Re: The Singularity and Nanotechnology

Dr. Rich Artym (
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 03:44:24 +0100

In message <>, Robin Hanson writes:

> The current economy is *not* driven by raw physical production economy
> efficiencies. There are also costs to retool for new products, to
> invent products, to market them, etc.

Well, I've tried twice now, but you still evade the point completely.
It's not just the products that will become easy and cheap to produce,
but the blinking MEANS OF PRODUCTION too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- What "retooling", when the tool is configured by software? Indeed,
what "tooling", when the basic assembler costs nothing? (Ie. cost
of development divided by infinite replication gives zero. :-) The
same cost breakdown that applies to products under MNT applies also
to the in-situ "factories", except for very specialist products.

- What "inventing", when 99.9999999999% of everything that people use
or want is identical to that which their neighbours use or want?
Yes, there will be some inventing of course, but it'll represent
only a tiny fraction of post-nano activity, since the means of
production will be freely available everywhere instead of localised
only within industrial plants.

- What "marketing", when the whole costs/profit basis of current-day
economics is virtually shattered when dependence on commercial means
of production disappears almost entirely? Bespoke production will
of course remain, along with many other types of production such as
those requiring very odd raw materials or high energy input, but I
don't see any role at all for what today is the underpinning of the
economic system, namely food/clothing/chemical/energy/finance/housing/
vehicle/computer/software/etc production.

So far, Robin, you just haven't tackled the impact of MNT affecting also
the near-zero cost and universal availability of the *means of production*
once nanotech becomes public. Until you do, you will continue to get the
wrong answers from your forecasts, because if the means of production stay
in factories as today then obviously it's still "business as usual".


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