Foresight Institute Logo
Image of nano

Archive for the 'Memetics' Category

Will nanobots alter how our brains function?

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 4th, 2002

from the So-what's-really-real dept.
Gina Miller writes "An audience at the Boston Fall Sensors Expo conference and exhibition was exposed in a keynote entitled 'The Rapidly Shrinking Sensor: Merging Bodies and Brain' to the idea that within a few decades nanodevices will fundamentally alter how our brains function. A September 26 EETimes article Inventor foresees implanted sensors aiding brain functions reports 'provocative predictions' by speech-recognition pioneer and Foresight Advisor Ray Kurzweil that 'by 2030 nanosensors could be injected into the human bloodstream, implanted microchips could amplify or supplant some brain functions, and individuals could share memories and inner experiences by 'beaming' them electronically to others'."

A Senator’s views on Nanotech R&D

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 27th, 2002

from the Getting-it-right? dept.
UPI published an interview with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a few days after his 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act passed Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approval and headed for the Senate floor (see Nanodot post Sept. 25, 2002). The interview is noteworthy for the perspective it gives on the major ideas motivating one major sponsor of government funding of nanotechnology development.

Senate Committee passes nanotech bill

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 26th, 2002

from the gathering-influential-supporters dept.
Legislation to advance nanotechnology research and development advanced toward full Senate consideration, unanimously passing the Senate Commerce Committee on Sept. 19: Senate Committee Passes Nanotech Bill. For earlier coverage of the recent Senate scrutiny of nanotechnology, see Nanodot post of Sept. 18, 2002, the written opening statements of hearing witnesses, and Nanotechnology bill introduced in Senate.

Educating future nanotechnologists

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 23rd, 2002

from the exploring-very-small-frontiers dept.
The International Journal of Engineering Education has published a Special issue on Nanotechnologies (Volume 18 number 5, September 2002). The Table of Contents is available on the Web. Michael Wald, Editor, writes that single copies are available at US$35+US$15 postage. Inquire at

Biomolecular nanotechnology meme spreads

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 18th, 2002

from the very-small-cyborgs dept.
An article in The Arizona Republic of Aug. 06, 2002 Molecule-size machines the wave of the future, ASU scientists say reports that researchers at Arizona State University "think the body's billions of tiny machines are a key to a new field that has excited scientists, government officials and investors around the world."

Report sparks technology utopia dialog

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 15th, 2002

from the staking-out-the-future dept.
What utopia can technology deliver?, a Tech Update article by Dan Farber, August 9, 2002 continues the dialog sparked by the NSF/DOC report Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance. While recommending the report as an important document for considering what future technologies will bring, Farber finds some of the report's suggestions "hard to buy."

Converging Technologies report garners more attention

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 7th, 2002

from the courageously-extended-necks dept.
pedro writes "I caught at /. a reference to a cnet article summarizing the report by the national science foundation and the department of commerce entitled 'Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology, and Cognitive Science'. It's an interesting read, and I hope it prepares me to the report itself (405 pages)."

Rename Feynman/Drexler Nanotech to Mechutech

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 5th, 2002

from the what's-in-a-name dept.
PatGratton writes with a "fairly radical suggestion" to distinguish molecular manufacturing/molecular nanotechnology, as proposed by Eric Drexler in Engines of Creation and Nanosystems, from other nanoscale science and technologies currently covered by the term nanotechnology. Following is his abstract of his argument. "The full argument is available on my web site: Nanotech vs. Nanotech (Part 1) is intended for a general audience, while Nanotech vs. Nanotech (Part 2) is intended for Feynman/Drexler nanotech advocates. Each document is about two pages."

Government report takes bold look at future

Posted by Jim Lewis on July 25th, 2002

from the give-credit-where-credit-is-due dept.
In his column Unfogging the Future on Tech Central station, Foresight Director Glenn H. Reynolds writes about a new government report entitled Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance (the subject of a Nanodot post July 13, 2002) as a salient example of something the government did right. Reynolds applauds the report's frank assessment that radical technological changes are coming, and its realization that delay in dealing with these changes may mean being overwhelmed by catastrophe.

Nanoscale tech vs. Mechanosynthesis

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 21st, 2002

from the terminology-drift dept.
Cryptologist Hal Finney points out on the Extropy mailing list that Foresight's views of molecular nanotechnology are still not generally accepted, despite all the funding of "nanotechnology". Read More for his post. Yet there are a few brave researchers who take self-replication via nanotechnology seriously in public; see the end of this interview with Harvard's Charles Lieber in The Deal: "There really are some fundamental scientific problems where you can end up creating self-replicating things and invading bodies, but I don't worry about that at this point." He's right not to worry that this might happen soon. However, since it is a possibility, some of us are putting time into thinking about it in advance — it's a tough problem to head off, and figuring it out will take some time.

Singularitarian FAQ

Posted by RichardTerra on November 19th, 2001

Gordon Worley writes "NanoDot readers may find it interesting that the Singularitarian FAQ is ready for public consumption. So, if you're a transhumanist (or not) and were wondering what the Singularity is all about, this is a good place to start."

Cyborgs, AI addressed calmly by Christian Science

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 2nd, 2001

from the getting-used-to-the-future dept.
In a surprisingly early adjustment, the Christian Science publication Sentinel (not online, see Jan 8, 2001 issue) includes two articles that reconcile the coming era of smart robots and human/machine blends with Christian Science beliefs. Both are responding to Ray Kurzweil's book The Age of Spiritual Machines. Instead of fighting the future, these articles thoughtfully integrate technology and religion. Read more for excerpts.

Homo Excelsior meme bank update

Posted by RichardTerra on April 2nd, 2001

from the Browsing-the-future dept.
pmoss sends a reminder of the expanding resources on the Homo Excelsior website, which he describes as "a central database of science and technology that is peer-reviewed and . . . is generally concerned with the memes related to nanotechnology, megascale engineering, cryopreservation, uploading and other associated sciences and technologies."

Boeing VP Dreams of Nanotechnology

Posted by RichardTerra on March 19th, 2001

from the Poetry-in-action dept.

Senior Associate Paul Melnyk calls our attention to a forward-looking address ("Dream to Make Something Happen") delivered by David O. Swain, Senior VP of Engineering & Technology for The Boeing Company, and also president of Phantom Works, the research and development organization of the company. The talk was delivered last October at the ASM International Materials Solutions Conference.
"Nanoscale science and engineering most likely will produce the strategic technology breakthroughs of tomorrow," Swain said. "Our ability to work at the molecular level, atom by atom, to create something new, something we could manufacture from the 'bottom up,' opens up huge vistas . . . There are huge possibilities." Swain concluded his address with a "call for action." He said: "I believe in what poet Carl Sandburg wrote: 'Nothing happens unless you first dream.' We need to dream again. Dream about new formulas, new metals, new materials. Dream about nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanotechnology. Dream about the possibilities, the opportunities, and then make our dreams come true. Then, and only then, can we unlock exciting frontiers with our discoveries."

ASM is a society for professionals concerned with industry, technology and applications of metals and materials, and has over 40,000 members who are engineers, managers, scientists, researchers, teachers, students, marketers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers. The Institute for Molecular Manufacturing co-sponsored a special session dedicated to molecular nanotechnology at the same conference. Swain's address and the IMM-sponsored session helped provide an overview of molecular nanotechnology to a part of the materials community that has been largely insulated from progress in this area.

Anti-Technology Movement Targets Nanotechnology

Posted by RichardTerra on March 19th, 2001

from the The-gods-themselves-contend-in-vain dept.

An article on an emerging global anti-technology movement appears on the web site of Reason Magazine ("Rebels Against the Future: Witnessing the birth of the global anti-technology movement," 28 February 2001). Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey reports on the International Forum on Globalization's "Teach-In on Technology and Globalization," held in New York City in late February.

According to Bailey, "If it's new, they hate it. What they fear and loathe most is biotechnology, but now some are beginning to train their sights on nanotechnology as well."

After detailing the presentations of what he describes as "an all-star cast of technophobes and other rebels against the future, featuring proud self-declared luddites," Bailey concludes, "The hopeful future of humanity freed from disease, disability, hunger, ignorance, poverty, and inequity depends on beating back the forces of know-nothing reaction such as those assembled at this weekend's Teach-In. The struggle for the future begins now."

Nanization: a useful term for what’s happening?

Posted by Christine Peterson on March 1st, 2001

from the quicker-than-"miniaturization" dept.
Christer Eriksson writes "'Nanization' seems quite an appropriate, simple word to discuss the miniaturization of technology we are, and will, be experiencing. Yet, the word never seems to be used in discussions about nanotechnology. I found the word in an eighteen year old British dictionary (Chambers Dictionary 1983) which describes it as 'artificial dwarfing.' I haven't seen it in any recent dictionaries as of yet."

Nanotech for 6th graders: please comment

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 9th, 2001

from the kids-get-the-concept-faster dept.
Miguel Aznar of the nonprofit KnowledgeContext requests the nanodot community to comment on this essay on nanotechnology written for 6th graders. The students will read this essay and then write a "presidential address" to help the U.S. public understand and evaluate it. KnowledgeContext provides curriculum to teachers of grades 5 to 12 that prepares young people for rapid technological change.

LA Weekly “disses” Tranhumanists

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 23rd, 2001

from the reactionary-media dept.
Martin Archer writes "Here's another myopic treatment of tranhumanists, from the LA Weekly, Jan 19-25, 2001. Say what you will about Natasha Vita More and Max More, but personally, I just don't understand the journalist's viewpoint: '…Perhaps one day we'll all be transhumans, or posthuman cyborgs, but since we're not cyborgs now, it's hard to get too worked up about it…' It's difficult bringing the subject of the impending technological life extension 'tsunami' even to close friends. How do you do it without coming across as a weirdo?" CP: Fortunately, with the web we can judge for ourselves, without intervening media bias: see and Extrodot.

Map of Transformational Technologies

Posted by DaveKrieger on September 29th, 2000

from the you-can-get-there-from-here dept.
PatGratton writes "I've put together a map of transformational technologies and some of their consequences. If I'm missing an important technology or consequence, please let me know." This continues the discussion of the white papers project mentioned earlier.

(Click Read More… for notes on the diagram and the technologies mapped.)

Transformational Technologies Questions

Posted by DaveKrieger on September 27th, 2000

from the chin-strap-for-your-thinking-cap dept.
PatGratton writes "As Chris Phoenix previously described, four Senior Associates got together and began to outline an approach that would take us to the next level of work in resolving the issues raised by transformational technologies.

As one of our first steps, we sat down and tried to list all of the major questions facing us. The result is two sets of questions: one addressing technology, politics and ultimate goals, and the other addressing Foresight Goals. "

(Click Read More… to continue.)