Re: Near-Term Scenarios -- Nanotech

Dan Clemmensen (
Wed, 20 May 1998 21:31:23 -0400

GBurch1 wrote:
> A list of stuff ranked from "simple" to "complex"
> Real Simple:
> thread
Thread is a soft composite constructed from several different atomic types.
I rank it as complex, if made solely by nano. It's simpler if you add a
small but macro-scale thread spinner at the end of your nano-scale production
line, but by my rules (which I just made up) you then have to add the complexity
of the thread spinner.
> fabric
Made from thread. medium-complex. must add a macro scale loom. see above.
> rods
Real Simple. Yes.
> macro-scale diamond structural modules
> -- from diamond 2x4s to diamond screws and nuts
> Simple:
> solid, complex shapes
> -- furniture, building modules, hand tools, many household utensils,
> device casings
Yes, if you stick with diamondoid.
> Pretty Simple:
> micromachine components
> -- gears, pistons, etc.
> macromachine components
> -- gears, pistons, etc.
> Mildly Complex:
> simple machines
> -- electric motors, gear assemblies, lever complexes
OK, Mildly complex.
> Complex:
> common machines
> -- pumps, complete transmissions

Hmm, I'm not too sure about this one. Consider altering the designs to
simplify the parts and to use simple parts. then consider nano-scale
connector systems to replace the bolts and other fasteners.
> Moderately Complex
> multi-component devices
> -- disc drives, simple engines, simple chemical processors, digestible
> food
I put food in an entirely different category of complexity, much harder
than machinery, because it requires much more sophisticated chemistry.
> Damned Complex
> advanced machines
> -- "planes, trains and automobiles", pallatable food
> Hellishly Complex
> Machine systems
> -- robots, factories, appetizing food, people

Here, we disagree. I don't think an airplane is at a qualitatively
different level from a disc drive or a complete transmission. As
soon as you get past the level of a single solid part, you must
use macro-level assemblers of some sort. I put robots and factories
in the same category from the standpoint of building the hardware.

I should do a list of my own, but I'm too tired tonight.