> I'm not at all embarrassed when somebody calls Nanotechnology a Santa
> Clause Machine because that's certainly one aspect of it, the other
> aspect is Doomsday Machine.
This is missing Robin's point. When he uses the epithet "Santa Clause
machine" he wants you to address the magical nature of it. He doesn't
actually care whether it's white magic or black magic.
The bridge example that Robin proposed is easy to expand. Without the kind
of intelligence that people haven't yet claimed is needed in order to have
useful assemblers, your nano-pixie dust won't know where to build the
bridge, how deep to sink the support pillars, or how to adjust the design
for local wind and traffic conditions. Just throwing the pixie dust at the
right river crossing won't do: How would the assemblers know where you
want the road to connect? Who makes the tradeoffs between depth of channel
for navigation and width of channel?
If you want a fully assembled car, the assembler might insist on a level
concret pad of sufficient size before starting. The problems here are more
complex internal design, rather than complex interactions with the world.
--- Chris Hibbert It is easy to turn an aquarium into fish soup, but firstname.lastname@example.org not so easy to turn fish soup back into an aquarium. -- Lech Walesa on reverting to a market economy. http://discuss.foresight.org/~hibbert/home.html
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