Re: nanotech-related investments

Eugene Leitl (
Mon, 2 Feb 1998 23:35:20 +0300 (MSK)

On Tue, 27 Jan 1998, Peter C. McCluskey wrote:

> (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

Not only a speedup, but a critical enabler. If
nanorobotics/mechanosynthetic tip road is blocked, we're left with the
solvated biopolymer bootstrap route.

> folding problem appears to be at least as hard as producing a crude
> molecular assembler. Zyvex appears to have a serious approach to building

This is comparing apples and oranges. Producing a crude molecular
assembler is a bootstrap tinkering thing, while (i)PFP is just (lots) of
crunch. Engineering bacteria and jarvesting proteins in (k)g quantities
from fermenters is not particularly hard.

> an assembler that doesn't involve complex organics, and Bruce Smith and

Apparently, they are investigating silicon clusters for building blocks.

> Markus Krummenacker have some well thought out plans about making an
> assembler from protein and dna that doesn't seem to require any software

Doesn't _seem_. I do not see how I can engineer enzymes, and design
good-fit complementary surfaces without a full-blown IPFP. Btw, granted
how fantastically inert inner buckytube faces are, putting an infinite
C=C=C=C-rope generating designer enzyme into a watery microenvironment on
the other side of the (fluorine-terminated) buckytube, mounted onto an SPM
cantilever in vacuo would seem to make a good hybride bootstrap for
mechanosynthetic nanolitho.

> advances. (A company with good protein modeling software would be a
> good investment regardless of nanotech).

Very true. Consider the HUGO/pharma fields.

> >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.

(Un)fortunately, there are not too many of the latter out there.


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