Questioning why molecular manufacturing is dismissed

Dismissing Drexler Is Bad for Business, a Betterhumans column by Simon Smith: "Ignoring the potential of molecular manufacturing won't make it go away, so why is the US nanotech industry painting its advocates as kooks?" Simon Smith continues:

Reading such over-the-top reactions, I can't help but think: Why bother? If there's truly nothing to molecular manufacturing, why respond at all? If the concept of molecular manufacturing is truly outrageous, if it truly can't happen, then why even acknowledge the "Drexlerians?"

I can only assume that Modzelewski and other nanotechnology business leaders do consider molecular manufacturing to be a possibility. In fact, NanoBusiness Alliance Advisory Board Member Jim Von Ehr, founder of leading nanotech company Zyvex, has publicly stated on several occasions his belief in the possibilities of molecular engineering. Indeed, Zyvex supports the work of nanomedicine guru Robert Freitas, early on hired molecular nanotechnology advocate Ralph Merkle and has repeatedly expressed interest in developing molecular assemblers.

It's likely that many nanotechnology business leaders consider, even if just as a remote possibility, that molecular nanotechnology can do everything its advocates claim?both good and bad. This and the fact that nobody has convincingly argued that molecular manufacturing is impossible makes dismissing it outright rather disingenuous, as well as a bad public relations strategy. It's hard not to think that nanotechnology business leaders are trying to avoid validating fears in an effort to avoid potentially stringent regulations.

A better approach, in my opinion, would be to work closely with groups such as Drexler's Foresight Institute and the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology to develop regulations and provisions that safeguard the future without unduly harming nanotechnology's development or business interests. After all, if such regulations are aimed only at molecular manufacturing, they'll have no impact if it proves to be impossible.

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