Re: Near-Term Scenarios -- Nanotech

GBurch1 (
Sun, 17 May 1998 19:56:42 EDT

In a message dated 98-05-17 15:47:32 EDT, Dane Clemmensen wrote:

> We appear to disagree on the boundary between "simple" and "complex".
> I place a desktop-sized supercomputer factory in the "simple" category.
> I can't tell for sure, but you seem to disagree? It would be fun to
> rank-order a set of parts or devices and see where each of us places
> the boundary. We could each place the rank-ordered devices on a timeline,
> except we both agree that a breakthrough is needed, more or less implying a
> bimodal distribution.

A list of stuff ranked from "simple" to "complex"

Real Simple:
macro-scale diamond structural modules
-- from diamond 2x4s to diamond screws and nuts

solid, complex shapes
-- furniture, building modules, hand tools, many household utensils,
device casings

Pretty Simple:
micromachine components
-- gears, pistons, etc.
macromachine components
-- gears, pistons, etc.

Mildly Complex:
simple machines
-- electric motors, gear assemblies, lever complexes

common machines
-- pumps, complete transmissions

Moderately Complex
multi-component devices
-- disc drives, simple engines, simple chemical processors, digestible

Damned Complex
advanced machines
-- "planes, trains and automobiles", pallatable food

Hellishly Complex
Machine systems
-- robots, factories, appetizing food, people

Greg Burch <>----<>
Attorney ::: Director, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
"Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must
be driven into practice with courageous impatience."