We’ll end the week on an upbeat note: It’s good to see the American Associate for the Advancement of Science — AAAS, publisher of the journal Science — covering long-term nanotechnology prospects on their EurekAlert website. An updated essay by Eric Drexler looks at “Revolutionizing the Future of Technology“. Excerpts:
Why focus on productive nanosystems and the large-scale molecular manufacturing processes that they will enable? Because these developments will extend the range of what human beings can manufacture, and through this will change the foundations of physical technology…
In considering these goals and accomplishments, it is important to distinguish long-term promise from present-day capabilities. Developing advanced productive nanosystems will require a multi-stage process in which today’s laboratory capabilities are used to build molecular tools with broader capabilities. These tools, in turn, will be used in the next stage of development. Nanotechnology using productive nanosystems and their products will build on and extend the nanotechnologies of today, enabling a progressively broader range of applications.
The research that will support these developments is underway in laboratories in every industrial country. Unlike past revolutions in technology, the U.S., Europe and Asia are all making similar progress.
This can’t be overstressed to U.S. readers: the nanotechnology revolution is one in which the U.S. will not be as far out in front as has often been the case for previous advances. It can’t be guaranteed to be out in front at all — see yesterday’s post about Asia. —Christine