Re: Submolecular nanotech [WAS: Goals]

Anders Sandberg (
24 May 1999 17:01:07 +0200

"O'Regan, Emlyn" <> writes:

> >From: Anders Sandberg[]
> >It is often easier to rely on finished products than having the
> >production system itself (only DIY people, survivalists and
> >programmers disagree :-).
> Doesn't that cover just about every member of this list?

Oh, it does :-) Didn't notice that when I wrote it.

> >The problem seems to be that it is impossible to test very complex
> >systems for all possible contingencies, and this will likely cause
> >trouble when designing ufog. How do you convince the customers it is
> >perfectly safe?
> >
> I don't think its going to be all that difficult to convince customers
> that these things are safe particularly - ufog sounds like the
> consumer's dream, and its incredible appeal as the ultimate in consumer
> durables must outstrip fear of its danger (even if that fear is well
> founded).

Just look at the fear that has been caused by more or less well founded worries about the pill (cancer), nuclear power (radioactive disasters), aspartame (just about any illness), electromagnetic fields etc. In many cases these worries have limited their introduction significantly. And ufog could really have some gory failure modes - imagine being trapped inside when all the foglets freeze up into a lattice, or if the foglets start to rub against fragile surfaces - a few scare stories, and customers might be less willing to trust it.

> Is ufog more dangerous than a car? Than having guns around the
> house? Than having cleaning products in your laundry?

Depends on how it is programmed. My guess is that versatility is often proportional to the danger (just look at programming), so a weak ufog would be less dangerous than a car (having active microscale structures in the air is likely already more potentially dangerous than cleaning products), while a powerful ufog could very well be a loaded gun.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y