Wired article on Drexler

JohnFaith writes "This article at Wired tells the story of how K.Eric Drexler as lost control of the direction of the ideas he created.

While the article does give details from people who say that molecular manufacturing can't be done, it does not explain enough about how assembly atom-by-atom is possible. The fact that living systems assemble things all the time (existence proof) does not make it into this article, and we don't hear about the things that are already being done with STMs and similar tools.

There is also mention of how the term "nanotechnology" is now used for a broad range of chemistry and materials research. It is true that the word has been overused, but "nanosystems" seems less vague to me. How do other people feel? Is there hope for getting attention and funds for "real" nanotechnology research in the near-term?" Ed. Note… It is clear that MNT is possible. An additional bibliography is useful. The question becomes when will we friggen achieve it. I doubt the perspective "lost control" is useful, as I doubt the author(s) of the article have even read Nanosystems. Eric is very careful to point out the complexity involved as well as possible evolutionary steps. Eric defined nanotechnology. I doubt that he had any visions of "controlling" it. At best I suspect he might exert some kind of spin control on it. I make this assertion based a subjective interpretation of having read almost everything that Eric has ever written.

With regard to nanotechnology itself — you have a chemical synthesis path, a biological (enzyme based) synthesis path, a nanolithographic based synthesis path and a mechanosynthesis path. It is time that we put the demon to bed. Nanotech is going to happen. It is a question that good engineers should sort out — what is the best path? what is the most efficient path? how soon can we make it happen?, etc. These are questions we give to airplane designers to keep planes in the air or automobile engine designers who keep engines from blowing up. Let us just let them do their jobs….

Nanotechnology development was *not* something that could be "controlled". It was really the destiny of the civilization of humans on Earth. Then it becomes a question of whether one manages that destiny well or poorly. Eric may have revealed the ideas and defined the entire field of nanotechnology. However it would be incorrect to believe that this would not have happened at some point. Eric could not reasonably be expected to manage nanotechnology. How does one manange technological and cultural transitions that impact millions of people? The answer is that you don't. And so any article which attempts to burden him with that is IMO poorly written.

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