Boeing VP Dreams of Nanotechnology

from the Poetry-in-action dept.

Senior Associate Paul Melnyk calls our attention to a forward-looking address ("Dream to Make Something Happen") delivered by David O. Swain, Senior VP of Engineering & Technology for The Boeing Company, and also president of Phantom Works, the research and development organization of the company. The talk was delivered last October at the ASM International Materials Solutions Conference.
"Nanoscale science and engineering most likely will produce the strategic technology breakthroughs of tomorrow," Swain said. "Our ability to work at the molecular level, atom by atom, to create something new, something we could manufacture from the 'bottom up,' opens up huge vistas . . . There are huge possibilities." Swain concluded his address with a "call for action." He said: "I believe in what poet Carl Sandburg wrote: 'Nothing happens unless you first dream.' We need to dream again. Dream about new formulas, new metals, new materials. Dream about nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanotechnology. Dream about the possibilities, the opportunities, and then make our dreams come true. Then, and only then, can we unlock exciting frontiers with our discoveries."

ASM is a society for professionals concerned with industry, technology and applications of metals and materials, and has over 40,000 members who are engineers, managers, scientists, researchers, teachers, students, marketers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers. The Institute for Molecular Manufacturing co-sponsored a special session dedicated to molecular nanotechnology at the same conference. Swain's address and the IMM-sponsored session helped provide an overview of molecular nanotechnology to a part of the materials community that has been largely insulated from progress in this area.

Anti-Technology Movement Targets Nanotechnology

from the The-gods-themselves-contend-in-vain dept.

An article on an emerging global anti-technology movement appears on the web site of Reason Magazine ("Rebels Against the Future: Witnessing the birth of the global anti-technology movement," 28 February 2001). Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey reports on the International Forum on Globalization's "Teach-In on Technology and Globalization," held in New York City in late February.

According to Bailey, "If it's new, they hate it. What they fear and loathe most is biotechnology, but now some are beginning to train their sights on nanotechnology as well."

After detailing the presentations of what he describes as "an all-star cast of technophobes and other rebels against the future, featuring proud self-declared luddites," Bailey concludes, "The hopeful future of humanity freed from disease, disability, hunger, ignorance, poverty, and inequity depends on beating back the forces of know-nothing reaction such as those assembled at this weekend's Teach-In. The struggle for the future begins now."

Nanization: a useful term for what's happening?

from the quicker-than-"miniaturization" dept.
Christer Eriksson writes "'Nanization' seems quite an appropriate, simple word to discuss the miniaturization of technology we are, and will, be experiencing. Yet, the word never seems to be used in discussions about nanotechnology. I found the word in an eighteen year old British dictionary (Chambers Dictionary 1983) which describes it as 'artificial dwarfing.' I haven't seen it in any recent dictionaries as of yet."

Nanotech for 6th graders: please comment

from the kids-get-the-concept-faster dept.
Miguel Aznar of the nonprofit KnowledgeContext requests the nanodot community to comment on this essay on nanotechnology written for 6th graders. The students will read this essay and then write a "presidential address" to help the U.S. public understand and evaluate it. KnowledgeContext provides curriculum to teachers of grades 5 to 12 that prepares young people for rapid technological change.

LA Weekly "disses" Tranhumanists

from the reactionary-media dept.
Martin Archer writes "Here's another myopic treatment of tranhumanists, from the LA Weekly, Jan 19-25, 2001. Say what you will about Natasha Vita More and Max More, but personally, I just don't understand the journalist's viewpoint: '…Perhaps one day we'll all be transhumans, or posthuman cyborgs, but since we're not cyborgs now, it's hard to get too worked up about it…' It's difficult bringing the subject of the impending technological life extension 'tsunami' even to close friends. How do you do it without coming across as a weirdo?" CP: Fortunately, with the web we can judge for ourselves, without intervening media bias: see and Extrodot.

Map of Transformational Technologies

from the you-can-get-there-from-here dept.
PatGratton writes "I've put together a map of transformational technologies and some of their consequences. If I'm missing an important technology or consequence, please let me know." This continues the discussion of the white papers project mentioned earlier.

(Click Read More… for notes on the diagram and the technologies mapped.)

Transformational Technologies Questions

from the chin-strap-for-your-thinking-cap dept.
PatGratton writes "As Chris Phoenix previously described, four Senior Associates got together and began to outline an approach that would take us to the next level of work in resolving the issues raised by transformational technologies.

As one of our first steps, we sat down and tried to list all of the major questions facing us. The result is two sets of questions: one addressing technology, politics and ultimate goals, and the other addressing Foresight Goals. "

(Click Read More… to continue.)

Salon article on "Techno-dystopia" ads

from the every-party-has-a-pooper dept.
SeanMorgan wrote to point out a Salon article on the Turning Point Project and their anti-technology ads in the New York Times .

"A mostly sympathetic [to Turning Point] article, but it does include some comments from Foresight Sr. Assoc. Eric Raymond.

They even have a problem with social software:

'Everyone should think different together,' quips the copy, suggesting that huge conglomerates rushing toward globalization are more likely to benefit from 'global computer networks' than individuals."

The Next Really Big Enormous Thing

from the a-singularity-is-coming dept.
Robin Hanson gave an informal talk titled "The Next Really Big Enormous Thing", which argues that there are reasons, based on historical models to expect that the pace of change may increase soon. He seems to be trying to convince economists and social scientists to take our concept of Singularity seriously, and to start doing active research into what the effects might be.

Early beneficial application of MNT: clean water

from the motherhood-apple-pie-and-pure-water dept.
Pat Delany writes "A problem ahead for nanotechnology? The possible backlash from two groups, one the growing number of people mistrustful of science and the changes it brings, and the other bureaucratic institutions that might balk at funding a technological revolution with the ability to unseat them from their position of power. A solution? Turn nano development toward an early and obviously beneficial goal: the desalinization and purification of water, allowing us to use our abundance of saltwater and polluted water for agriculture and consumption…We, the folks at, offer this idea for the nanotechnology community to consider, and would like to help jumpstart such an effort…" Read More for the full post.

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