had the time to do this for most of the posts
here. How nanotech will change our economy and society to me is endlessly

Again, what concerns me more about nanotech then even the technology is the
matter of whether our governments allow us free (or at least mostly free)
access to it.

As I stated in my last post I am very concerned that federal governments
will feel that for our own good these technologies (especially as they
improve and mature) should be utilized directly only be licensed corporate
and government bodies.

The excuses for this could range from wanting to prevent terrorism to
keeping a nanotech chernobyl accident from happening in someone's home.
Ulterior motives could be to maintain strong corporate control of the
economy and government control of society at large.

We see right now a fight going on for open-source code. We see battles
going on in the U.S. and elsewhere over civil liberties. Won't nanotech
(especially as it matures) be the ultimate example of powerful institutions
wanting to control access to technology to control the people?? I see this
as a much bigger question then even the development of the technology itself
which now seems very likely.


John Grigg

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