February 17, 2004



Running Out of Time


[ Welcome InstaPundit readers. Please feel free to have a sniff around. In addition to the entries linked below, there's more on nanotechnology here and here. Also, if you're interested in topics such as therapeutic cloning or understanding the human lifespan, you might want to check out the Longevity Meme's now blog, Fight Aging! ]


Reader Alan C. comments on the appropriateness of our Modzelewski Employment Watch (also here) with this quip:

Give the man a break. He found us $3.7 BILLION dollars.

Well, even giving him sole credit for this achievement — which is highly dubious — by his own words, Modzelewski wants to make sure that none of this money goes to the support of what he calls delusional fantasies.

Meanwhile, consider this report from Chris Phoenix, currently attending an IEEE Conference on Nanoscale Devices & System Integration in Miami:

So, when the "Nanhattan Project" finally gets started, it will have absolutely no problem finding not only dozens of nanoscale techniques, but people willing and able to combine them. These are not world-class researchers—they're grad students and postdocs. Well, maybe these days the grad students are the world-class researchers. No wonder the dinosaurs are scared.

And well they should be. I'm wondering if unemployment is the real danger, or whether we should re-title our series, making it the Modzelewski Relevancy Watch.

Chris Phoenix concludes:

Could we have diamondoid molecular manufacturing in five years? There's no doubt in my mind that we could. If we really tried, we might have it in three. Of course, that doesn't mean we will—but the important technologies are mature enough to be portable, so if we don't, someone else will... soon.

We're rapidly running out of time to prepare.

Five years away is a reasonable time frame to start thinking about business applications. The Nano Business Alliance in general, and Modzelewski in particular, are running out of time to get their thinking straight on this issue.

They can turn it around pretty quickly if they want to. Or they can stay true to form and have Modzelewski issue a statement declaring that the IEEE is nothing but a bunch of Star Trek fans and pot-smokers.


UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds reports on more delusional reporting about self-replicating nanosystems or some such nonsense.

Posted by Phil at February 17, 2004 06:03 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Yes! Everybody knows that the IEEE is a lot of space cadets. And they wear funny hats, too.

Posted by: Bud E. at February 17, 2004 11:31 AM

Jesus, this is getting scary. I mean, I've been expecting assemblers within my lifetime since the late 80s or so, but it was still always a hazy future. It's starting to look pretty imminent...

Posted by: jimbo at February 17, 2004 01:07 PM

I'm really not all that worried about timescales - it's happening fairly rapidly, yes, but people always overestimate the next 10 years of progress and underestimate the next 20.

See my comments on fast and slow (and why things are fast and slow at the same time) at Fight Aging:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/000012.php

In essence, no matter how fast the science goes, commercialization of that science is still stuck in the dark ages of business cycles, person to person interaction and funding. That hasn't become much faster of late.

Reason
Founder, Longevity Meme

Posted by: Reason at February 17, 2004 04:18 PM

Commercialization isn't the only way technology gets used. There's also militarization...

And there's lab-to-lab transfer. (Hey, did I just invent a new 21st-century acronym: L2L?) L2L means that as soon as someone invents something, other researchers can use it to invent the next thing. A bunch of incremental advances can add up pretty quickly to something revolutionary. And I'd argue that L2L has gotten a lot quicker in the past few decades. Counter-pressures on L2L are 1) increasing commercialization of IP; 2) increasing amounts of cool ideas to sort through.

Chris


Chris

Posted by: Chris Phoenix, CRN at February 25, 2004 11:11 PM

Commercialization isn't the only way technology gets used. There's also militarization...

And there's lab-to-lab transfer. (Hey, did I just invent a new 21st-century acronym: L2L?) L2L means that as soon as someone invents something, other researchers can use it to invent the next thing. A bunch of incremental advances can add up pretty quickly to something revolutionary. And I'd argue that L2L has gotten a lot quicker in the past few decades. Counter-pressures on L2L are 1) increasing commercialization of IP; 2) increasing amounts of cool ideas to sort through.

Chris


Chris

Posted by: Chris Phoenix, CRN at February 25, 2004 11:14 PM