December 08, 2003

TOMORROW'S NEW YORK TIMES has a story on the Drexler / Smalley nanotechnology debate, but the story seems to treat the debate as being solely about nanobots, which I think is an overly narrow conception. You can have molecular manufacturing without nanobots, and you can have nanobots without them doing molecular manufacturing, but it's the molecular manufacturing that's the biggest deal.

In addition, there's not a lot of context here. Two key items are (1) the new legislation aiming a lot of fundng at nanotechnology on the strength of the capabilities that molecular manufacturing, not just better transistors or materials, can offer; and (2) the rather obvious efforts by the nanotech business people to try to avoid the safety debate by insisting that all the really spooky stuff is impossible, anyway.