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Archive for the 'Opinion' Category

New open-access nanotechnology journal from Beilstein

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 18th, 2010

Those of you with a background in organic chemistry will recognize the venerable name of Beilstein, originally a handbook of organic chemistry which evolved into a database, later combined with Gmelin inorganic data to form the Crossfire database. So the Beilstein brand is a powerful one in chemistry.  Nanowerk brings to our attention that Beilstein [...]

Vote and comment on IMM/Foresight statement to President’s Council

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 1st, 2010

The U.S. President’s Council on Advisors on Science and Technology requested public input on a number of manufacturing topics including “molecular-level, atomically precise production.” Foresight joined with our sister organization IMM to produce a statement on Atomically Precise Manufacturing, now posted on the OpenPCAST site, with public voting and commenting still continuing, so join in the [...]

“Oceans”: it’s what keeps us working toward nanotech

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 18th, 2010

For many of us, it’s our desire to preserve and restore the environment that brought us into the work of pursuing molecular nanotechnology in the first place.  How do we keep going over the decades that this goal is taking to accomplish? One way is to restore our enthusiasm for the goal through films such [...]

Nanotechnology and life extension: challenge & response

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 10th, 2010

The Mark, “Canada’s daily online forum for news, commentary, and debate,” has published a commentary that primarily takes a negative view of the use of nanotech (or any tech) for life extension: Extreme life extension raises other interesting, yet troubling questions. Significant life extension could have serious implications for individual identity; what if we change [...]

Open Science Summit 2010, July 29-31, w/ Foresight discount

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 5th, 2010

I’ll be speaking at the following event. If you miss the early registration rate, you can get 20% off regular registration with the discount code ‘Foresight’: Open Science Summit 2010: Updating the Social Contract for Science 2.0 July 29-31 International House Berkeley Ready for a rapid, radical reboot of the global innovation system for [...]

Debate: “How do we get there from here?” at SME nano conference

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 4th, 2010

Here we present a special report from Dave Conz of ASU on Josh Hall’s talk and subsequent panel discussion at the SME nanotech conference.  An excerpt: Technoscientific development is difficult to direct and nearly impossible to predict.  Because of this – not in spite of it – panel discussions like “How Do We Get There [...]

Lessons from history for technology designers

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 30th, 2010

Longtime Foresight friend Robert Grudin has a new book Design and Truth, just reviewed by the New York Times.  The review quotes Grudin on designers: “However grand their aspirations, they wait upon the will of people in power,” he writes. “And power, which can ratify the truth of good design, can, conversely, debase design into [...]

The Singularity is Near: the Movie

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 23rd, 2010

David Cassel brings our attention to an h+ review of the long-awaited film The Singularity is Near, based on the book by Ray Kurzweil: In documentary style, we have Ray discussing his ideas about the Singularity, with commentators variously supporting or refuting or worrying about his ideas. With Bill McKibben in the role of the [...]

Forrest Bennett explains memristors

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 7th, 2010

Longtime Foresight Senior Associate and senior research scientist at Genetic Programming, Inc. has done an interview on memristors over at blog FrogHeart for those of us trying to keep up on this challenging topic.  He concludes: So why are memristors useful? Sticking with our water analogy, I can make the pipe bigger or small depending [...]

IOP comments on Climategate

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on February 28th, 2010

The UK-based Institute of Physics (IOP) publishes, among other things, the journal Nanotechnology, one of the leading journals in the field, and has had special issues with papers from Foresight conferences gaoing back to the 90s. It was thus somewhat surprising, yet gratifying, to find them submitting quite a strongly-worded critique of practices in climatology [...]

Software responsibility as model for nanotech?

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 4th, 2010

Foresight ally Jeff Ubois has a new book out, published by Fondazione Giannino Bassetti, Conversations on Innovation, Power, and Responsibility.  Yours truly is quoted.  An excerpt: Peterson suggests that a closer look at the software developers might provide some clues about responsible cultures of innovation. “If you really want to know how to create a sense of responsibility, [...]

Feynman on Climategate

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 17th, 2009

We here at Foresight are not particularly interested in climate change — the effects, even if you take the IPCC projections as gospel, are dwarfed by the capability of nanotech (for good or ill).  But we are considerably more concerned about the way science is done, and whether it can reliably find the truth.   So [...]

Reynolds advocates faster nano/AI R&D for safety reasons

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 19th, 2009

In Popular Mechanics, longtime Foresight friend Prof. Glenn Reynolds looks at the future of nanotech and artificial intelligence, among other things looking at safety issues, including one call that potentially dangerous technologies be relinquished.  He takes a counterintuitive stance, which we’ve discussed here at Foresight over the years: But I wonder if that’s such a [...]

Congressman from Silicon Valley promotes nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on March 9th, 2009

“It is time we do what’s necessary to make NANO the next national priority.”–U.S. Rep. Michael Honda, D-San Jose


Posted by J. Storrs Hall on February 11th, 2009

Once upon a time, or so the story goes, there was a young man who was hauled up before the court on charges that he had killed his father and mother. He readily confessed to the crime, but nevertheless pled for clemency: after all, he pointed out, he was an orphan. Recently on his blog [...]

Civil nanotechnology: Open source sensing in Seed magazine

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 16th, 2009

From the February 2009 issue of the “science is culture” publication Seed magazine, not yet online: Hypothesis: Civil Nanotechnology Starting in 2009, nanotech-based sensing will enable a level of environmental monitoring that could help reduce pollution tremendously. Such devices could be of immense benefit to the environment, but unfortunately, without careful attention they will trigger [...]

National Citizen’s Technology Forum held on nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 9th, 2008

A while back Senior Associate Stuart Scott let us know that he had been selected to participate in a National Citizen’s Technology Forum process on nanotechnology, sponsored by Arizona State and University of North Carolina, among other schools. Presumably this is funded by the social science budget of the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative, via NSF. [...]

Nanodot readers invited to create/edit nano-scenarios

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 8th, 2008

We’ve received an invitation to participate in the Center for Nanotechnology in Society’s project to build and critique nanotechnology scenarios. Current topics to edit in the wiki, or you can add your own: * Barless Prisons * Bionic Eyes * Living with a Brain Chip * Disease Detector * Automated Sewer Surveillance * Engineered Tissues

Reynolds promotes nanotechnology for Earth Day

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 22nd, 2008

Foresight advisor Glenn Reynolds opines about nanotech in the NY Post for Earth Day: MIT’s Vladimir Bulovic calls nanotech a potentially “disruptive technology” in the solar-energy field, offering a complete shift from today’s fossil-fuel environment… Nanotech offers dramatic improvements on the side of energy consumption, too: As computing and other devices become smaller, they become [...]

Peter Thiel on technology and globalization

Posted by Christine Peterson on March 25th, 2008

Those of you who have heard Peter Thiel speak (at the Singularity Summits and a while back at Foresight’s Senior Associates Gathering) already know that he is quite a visionary. In Hoover’s Feb/Mar 2008 Policy Review, Peter presents The Optimistic Thought Experiment, his thoughts on globalization and technology. Some excerpts: For every account of globalization [...]