Patrick Wilken wrote:
> >There is a limitation to the visual acuity possible to a bug that is
> >literally the size of a gnat. I believe Brin suggested that it might
> >need to land and inflate a lens in order to get good visual images.
> >This could make such bugs a lot easier to detect (depending on how big
> >the lens is).
> I wonder if you could get around poor resolution of any one gnat by
> combining signals from array of them (a la radio astronomy). The downside
> is you'd probably need a swarm of them for the idea to work; still its a
> neat idea even if probably unworkable.
What you lot are forgetting is that the gnatbots and related omnisensorial devices won't be primarily used for spying but will be welcomed and used to conduct socio-economic transactions. The signals from such an advanced system will be used to sum things in a non-linear way and the processing will be primarily anticipatory by nature. This is the key design of a popular demarchy that will break the back of the need for privacy as embodied in the old Dickensian double entry bookkeeping systems so favored by capitalism and abused by crooks. Brin never got this far in his thinking but he agrees with me that this is a favored outcome. Globally exchange rates and currencies will have been replaced and underneath it all will be heard the ghostly garbled crunching and strangled sounds of arbitrageurs and other merchant bankers crying, "Yes, but but but..."
Imagine a gnatbot on the face of a moneylender forever... Ah, well