Self-replicating nanofactories?

Over at Accelerating Future, Michael Anissimov has a post about self-replication in which he seems to find it remarkable that Foresight, among others, can view a world containing mechanical replicators with aplomb:

What is remarkable are those that seem to argue, like Ray Kurzweil, the Foresight Institute, and the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, that humanity is inherently capable of managing universal self-replicating constructors without a near-certain likelihood of disaster.

From this he jumps with very few intervening arguments (“there are terrorists out there”) to a conclusion that we need a benevolent world dictatorship (“singleton”), which might need to be a superhuman self-improving AI. This seems a wildly illogical leap, but surprisingly appears to be almost an article of faith in certain parts of the singularitarian community and Washington, DC. Let us examine the usually unstated assumptions behind it:

The bottom line is that consumer-level desktop nanofactories are really a non-problem. That’s not to say that national- (or even major university-) level research labs could not be a threat, but then they already are, on the biotech side, and the same kinds of safeguards we have there, and more, can be applied to leading-edge nanotech research.

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