I'm finding it funny that I'm now being called a "Drexlerian" in many nanotech quarters. One critic thought it strange that I "do seem to be flip flopping around from nanobots to nanomaterials," despite the fact that both of those subjects are legitimate areas of debate in our little world.
So, anyway, let me quickly try to clarify a few things before they get out of hand.
I'm a journalist who goes where the interesting stories are. I'm one of the few reporters these days who actually tries to report accurately what Eric Drexler and others who believe in molecular manufacturing believe, rather than what their detractors say they believe. Yet I also turn around and report Foresight Institute criticism, as well.
I have a fairly rounded view of what nanotechnology is to many different people. Remember, I spent three years covering the government's and the business community's definition of "nanotech." In fact, I helped frame that vision in the stories I assigned, edited and wrote.
So, to repeat: I'm not a scientist, I'm a journalist. I can't really be a "Drexlerian" or any kind of "erian," because I'm not qualified. But I'm a pretty damn good journalist who can communicate the conflicting ideas. The fact that I can't be pinned down as a follower of any one school of thought or another actually works to my benefit, and hopefully to the benefit of the subjects I cover.
But because nanotech is such a young "industry," or science or way of thinking, I believe it's my responsibility to take on the additional role as an instigator of debate between the various schools of thought. Everybody might come together to slam me, but at least they're coming together in one spot and challenging each other to defend their positions. So, as your friendly neighborhood nanoconduit, I transmit opinions held by the true experts when it comes to scientific theory.
But, as an experienced reporter, I'm also savvy enough to know when I'm being sold a bunch of PR. So, I should be allowed my opinions on issues of politics and communication.
So, you can tell me that nanotech is one thing, and one thing only -- it's molecular manufacturing a la Drexler -- and I'll report accurately what you believe. That's fine with me. Cool. I can build a coverage around it and create debate.
Or, you can tell me that nanotech, in reality, is doing handstands on the beach while collecting sand with your toes, and I can say, "Yes, Sir" and accurately reflect your opinions.
But, then, of course, after everybody vents their outrage at me over how I could be so naive and stupid as to give those handstand nuts equal time on my site, they'll have to answer to their critics, as well, who say that nanotech is really the design of better catapults for dwarf-tossing ...
The beautiful thing about science and progress is that, eventually, the best ideas win.