The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

article about Nanotechnology on rationalwiki
Rynn is the resident RL nanotech expert here, but to throw my 2c in on this:

The article (IMO) seems to fall into the same trap (or con game) that Scientific American did some years ago re nanotech: treat the idea of molecular nanotech and manufacturing with ridicule and contempt, make fun of Drexler - and then quietly include positive mention of things that are essentially what Drexler and Co. are talking about, but apparently its OK as long as we don't actually call it that.

In the case of SciAm, they tended to run this along the lines of 'someday we may use nanotech to produce tiny submarines which could clear out clogged arteries or do other amazing stuff' along with several paragraphs attacking Drexler's conceptions of nanotech, even though what they just got done talking up was in line (or close to) what he imagined and described.

In the wiki article here, we have various shots taken at molecular manufacturing, but then near the end we have this bit:

If nanomachines are built, they will work much more like the currently-known nanomachines — antibodies and proteins and so forth, restricted to catalysing only one family of reactions — and more complicated nanomachines will be closer to the size of biological cells.

Mechanical nanocomputers are theoretically possible, and research is steadily getting there. So far there's a 300nm electromechanical reed relay gate[16][17] and an inverter that runs at 500kHz.[18] The application is environments that would trash electronics, e.g. high temperatures. For comparison, current computers' electronic transistors are on the order of 22nm (as of 2012) and mainstream consumer computer chips run at between 1GHz and 4GHz or so.

That's not to say that this stuff isn't insanely cool. For instance, sending in a specially-designed killer molecule to cure cancer.[19] Holy crap!

It should be noted that there are examples of self replicating machines that dig into the ground and vacuum up the atmosphere. They sense the available resources of the surrounding territory and assemble useful products, even erecting mini solar panels to assist the process as well as producing the next generation of their initial seeding mechanism, all fully automated and largely unattended. They are called things like "tomato plants".

Which for all intents and purposes is describing early developments or potentials in line with what Drexler has described. So Drexler is full of crap, but let me now tell you how we're actually starting to move toward at least some of what he predicted and conflating that with a proof of concept of something much more capable (a plant) that indicates what might someday be achieved. Have your cake and eat it too, much?

By this logic heavier than air flight is impossible and Leonardo da Vinci was an idiot because he imagined flying based on flapping wings rather than the fixed wings and engines we actually ended up using.

My 2c worth,


Messages In This Thread
RE: article about Nanotechnology on rationalwiki - by Drashner1 - 05-06-2015, 03:35 AM

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)