An interesting interview with Christine Peterson at the Foresight Institute. For those unfamiliar with Foresight, they were early proponents of nanotechnologies, but following Eric Drexler’s Nanosystems vision of small machines getting ever smaller and ignoring the laws of physics. As a result they got into all kinds of pointless fights with people from Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley to Dexter Johnson, aka The Nanoclast.
What’s interesting that the ‘molecular nanotechnology’ proponents seem to have flipped from ‘replacing all manufacturing within five years’ to ‘maybe in ten to fifty years.’
While I may not agree with their version of physical reality, I do have a lot of admiration for people like Christine, and the Foresight Institute. While they may have been a bunch of computer geeks with no idea of the technologies or challenges involved beyond what they had seen on Star Trek, they did help popularise the subject and bring it to a wider non scientific audience. The ambition to ‘totally heal the earth’ is a laudable one, whereas the assertion that nanotechnology will allow people “to eat meat and fish without killing animals” is more questionable from both technical and gastronomical viewpoints!