Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Gray Goo Who?

This just in:

    Eric Drexler, known as the father of nanotechnology, today (Wednesday, 9th June 2004) publishes a paper that admits that self-replicating machines are not vital for large-scale molecular manufacture, and that nanotechnology-based fabrication can be thoroughly non-biological and inherently safe. Talk of runaway self-replicating machines, or “grey goo”, which he first cautioned against in his book Engines of Creation in 1986, has spurred fears that have long hampered rational public debate about nanotechnology. Writing in the Institute of Physics journal Nanotechnology, Drexler slays the myth that molecular manufacture must use dangerous self-replicating machines.

    “Runaway replicators, while theoretically possible according to the laws of physics, cannot be built with today’s nanotechnology toolset,” says Dr. Drexler, founder of the Foresight Institute, in California, and Senior Research Fellow of the Molecular Engineering Research Institute (MERI). He continued: “Self-replicating machines aren't necessary for molecular nanotechnology, and aren’t part of current development plans.”

    ... Science fiction writers focused on this idea, and ‘grey goo’ became closely associated with nanotechnology, spreading a serious misconception about molecular manufacturing systems and diverting attention from more pressing concerns. This new paper shows why that focus is wrong.

    The authors explain why self-replication, contrary to previous understanding, is unnecessary for building an efficient and effective molecular manufacturing system. Instead of building lots of tiny, complex, free-floating robots to manufacture products, it will be more practical to use simple robot-arms in larger factories, like today’s assembly lines. A robot-arm pulled from a factory would be as inert as a light bulb pulled from its socket. And the factory as a whole would be no more mobile than a desktop printer, besides requiring a supply of purified raw materials to build anything. Even the process of developing the factories would not make anything remotely like a runaway replicator - the early machines would be tools, unable to operate by themselves.

More here

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Anonymous said...


I'm trying to find the research group responscible for a particular nano technology . It's extremly difficult search. I came across an article dated back in 2002 where things were well underway of the technology you and a couple of professor were proposing. I've got this technology and now I'm trying to backtrack to find out its source . I'm hoping this post will cause a buz so that someone will identify it in an ariticle or the actual researcher. If someone claims it as theirs, my search will be almost complete. Thank you Contact # 206-279-1876 Fran.

I've written a abtract descriping the capability of this nano technology. My goal is to ultimately find a serial number and mfg of this technology.

ABSTRACT: Neuro sensor receptor with COHLER like component. It has as an auditory component, an opical component. Once inplanted in the body ( non surgical) its location is crucial for the neuro sensor receptor . It is located near the brain stem. It would be located on the rear of the neck. At that locai it then can interact with the automatic nervous system, PNS. Primary Somatic Sensory Cortex. Primary Somtos Sensory Cortex controls the following in the body: swallowing, eyes, toes, knees, wrist,brow, lips, face, nose, thumb, fingers, hand, forearms, elbow, arm, head, neck, trunk, hip, genitals, and leg. The technology is handled remotely through a signal. The technology has a joystick type component that selects physically which area of the body by a remote operator to generate a series of chain reactions. Signals that is bounced off via satellite. When for example the small intestines through rapid messengers signals the brain that there is irritation and the irritation is prolonged. The body follows in an action that removes contents in the bowels. (Regardless if the bowels is empty). Another example to illusrate this further is that of hot pan of boiling water. If the hand touches the pot a series of rapid messenger is sent directly to the brain alerting the concious person to pull his hand back. The same reaction is true to the neuro sensor receptor technolgy , whatever part of the body that is has trauma the signal is carried to the brain and pain receptors let the concious mind know that trauma has been introduced to the body via the signal. The techology signal is weakened at greater distaces but due to the bouncing off the satellite, the auditory and optical component is intact. The optical component feeds the sigal back to a photorecept or plate converter to a screen for display

Howard Lovy said...

I don't know the answer, but I'd suggest everybody's favorite brain blogger, Zack Lynch. -- HL