From: Phillip Huggan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Jun 28 2005 - 00:38:21 MDT
There are something like a couple of hundred
manufacturing processes such as drilling, casting,
vapor deposition, etc. that between them produce
everything we have. Nanotech will require a diversity
of end effectors to place different atoms, radicals,
or molecules in place.
What I see is a matter of scale, but not of
ability to make a diversity of products.
What I actually expect to occur in the coming decades
is nanotech being used where it is needed - for
making very small circuits, sensors, etc. that
require atomic precision. For large objects like
structural steel members, a rolling mill is likely
to be cheaper than placing each iron atom one at
Diamonds are currently used in CVD, drilling, and have physical properties useful for casting molds. Yes, the concept of a "universal assembler" may never be realized, it is dependant on how large a library of viable MM chemical reactions is found. Even diamondoid is suspect. But the latter idea has withstood a decade of intense scrutiny without any major showstoppers found. Diversity of products is not needed to for MM to remake most modern industries. A simple set of diamondoid building blocks a toddler could model with legos, is sufficient for most constructs. Diamondoid is incredibly versatile. I cannot think of a single contruction application where steel would be superior. MM feedstock price is the main non-political determinant of whether or not it is truly a singularity-ish technology. But carbon is plentiful, and if MM products can be used in the production of feedstock materials... I screwed up the scaling law in my previous post; 0.45nm products would be
produced 10000X faster than 45nm products, not a million (forgot to divide twice by 10 after multiplying the 1000s together). Relevant because the personnel who would otherwise be working in the chip-fab plant, could be on permanent vacation, or contributing to pop-culture and art, or gaining expertise to deal with the risks associated with post-MM technologies, and the problem of monitoring exo-earth populations for independant AGI/MM programmes. Even if metals are still needed in a world with MM, diamondoid technologies could facilitate mining the craters of the moon for quantities of ore which could never be recovered on earth (gravity hasn't forced heavy metals in meteorites to the core).
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