From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (sentience@pobox.com)
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 01:03:38 MDT

Has anyone ever run any numbers on nucleonic femtotechnology? Or is
"femtotech" just a neat little word? I know I can't expect a _Femtosystems_ -
I just want to know whether there's any physical basis whatsoever for
believing that mechanical structures can be built from nucleons or other
non-atomic particles, capable of precision positioning on the order of a
nucleon radius and applying energies on the scale of nuclear binding forces -
I'm not enough of a physical scientist to know the figure in meters or
joules. Does the femtotech in Greg Egan's _Diaspora_ have a grounding in
actual calculations somewhere, or was he just making it up as he went along?

Nobody's going to build femtotechnology this side of the Singularity -
probably - but the Shock Level principle says that it might be useful to have
femtotech as a serious prospect. When femtotech is the loony frontier of
outright magic, people will have an easier time accepting nanotechnology.

Next, of course, comes what will undoubtedly be called chromotechnology.
I'd be really surprised to find anyone has ever run the numbers on that.
I mention it only because another technology has to absorb the mantle of
"totally ungrounded speculation" before anyone can run the numbers on

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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