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Christine Peterson on current state and future potential of nanotechnology

Foresight Co-Founder and Past President: Christine L. Peterson was interviewed in the magazine “Future by Semcon“, published by Semcon, “a global technology company active in the areas of engineering services and product information.” The four-page article “Infinite nanotech possibilities” begins on page 34 of the current issue, which is available online. (The issue is presented as it appears in print, so in the “Browse the publication” box click on the “Table of contents”, then the article title, and then the “Go to page” button.) The interview presents a very succinct and easy overview of the current state and future potential of nanotechnology. Christine focuses on the potential of advanced nanotechnology to eliminate chemical pollution through complete control of atomic trajectories during the manufacturing process. She summarizes the progress of nanotechnology as near the end of the first stage of development, the use of nanostructured materials in a variety of applications, and the beginning of the second, the construction of nanodevices and more advanced products. The latter include medical applications, like (much) better detection and treatment of cancer. As Foresight members and Nanodot readers are well aware, however, the real excitement will come when these first two evolutionary stages give way to the third, truly revolutionary stage, the development of advanced nanomachinery for atomically precise manufacturing:

I think in the longer term it will be the way we make our products. It will mean that they incorporate computation, they incorporate the ability to change their shape, they are perhaps multipurpose products. At some point it starts to sound like science fiction, and there is a reason for that. When you look ahead two or three decades, if what you see at that stage does not look like science fiction, then you’re not trying, you’re not thinking ambitiously enough. …

The interview ends with two interesting questions. (1) When can we expect advanced nanomachinery to be commercialized? After acknowledging the range from optimistic to pessimistic predictions: “… let’s say that in 25 years maybe we will see some really dramatic stuff happening.” (2) Will any technologies not be affected in some way by advanced nanotechnology? “… I personally don’t see a technology area that will not be impacted by nanotechnology.” Do these two answers seem on target?

13 Responses to “Christine Peterson on current state and future potential of nanotechnology”

  1. flashgordon Says:

    bueller . . . bueller . . . ?

  2. Mark Plus Says:

    Uh, guys. Look at the year on next month’s calendar. I remember when the year 2012 seemed like some far-off, mysterious future time. We live in “the future potential” of:

    ’1. Manned space exploration

    2. Space colonization

    3. Commercial fusion power

    4. Artificial intelligence

    5. “Life extension” and “anti-aging” (yeah, right)

    6. And not to leave out, **Nanotechnology**

    Instead these technological marvels have all turned into mirages or ashes.

  3. flashgordon Says:

    Manned Space exploration and colonization is starting to happen(especially with all the carbon nanotube composite technologies made recently by Zyvex – see their pirate fighting boat).

    There’s been ton’s of great fusion power; i don’t know about calling it commercial; certainly, it will be government powered.

    Artificial intelligence, I’ve never been a big fan of the whole turing machine thing(if it sounds like intelligence, it must be and all that uploading yourself into a nano-crystal). It all depends on your definition of A.I. A.I. when finaly arrived at will be a real doozy; i mean it’s going to have a lot of people thinking about themselves – what’s right/what’s wrong and maybe finally questioning society.

    Life extension; it’s already here; work out! I do! I’m famous in my corner of the universe for it!

    Nanotechnology? It’s been here since chemistry of the 1800s at least. As for Drexlerian(Feynman) nanotech, and it’s turning over civilization, well, seems to me that A.I. can do the same. On the other hand, you’re probably going to need nanotech to make true a.i. happen. Well, maybe a certain amount of A.I. can have some similar affects to doing all the work for humans, and solving all their medical problems and so on.

    These technologies have not turned into mirages. I agree with a Forrester guy I think(I forget his first name; it’s been awhile) who in a early nanotech documentary said, “in some sense, we’re already there.”

  4. Mark Plus Says:

    If an alleged technological breakthrough you want to see always seems to lie about 20 years in the future, no matter how many decades have elapsed, then most likely you’ve wasted your time chasing after a mirage. The Stagnationists like Tyler Cowen, Peter Thiel and Neal Stephenson have a defensible point of view about the nonarrival of the sort of future we thought we would have in 2012.

  5. flashgordon Says:

    Hello Mark Plus,

    The fact that we don’t have true a.i.(we have some a.i.; just not r2/d2 or anything like that . . . yet) or Drexlerian nanotech is different than what your imagining. For hundreds of years from the late middle ages(after the Arab spain translations of Classical Greek learning was spread around Europe before what’s conventionaly considered the Renaissance period) up to the 1800s, people tried to make perpetual motion machines. Eventually, thermodynamics disproved perpetual motion machines. The fact that we don’t have a.i. and nanotech is different. We know there’s something called intelligence; we just don’t have a good definition of it yet. We’re doing nanotech right now, and as I’ve remarked already, we’ve been doing nanotech since the early 1800s scientifically.

  6. flashgordon Says:

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-12-year-old-puzzle-superstring-theory-supercomputer.html

    This is just the latest decades old problem solved. You might remember Fermat’s Last Theorem and the Poincaire Conjecture in mathematics that took hundreds of years. I recall some other number theory diophantine analyses only solved recently(a couple of years ago). That problem I recall went back to Arab Spain days.

  7. Instapundit » Blog Archive » CHRIS PETERSON ON the current state and future potential of nanotechnology…. Says:

    [...] CHRIS PETERSON ON the current state and future potential of nanotechnology. [...]

  8. M. Report Says:

    We do not see the predicted advances because the TPTB do everything in their power to keep
    us ‘stagnating’ in the status quo, _with_them_in_charge_; Their failures are our progress.
    They believe in the pyramid theory of power; Once one gets to the top, overturning the pyramid
    is guaranteed to put those on top back on the bottom.

  9. PacRim Jim Says:

    Want to participate in space exploration?
    Learn Mandarin or stop voting for spend-and-tax Democrats.

  10. James Gentile Says:

    Mark Plus has fallen for the common fallacy of “if it’s not available in walmart right this second it’s impossible.” There is no reason to believe and you have given no further evidence of (including your silly and pointless “look at the year of next month’s calendar”) these things not happening and perhaps soon. My theory is that A.I. will solve all of these problems, and we will have A.I. shortly after we have supercomputers capable of matching the human brain in computations per second, which will be in the next year or so. Personally I think 2012 and 2013 are going to be real exciting regarding these and other technologies, so fasten your seat belt.

  11. Bruce Hamilton Says:

    Today we have systems in widespread production doing face recognition, handwriting recognition, voice recognition, and speech synthesis, which would have been considered difficult AI research projects forty years ago. And household robotics are coming on fast… Who cares if we have “real” AI, if it passes a Turing test, etc. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from …” AI?

  12. Judith Light Feather Says:

    Take a look at the project created by Peter Pesti at Georgia Tech College of Computing. This is the initial release of the “Detailed Roadmap of the 21st Century” compilation, a year by year bullet point list of notable advances expected to happen in the 21st century, from 2006 onwards. Karsten Staack made the following video using his selection of the predictions from the research:
    http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~pesti/roadmap/

  13. Nerd Says:

    Thanks to nanotechnology we have microchips, flash memory and CPUs smaller than finger nail. I’m writing this comment using smartphone, 100 times more powerfull than my first desktop computer back in 90s. So, it’s actually going on right now.

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