Re: SCI and ECON Nanotech

Dr. Rich Artym (
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 04:24:45 +0100

In message <>, Lyle Burkhead writes:

> Therefore Strong Nanotechnology will not exist. By Strong Nanotech,
> I mean for example the scenario described by Rich Artym:

Well, in that case there's nothing to discuss. By your same reasoning
of course, biological nanotech doesn't exist either, since all those
little organisms that totally pervade the biosphere must have AI and
be directable by you to do anything useful, right? :-)

[I must say, I doubt if I've ever seen a funnier thought experiment than
the one in which you extrapolate from directors of corporations down to
nanomachines. Reasoning by analogy is known to be weak of course, but
that example turned it into an artform. :-)]

I don't know how you reached this idea that nanomachines need to be AIs,
but it seems to have no basis in reality as far as I can see. Today's
software packages are immensely more complicated than a basic assembler,
yet they do their job very well without being AIs. As written all over
the place, the first generation of programmable nanomachines is expected
to be controlled remotely by traditional computers, so the nanomachines
can be really dumb, ie. essentially just a nanoscale N/C machine.
Subsequent generations will get smarter of course, but "smart" is a
very relative concept; for the kind of assembly that most of us are
discussing, all that is needed is fairly primitive state machines for
sequencing and neural networks for recognition --- no AI needed.


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