Re: the economics of transition to nanotech

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Fri Jan 07 2000 - 19:57:24 MST

On Fri, 7 Jan 2000, Dan Fabulich wrote:

> Last on the
> list is probably organizations like Zyvex, for the very reasons you
> mentioned: who's going to invest in a company that may eventually make
> investment irrelevant?

I'll be very blunt about this. I and any number of other entrepreneurs
would certainly invest in companies like Zyvex for a number of reasons.
We will start with the club of the super-rich (with whom I've had
some experience)... In these realms, it isn't whether you make money
but whether you get "bragging rights" or whether your trounce the
opposition. Being "right" about nanotech will be a very unique
position indeed. Second, you have the techies with more money than
they know how to spend (witness Internet stocks & open source)...
These people will invest simply because its *way cool*. Third
you have the average "aware" investor who knows that while patents
are good, market inertia is better. You show me a company like
Zyvex with a one-year to assembler time frame and a marketing
department like Coca-cola's and my wallet is open. In the times
of the singularity, there are really big payoffs for whomever gets
there first.

Now IBM certainly has more resources than Zyvex, but Zyvex is much
more focused than IBM. In my experience, necessity is the mother
of invention. The stock options for the Zyvex employees are potentially
worth a lot more than the stock options of the IBM teams.

Finally, I would strongly disagree with the perspective that once
we have a nanoassembler, the nanosantas descend on our door steps.
I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the limiting factors
are the *designs*. If I had a nanoassembler tomorrow it wouldn't
make my life any better because I haven't got a damn thing to build
with it.

Go do the combinatorics of designing billion-to-trillion atom machines.
We aren't even close to having the computer power to predict the
things we could build will operate as designed. We do however
have a pretty clear path to getting this power.

Having a nanoassembler is nice. Having an AI nanomachine design
program is much, much more valuable.


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