Re: Nanotech has gone mainstream

Bryan Moss (
Sun, 28 Mar 1999 14:39:06 +0100

Chris Fedeli wrote:

> Why would scientists turn their backs on a colleague
> who branches out into speculative public policy?

Simple, it's extremely difficult to stay in ones field and not branch out. Scientists reward those who do not give in to temptation and shun those who do. Science is not about making sweeping generalisations in fields you do not understand, unless you’re a physicist.

> From the standpoint of law and politics, Drexler's
> contribution has already had enormous impact, and if
> the world doesn't erupt in bloody hysteria when the
> first applications of nanotechnology are developed
> then we'll all have him to thank.

I'm not sure of Drexler's political policy now but I found EOC and UTF to be somewhat naive when concerned with economics and politics. The approach the Foresight Institute takes now is AFAIK purely educational but that is likely to change. I find this worrying; people are all to eager to come forward with the (grossly speculative) dangers of their research and this could lead to government intervention. I would personally rather be sorry than safe.

> I find it deplorable that some of Drexler's less
> talented fellows would be so niggardly as to deprive
> him of his well deserved acclaim in the only way that
> they can - by citing to Feynman instead of him.

Obviously it won't last; Drexler has done too much to advance the field to be ignored.

> Dissapointing as it is, this report just reinforces
> the notion that scientists always make the worst
> politicians.

What about engineers?