Nanodevelopment [was Re: Calculating a personal long term good]

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 05:17:19 MDT

On Sun, 9 Apr 2000, Adrian Tymes wrote:

> I said:
> > The only
> > terrorist situation I see that makes any sense is an "irrational"
> > scenario where individuals are motiviated by beliefs and not by needs.
> Though there are plenty of those around. But is it easy to learn GNR
> when your mindset puts your beliefs ahead of rationality? Genetics
> alone insists that there is not an absolute difference between humans
> and other primates. Those who insist that Diety created humans from mud
> would reject that, and be unable to proceed.

Well, not entirely. I've known very bright rational people who still
profess belief in a Diety. That never stopped them from writing a
Ph.D. thesis, publishing papers, doing experiments, etc. However,
it may be true that "rational" beliefs in a Diety also serve as
a disincentive to commit those types of acts with GNR that would
produce horrific results (assuming no nanodefenses existed).

The real threats are those where the beliefs involve a fair degree
of emotional 'berserker' mentality where you produce a lot of synthetic
hatred and desires to destroy different "tribes".

> For those who know enough to take advantage of future tech, there is
> potential for boundless resources, given time. But at any specific date
> in the future, there will always be a finite number of people aware of
> the realities of nano, and a finite amount of time between now and then.

But there is a relatively long lead time up to nano (10's of years),
during which people will become aware of what it can do for them.

> Unlimited production does not mean immediately infinite supply, no
> matter how much we wish it were otherwise.

No, but once you have real "almost anything" boxes, you do get to the
"infinite supply" position for most human needs relatively quickly.
It is only a matter of days to give everyone alive an AA box. This
is obvious if you think about the doubling times. The mass doubling
times for AA boxes are of the order of hours. The mass doubling times
for humans are of the order of months to years. Its only when humans
can be copied with the ease of computer files that the balance of the
equation shifts back to the side where consumption may exceed production.

As I've pointed out previously, building things with large mass (houses,
yachts, etc.) will take months to years (unless you borrow replicators
from your friends), but in general unless you are satisfied with the
the generic, open source, 100 meter yacht, the design times will be
greater than the build times. It wasn't a lack of *resources* that
made the Gates House a ~2-3 years project. This will only change
if we get some really "intelligent" design software.


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