Re: NIH Conference on Nanotech

From: Brian Atkins (brian@posthuman.com)
Date: Mon Jun 26 2000 - 11:55:34 MDT


I think whatever influence Foresight had developed is rapidly fading. They
helped bring things this far, but are going to be pushed out of the way
and kept on the fringe. Reminds me of how Jodie Foster's character got
treated in the movie Contact when her boss took all the credit for her work.

hal@finney.org wrote:
>
> Wired news reports this morning about a conference at NIH on "Nanoscience
> and Nanotechnology: Shaping Biomedical Research". The first substantive
> talk, "What is Nanotechnology?", was by Steven Block, who wrote:
>
> > Against the backdrop of much exciting technical and scientific
> > development, there are legitimate expectations for breakthroughs in
> > areas such as computing/electronics, biotechnology, materials, and so
> > on. In many cases, these expectations seem realistic and appropriate,
> > and therefore merit the attention and support of government agencies,
> > academia, and the private sector.
> >
> > In others cases, the expectations seem na´ve and unrealistic: these are
> > primarily being advanced by a vocal cult of futurists whose enthusiasm
> > is beyond question, but whose agenda is not. I will argue that for the
> > real science to proceed, nanotechnologists ought to distance themselves
> > from the giggle factor and position themselves for the serious work of
> > the 21st century.
>
> The Wired article makes it clear that it is Drexler and his associates
> whom Block is criticizing here. As nanotech goes mainstream I suspect
> that we will see more of this kind of distancing.
>
> Another point made by Block, echoed in the title of the conference,
> is that there is real science still to be done at the nanoscale.
> This contradicts the often-heard claim of nanotech advocates that all the
> basic science has been done, and all that is needed is straightforward
> engineering work to put the pieces together.
>
> Hal



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