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."
"Foresight has long recognized that there are two 'nanotechnologies:'; the Feynman/Drexler version and the nanoscale bulk version. However, Foresight's terminology to distinguish between these two different technologies has not really succeeded. The terms used ('molecular manufacturing', 'molecular nanotechnology', 'nanoscale bulk technology') are flawed by being long, broad, and inaccurate."
"More importantly, these terms have failed to be picked up by the general press and thus the general public. Hence the promises and perils of Feynman/Drexler nanotechnology are being ascribed to nanoscale nanotechnology, while the degree of realization of nanoscale nanotechnology is being ascribed to Feynman/Drexler nanotechnology."
"This is a problem, since the confusion may cause a boom/bust cycle in nanotech funding, or more importantly, cause people to underestimate the dangers of Feynman/Drexler nanotechnology. Allowing such confusion to continue would be inconsistent with Foresight's goal of 'guiding emerging technologies to improve the human condition.'"
"To resolve this confusion, I suggest that Feynman/Drexler nanotechnology be renamed to 'mechutechnology' and that the term 'nanotechnology' be assumed to refer to nanoscale bulk nanotechnology."
"This is obviously a fairly radical suggestion, perhaps likely to generate much heat. However, given the continuing confusion between the two nanotechnologies, it seems imperative that something be done about it ñ and this seems to me to be the best (though still somewhat painful) solution."