Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Other great nanotech (and related) blogs

I guess if I say "other great" nanotech blogs, the implication is that my blog is itself great, but many of these listed are much better than mine. The people doing them put in more work and more thought. Not all of these are relevant to long-term nanotech, but anyway here's the list.
  • Tom Moore's Machine Phase blog -- Tom is now working for Nanorex, and doing a lot of pretty, brilliant nanomachine design work.
  • Damian Allis's Somewhereville blog -- Damian is Nanorex's consulting quantum chemist, and a fascinating guy in general. He doesn't play a scientist on TV, he's an actual real scientist.
  • Gina "Nanogirl" Miller's blog needs no introduction for those who've been around nanotech discussions for a while
  • Blog of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
  • Howard Lovy's NanoBot blog
  • Foresight Institute's Nanodot blog
  • Rocky Rawstern's blog
  • A list of nanotech blogs
  • An explanatory website (not a blog per se) by one of the authors of "Nanotechnology for Dummies"
  • A blog about nanocrystals, though I'm not sure what differentiates a nanocrystal from any other crystal
  • The Singularity Institute is primarily about artificial intelligence rather than nanotechnology but there is a lot of common ground.
  • The IEEE has an automation blog about present-day industrial robots.
  • Another present-day robot blog, this one with more of a hobbyist spin.
  • Emeka Okafor's Timbuktu Chronicles blog is not about nanotechnology or robotics, it's about technologies that help and empower people in developing regions of the world. When not blogging, Okafor sometimes plays basketball, unless it's another guy with the same name.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Roadmap Report is published!

The report is now available in PDF format. If you are a Digg subscriber, PLEASE vote up the digg story about it so it reaches the front page. Publicizing the report is a step toward a rational and benign development policy for advanced nanotechnology. I have the privilege of knowing a few of the people who've been involved with the Roadmap project, and they are the kind of people you hope will be involved: very bright, and very ethical.

I haven't gotten far in reading the report yet myself. It's rather thick, in two sections of about 200 pages each. Don't be put off by that, as the language is quite accessible, even in the more technical second half.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Roadmap conference is coming up

A couple years ago, Foresight, Battelle, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and a few other organizations put together a project called the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems. The idea was to figure out the steps that would lead us to a world of safe and mature nanotechnology. I know some of the people involved in this effort. They've had meetings to which I've not been invited, which is appropriate because they have important work to do, and they don't want the distraction of answering questions from the idly curious.

Their work has percolated along for about two years (that I've been aware of, probably more time before that) and finally there will be a conference where they will tell the world what they've been up to. As luck would have it, I have a schedule conflict and will be unable to attend, but there will be a CDROM of the presentations and I hope to ask around and see if I can get a copy.

I have high hopes for the work these people have done. This is a well-organized effort by a lot of very smart people with a wide range of relevant expertise.

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology website discusses the societal risk of multiple competing nanotechnology development efforts:
The existence of multiple programs to develop molecular manufacturing greatly increases some of the risks listed above. Each program provides a separate opportunity for the technology to be stolen or otherwise released from restriction. Each nation with an independent program is potentially a separate player in a nanotech arms race. The reduced opportunity for control may make restrictions harder to enforce, but this may lead to greater efforts to impose harsher restrictions. Reduced control also makes it less likely that a non-disruptive economic solution can develop.
A unified effort like the Technology Roadmap initiative represents a safeguard against these very realistic concerns.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Aubrey de Grey's tech talk at Google

This is one of those brilliant things like Cory Doctorow's writing that gives you REAL HOPE that the future will be a good and happy place, and that you might have a chance of making it to that point. Aubrey de Grey has been studying gerontology (the science of ageing) at Cambridge University and he proposes that with some science and engineering smarts, we can make huge progress toward extended lifetimes in the time left to even old farts like me (not quite 50 yet).

As I think about the benefits that I personally would like to get from nanotechnology, I think life extension is a big thing. Of course we'll have ever more powerful computers and capable robots and flying cars and all those nifty toys, and they'll all be very inexpensive, but I really want a lot more time to enjoy everything. And as my parents get older, I'd love to be able to offer that to them as well, though even by de Grey's very optimistic estimates, they're too old to benefit much.