Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Impossible Dream?

Conversation snippet (After I had referred to this "Quixotic" quest for a molecular assembler, amid all the talk of investments, pants and profits.)

QuixoteEric Drexler

 "Regarding the quest for molecular machine systems able to do programmable mechanosynthesis, this isn't Quixotic (it isn't pursuing an illusion -- using this word says that the goal isn't real), and it isn't a quest that I've been pursuing. If my aim had been to promote MNT, I'd have focused more on implementation and less on describing long-term systems and their consequences -- and I'd have said far less about the downsides. At present, I think that the failure of the U.S. to focus on developing artificial molecular machine systems is a strategic error of the first rank, but that's another matter."

"I've been thinking a bit about the term "Quixotic," and could see why you would not want your quest to be characterized in that way, since it implies that it's an impossible dream. Just remember, though, the theories of Copernicus were mocked as impossible. Then Galileo, a contemporary of Cervantes, picked up where Copernicus left off and was not only told that it was impossible that the earth could revolve around the sun, but was forced to just shut up about his theories because, G-d forbid, if the heavens and the firmament were not exactly as the Holy Church said it was, why there would be mass confusion in the streets!"


P.S.: "Eppur si muove"

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