I will give a talk on nanotechnology at the In Nano Veritas conference of the THINK BIG - MEDEF Summer University, on August 28. I plan to focus on the mid / long term impact of nanotechnology and its migration from military and industrial megalabs to a grassroots social technology, as outlined in my article on Globalization and Open Source Nano Economy: “Some of the problems of today’s globalized world could be eliminated or reduced by developing operational worldwide molecular design and manufacturing capabilities. Instead of shipping physical objects, their detailed design specification in a “Molecular Description Language” (MDL) will be transmitted over a global data grid evolved from today’s Internet and then physically “printed” by “nano printers” at remote sites. This would allow communities wishing to remain independent to retain their autonomy”.
I think matter compiling will have a huge importance, not only in scientific and technological terms, but also and especially in social and political terms. I will discuss current related developments in future consumer technology, things happening here and now that will take us closer to the diamond age of matter compiling.
One of the best online sources of information on nanotechnology is the website of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. On the CRN blog CRN analysts have often written about today’s poor man’s primitive baby steps toward matter compiling. Positive Expectations, one of their recent professional-quality scenarios of a near-future world, is a roadmap: “2008: ¡Fabbers Libre! When the first “late beta” version of RepRap -the “replicating rapid-prototyper”- is released in early 2008, critics have a field day. It’s slow. It’s clumsy-looking. It can’t actually replicate itself without adding a few key commercial parts. But where critics see an ugly duckling, design students, DIY hackers, and open source enthusiasts see a swan-in-the-making. By the summer, dozens of novel fabber projects emerge (some forked from RepRap, but most based on original designs), and by the fall, some have actually produced devices that an adventurous home user could play with. Forward-looking strategists at mega-retailers and mass manufacturers feel a distinct chill run up their collective spine. The open fabber era had begun, and through the end of the decade, free and open source software hackers around the world turn their attention to hardware… By the time molecular manufacturing applications do mature at the nanoscale, Openfabs are a ubiquitous fact of global life. It’s not surprising, then, that the first atomically-precise devices are designed with Openfab-standard interconnects for integration into the existing open world standard for human-scale production infrastructures”.
Not Drexlerian replicant assemblers and molecular manufacturing yet, but just wait one or two decades.
Voire en Grand - Think Big
In Nano Veritas
August 28, 2008, 15h - 17.30
What if one of the solutions to see big lays in the infinitely small?
What is nanotechnology? Which areas, which applications? What costs?
Between science and fiction, where is our future?
Does Europe have the wish and the means to become a leader in this area?
In the quest for the Grail, are patents sufficient?
From the lab to the table, will nanotechnology invade the food industry?
What about cosmetics, computers, medicine, military?
Will nanotechnology wchange the economic rules?
Privilege of large enterprises or fertile ground for SMEs?
After the digital divide, the nanotechnology gap?
After the nuclear deterrence, the invention of nanotechnology deterrence?
Should we trivialize the use of nanotechnology? What about ethics?
How to manage the development of artificial intelligence?
Will synthetic brains ensure they survival of the human species?
Are we sorcerer’s apprentices?
Claude Birraux, deputy of Haute-Savoie, President of the Parliamentary Office for the evaluation of scientific and technological choices Jean-Frederic Clerc, director of CEA-DPSE Christian Colette, director of R & D of Arkéma Benedict Croguennec, project manager at AFNOR Alain Fontaine, director of the NEEL institute, director of research at CNRS Grenoble Alain Grimfeld, president of the National Consultative Ethics Committee Paul Jacquet, director general of INP France Paul Lannoye, co-founder of Grappe ASBL Jean-Claude Mialocq, researcher in molecular chemistry, CEA Giulio Prisco, director of metafuturing SL
Moderator: Jacques Hebert, journalist and communications consultant.