Re: We're stuck with each other

From: Louis Newstrom (
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 19:15:15 MST

From: "Robert J. Bradbury" <>

> Sorry. MNT is Molecular Nanotechnology. When I speak of "robust"
> MNT, I'm usually refering to the kind that is capable of programmed
> replication (one can avoid the self-replication nightmares) and
> self-repair (internal recycling) as biological systems currently do.

Unlike other people, I don't expect that kind of technology for a few
centuries. Right now, the state of the art is to get a human sized robot to
walk on two legs without falling over.

> > Most people would also want an internet conneciton, and that would cost
> It doesn't have to. There are already situations in which groups
> are putting together everything from line-of-sight high bandwidth
> laser communications to distributed 3G wireless.

Great technology, but I don't see why you think it will be free.

> Remember is the *designs* that cost the money, not the materials
> in the MNT era.

Like I said, I don't expect that era within our life times.

> Open source, people who don't have to "work" for a living who can devote
> their full time to the project, philanthropists who are older for whom
> technology may not be advancing may not be advancing fast enough,
> wealth and cheaper technology, faster computers, etc. By the time we
> figure out how to do uploading, I don't expect there to be significant
> material barriers to making it available to anyone who wants it.

I see your points on the advance of technology. I don't agree that it will
be provided free for everyone. Look at Microsoft! When someone discovers
this great technology, they will patent it, stop anyone else from getting
it, and LICENSE it to the general public for a large fee.

> When PCs become as cheap as cell phones, I think you will see many
> more people using them.

When PC's are as cheap as cell phones, they will still be just as
unafordable to most of the world.

> Everyone will be able to afford 3 DNC because the doubling time for MNT
> is an hour (and thats conservative). Society as a whole gets richer
> based on the technology-base-growth-rate / population-growth-rate.
> Say technology sophistication is growing at a rate of 10%/yr (or becoming
> 10% cheaper per year) while population is growing at 5%/yr. Obviously
> society as a whole is getting richer. In fact as Kurzweil and others
> document, the growth rates for many technologies is *much* faster than
> 10%/yr. And that is still based on non-self-replicating systems or
> rapid-assembly-line matter compilers.

The same argument was made for "money". People predicted that after the
world got some billionaires money would be superfluous and they would
philanthropically pay to end world hunger. This hasn't happened.

No matter how fast the "doubling time", only the people rich enough to own
the first nanobots would control the newer nanobots. All the "doubling
time" does is to create more nanobots for those who already have them.

> Here is the thing to think long and hard about. We know nanotechnology
> exists. Every single person reading this has ~40 trillion nanoscale
> "biobots" with "foreign" genomes operating on or within their body.

I don't equate nanobots with viruses. What people usually mean by nanobots
(like your replicating machines building space ships) is simply beyond the
capabilities of viruses. To base nanobot metrics on viruses is unrealistic.

> The doubling time for many of those biobots is ~20 minutes.
> That means that *if* you can supply them with sufficient matter and
> energy, a single biobot can grow to the mass of the Earth in ~2 days.

Huh? I know my body mass isn't doubling every 20 minutes. What are you
refering to when you say "biobots" and "doubling time" already existing in
our bodies?

> The key thing to understand is that materials for biobots, C/H/O/N
> are free for the taking from the atmosphere (a little P/S & trace
> metals may be required but the costs are minimal). The other
> essential element is energy. That is free too if one has access
> to sufficient sunlight.

That sounds great. The big point you are missing is where are YOU going to
get your first biobot? The microscopic, infinitely programmable,
self-maintaining nanites you are talking about may not even be possible!
Definitely not free.

Everything you say makes sense, but only after someone already owns one of
these miraculous biobots.

> > It costs millions to put something into Earth orbit.
> Not if you have the designs. Someone commented at Extro4 I think
> that Eric Drexler had once designed a rocket-suit that consumed
> diamond & oxygen as a fuel and you ended up in orbit in a skin
> tight diamondoid space suit.

LOL! You're doing it again! You are protesting that these things are
"free" and then talk about burning diamonds for fuel and having a whole suit
made of diamonds! I don't even think Bill Gates can afford this "free"

> > I'd like to know where you get this "free" energy. I could use it now,
> > before I upload.
> I think land in Texas can be had for $200-$300/acre -- though you might
> have to buy it in large pieces. Its very underutilized since a
> majority of Texas is unprofitable from an agricultural perspective.
> The best they can do with it is use it for grazing cattle.

And how does this give me free energy?

> > If I could afford to put myself off of the earth, then yes, I wouldn't
> > to worry about what earth laws say. Unfortunately, I am not that
> > (yet).
> Ah but you will be -- *if* you can convince a bunch of your friends
> to live on a diet of yogurt produced in a solar pond on the back 40
> (probably the earliest application of food production using biobots)
> and you slave away day and night at producing the open source designs
> for the nanomachines that can produce your rocket-suit. Perhaps you
> can convince Doug or Spike to come help you work on it.

Of course. If I can design your miraculous nanomachines, I would be rich.
Of course, once I had such wondrous machines, I would be god-like and not
care about money. (Although I still would be out of luck when I publish my
"open source" and no-one GIVES me one of the nanobots.)

Louis Newstrom

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