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Foresight Update 23.36: Ultrafast computers based on nanoplasmonics - September 10, 2009

Discuss these news stories at http://foresight.org/nanodot and http://www.opensourcesensing.org/blog.

Top News of the Week

Nanoplasmonics

Recent advances in nanoplasmonics, h/t arXiv blog:

Plasmonic Laser Heralds New Generation of Computing
If you're into buzzwords, nanoplasmonics is one you ought to know about. Nanoplasmonics, we're told, is the next big thing—the field that will allow us to sense and manipulate the world on the smallest of scales.…

In this issue:

From Open Source Sensing:

Foreseeing Future Technologies - Join Foresight
Events
Contact Foresight

Proteins

If you were an alien from an advanced civilization who had been stranded on Earth, but had all your people's knowledge on a thumb drive, how would you go about creating nanotech and building up Earth's technology to the level you could rejoin your galactic civilization?

If you actually knew the details, probably one of the most direct pathways that's accessible by our current technology would be to build a whole set of custom proteins that would bootstrap the molecular machinery…

IEEE Spectrum: Boston Startup iWalk Lands Funding for Robotic Prosthetics

If you wonder how soon we will have walking robots, remember that the technology underlying the Segway was developed for a stair-climbing wheelchair…

Nanotechnology for chemical and biological defense: the book

Here at Foresight our main focus is on longer-term technologies such as molecular manufacturing, but we keep an eye on what's arriving along the nearer-term pathways as well. In 2007 I attended a workshop on "Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense" and the proceedings volume of that meeting, with the same name, is now available…

What Singularity?

There's an interesting piece up at the IEEE robotics blog, by Alfred Nordmann, with the subtitle "The story of the Singularity is sweeping, dramatic, simple—and wrong." He argues that far from accelerating, technological progress is slowing down…

ESP

Yesterday I took issue with Alfred Nordmann's IEEE post in which he claimed that technological progress was slowing down instead of accelerating. I claimed instead that it was being distorted by the needs of the next rungs of the Maslow hierarchy, and that a huge portion of society's energy was going into something that no one had predicted: giving the Eloi the illusion that they are doing something that matters. Just for fun, let's give this theory a name: ESP, for Eloi Save the Planet…

Monopoles

The blogosphere (and science news-cliposphere) is all agog aver the discovery of magnetic monopoles, from Nature to Slashdot. Nanowerk Physicsworld. What's happened is the publication of some papers and preprints about observation and measurement of monopoles in spin ices, particularly in the complex crystal structures of compounds such as Ho2Ti2O7 and Dy2Ti2O7 at cryogenic temperatures…

SENS4

SENS4 is going on in Cambridge, England.

The purpose of the SENS conference series, like all the SENS initiatives (such as the journal Rejuvenation Research), is to expedite the development of truly effective therapies to postpone and treat human aging by tackling it as an engineering problem: not seeking elusive and probably illusory magic bullets, but instead enumerating the accumulating molecular and cellular changes that eventually kill us and identifying ways to repair — to reverse — those changes, rather than merely to slow down their further accumulation. …

ESP redux

Last week I posted an essay in which I claimed that the Singularity could be said to be halfway here already because we had already set up a huge program that was more or less running the world (and that it was fast becoming a computer program). …

Oddly enough, widely regarded IT commentator Bruce Webster has just posted an essay pointing out the similarity between law and software…

—Nanodot posts by J. Storrs Hall and Christine Peterson

From Open Source Sensing:

Sensor scenarios for nanotech-enabled chemical & biological defense

A new book Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense, ed. Margaret Kosal (Springer, 2009), includes sensor scenarios for nanotech-based defense against chemical and biological attacks. As is usual with scenario planning, multiple versions are presented, in this case reaching out to the year 2030. Here's one from the "Radical Game Changers" scenario…

When to share the raw data & when not to

…For scientific purposes, sharing the raw data (in addition to any interesting conclusions) is the way to go. In sensing situations where there are privacy concerns … an open source design process might involve not sharing all the raw data…

—Open Source Sensing posts by Christine Peterson

Foreseeing Future Technologies

Advancements in technologies such as nanotech, robotics, and biotech are promising to make major differences in our lives in the not-too-distant future, as the Industrial Revolution did to the agrarian world — to do for the physical world what the computer and Internet have done to the world of information.

Since 1986, the Foresight Institute has been in the forefront of a worldwide community of visionaries who work to help shape these possibilities into a positive, beneficial reality. If you would like to help us understand the potential of these technologies, and influence their direction, please consider becoming a member of the Foresight community. With your support, Foresight will continue to educate the general public on these technologies and what they will mean to our society.

To join:
http://foresight.org/members/index.html

Events

The Singularity Summit 2009
Devoted to the better understanding of increasing intelligence and accelerating change
October 3, 2009
New York, NY USA

The Singularity Institute will host the Singularity Summit 2009, in New York October 3-4. The Summit is a gathering of thinkers to explore the rising impact of science and technology on society, and in particular to further the understanding of a controversial idea — the singularity scenario.

Converging Technologies for 21st Century Security
Organized by the Institute of Nanotechnology
November 25, 2009
The Royal College of Physicians, London, UK

Organised crime, terrorism, civil conflict, and natural disasters are sadly commonplace in global society and have developed increasingly complex dimensions. To counter such threats, civil security and emergency response teams are looking towards new technologies that offer more sensitive, rapid, and accurate detection methods; that provide the means to neutralise or effectively deal with the outcomes of such incidents; and that provide greater protection to personnel.

NanoManufacturing Conference & Exhibits
Looking to understand what nanotechnology means for you?
April 14, 2010 to April 15, 2010
Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa, Mesa AZ USA

Call for Speakers, Abstract deadline: October 7, 2009

This conference will highlight the current, near-term, and future applications of nanotechnology and how they are transforming the way we manufacture products. Peer networking, information sharing, and technology exchange among the world's nanomanufacturing leaders will be a key feature of the event.

Contact Foresight

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