- Has anyone actually run a *Gasp* molecular simulation of these devices to study how or if they might work. The technology is there and the fact that none of the major proponents have performed these computational experiments is dismaying: it means that they either are not smart enough to perform the simulations or they have performed them and found the results proving their beliefs wrong.
I spent three years helping to lead the charge in bringing these disparate business efforts together and calling them a nanotech "industry." But, ultimately, this kind of business-boosting coverage falls short. Uncritical coverage is not only bad journalism, but it's also bad for the industry. The stories NOT being told are screaming on the sidelines. So, circumstances pushed me into returning to what I wanted to do from the beginning -- cover nanotechnology as a broader business, political, cultural and societal story, regardless of whether there's a five-year profit plan involved. For that matter, regardless of whether it fits neatly into the U.S. government's nano plans or those of the few star researchers who have the government's ear.
This is a long-winded way of answering the criticism, I know, but I thought it was important to spell out some of my base assumptions when I cover these stories. I'll sit back and enjoy the debate over what is physically possible and what is not. I'm not qualified to decide who is correct. My job is to draw attention to different points of view. Despite the negative PR generated by various interests against molecular manufacturing, I've spoken to enough, and varied, sources to realize that this vision of nanotech is being painted as physically impossible not because there is any proof that it is, but rather because it is politically and economically convenient for a few people to say that it is. And if you want to get in on all this government nanotech funding (other research projects might be up on the chopping block, but nanotech is certainly not), you'd better stay silent on "nanofactories" and forget about getting it funded, no matter what you really believe.
However, like I write in Tech Central Station, there is a nanotech "network-in-exile" working on this vision, including the molecular simulations that the reader describes. You simply haven't heard about them because they're doing it quietly, without fanfare, with very little government funding and with no media coverage.
Stay tuned to NanoBot. That situation is about to change.
Introduction to Online Journalism: Publishing News and Information