Re: nanotech-related investments
Tue, 27 Jan 1998 12:23:29 -0800 (PST)

> (James Rogers) writes:
> >There are numerous, profitable markets between here and singularity. Don't
> >invest in nanotech, invest in a company that creates protein modeling
> >software. It is unlikely that we will invent nanotech before we can
> >properly model complex organics. As much as we would like to ignore it,
> I see no reason to believe this. It is true that solving the protein
> folding problem would speed up nanotech development, but the protein
> folding problem appears to be at least as hard as producing a crude
> molecular assembler. Zyvex appears to have a serious approach to building
> an assembler that doesn't involve complex organics, and Bruce Smith and
> Markus Krummenacker have some well thought out plans about making an
> assembler from protein and dna that doesn't seem to require any software
> advances. (A company with good protein modeling software would be a
> good investment regardless of nanotech).

I was simply using protein modelling software as an example. My point was merely that there are better investments in technology (from the standpoint of probable ROI) than nanotech and similar technologies. If your interest is geared more toward investing in technology rather than investing your money, then nanotech is a good choice.

As far as nanotech is concerned, my personal bias is towards protein/wetware implementations. While non-organic approaches (like Zyvex) are much easier to engineer, I believe that complex organics are more likely to provide the first usable nanotech. The engineering is more difficult, but there is a huge database of prior art (i.e. nature) that can be borrowed from to solve many of the problems involved. Implementations like Zyvex's will be very important, but I think they are a lot further off, far enough so that investment in a specific company would be very uncertain.

> >there is a great deal of continuity in technological progress. If you want
> People who advocate nanotech without trying to understand the technical
> details tend to believe in unrealistic discontinuities. I don't think
> the technically minded nanotech enthusiasts make this mistake.

I agree, but in the context of *investment* the timeline is sufficiently long enough to make the prospects for individual companies uncertain. If the path is long enough, a great many companies will not be able to fund research from here to nanotech. My comment was intended to point out the economic issues of nanotech research at this stage of development.

-James Rogers