Re: Clinton's National Nanotechnology Initiative

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Mon Feb 28 2000 - 14:37:09 MST

>From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>
>Zero Powers wrote:
> >
> > I don't know, this may be old news around here, but I stumbled upon the
> > actual text of Clinton's National Nanotechnology Initiative...
> >
> >
>I read it. Items that disturb me:
>A) How does *anyone* manage to write a 101-page paper on nanotechnology
>without using the words "Drexler", "Merkle", or "Foresight"? Is there
>some deliberate conspiracy to shut Foresight out? Does anyone on the
>commission know they exist? Are these guys (1) being controlled by
>Foresight from behind the scenes, (2) good friends of Foresight who
>aren't mentioning Drexler so as to avoid triggering the bogosity meters
>of fools, (3) honestly so uninformed that they haven't read
>_Nanosystems_, or (4) blood enemies of the Institute for Molecular
>C) Much ado about spy/infotech aspects of nanotech and "national
>security". One brief mention of advanced-material fighter jets.
>Nothing about about nanoweapons or active shields. No quotes from
>Admiral Jeremiah.
>These people are deliberately avoiding all mention of diamondoid and
>drextech. I'm not sure whether they're good guys or bad guys, but I
>don't trust them.

What they are is politicians. I was also disappointed that they could dare
propose a national nanotechnology initiative (NNI) without any mention of
St. Drexler. But in retrospect I can see why they did it. NNI is going to
have to fight for its life in Congress against hundreds of other special
interests which want funding. Any mention of Drexler would inevitably lead
NNI opponents to cite the most "way-out" drextech discussed in his writings
("impossible" things like immortality and universal wealth) as "proof" that
NNI is nothing but an expensive pipe dream which would waste money that
should be spent on more "practical" scientific projects, like AIDS and
cancer research.

The pro-nano politicians (thank God for them - is this not reason enough to
vote for Gore in November?) also have to take every possible effort to make
sure none of the opposition hears anything about certain other things that
Drexler discusses, like the gray goo problem. Get that on the national
radar and you can forget about NNI for a long time. My guess is that
Drexler himself realizes the political realities of something so
revolutionary as NNI, and my guess is that he is not miffed about not being
mentioned in the proposal, particularly since (mentioned or not) Foresight
is likely to be one of the beneficiaries of NNI.

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