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Dyson on opening up science

To end our week on a cheerful note, Freeman Dyson points to a positive trend affecting nanotechnology in an interview in TCS Daily:

I tell young people that the new technologies of computing, telecommunication, optical detection and microchemistry actually empower the amateur to do things that only professionals could do before.

Amateurs and small companies will have a growing role in the future of science. This will compensate for the increasing bureaucratization of the big organizations. Bright young people will start their own companies and do their own science.

Remember the original, positive meaning of amateur. —Christine

One Response to “Dyson on opening up science”

  1. Phillip Huggan Says:

    Right now I’m seeing the trend for telerobotics applications, primarily biomedical, being directed by professionals; the goal being to have a piece of medical robotics equipment near where a patient resides. This saves the cost of bringing a patient to a non-local hospital or a surgeon to a remote municipality.
    But in the future, the converse may be the path of least resistance to getting developing nations to produce cutting edge R+D applications for the rest of the world. If increased telecommunications penetration allows researchers/students in (accredited) settings remote from modern universities to direct robotics R+D infrastructures located within modern university/industry setting, the net effect is to fast-forward the course of technical progress in a developing nation by decades.

    I see two nanotechnology tie-ins here. 1st, polymer solar cells (from quantum dot innovations) will likely power the telecommunications technologies required to deliver correspondence education and remotely control telerobotics infrastructures, in off-grid locales.
    Secondly, most nanotechnology infrastructures are bulky, expensive and require a great deal of engineering expertise to maintain. It may be cheaper to teleoperate 5 nanotechnology clean rooms located in Boston than it would be to build one in Nairobi. I think it is MIT that is working on impressive correspondence education packages.
    All H+ enthusiasts that wanna live forever will need (I think) hundreds of millions if not billions of biomedical researchers to succeed. This may be the cheapest way to generate them…

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