Jazzmoose

Interesting Article on the Future of Nanotechnology

8 posts in this topic

Orwell foresaw it all, albeit not in exact detail. This is the complete loss of freedom. The simpleminded among us will label this as another crackpot conspiracy theory and will seek to fit its author with a tinfoil hat, oblivious to the terrible consequences of allowing this to progress.

If you're not doing anything wrong, why care who is watching? Care because this sort of thinking leads to forfeiting free will entirely.

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One of the really interesting things about people is their inventiveness in undoing everything that they perceive as being contrary to their own preferred lifestyle. As a result, no one has ever designed a system that someone can't get around. This will be no exception.

Just as there will be nano-robots watching, so there will also be nano-blankets which will foil the watchers by substituting something innocuous. And there will be war between the manufacturers of the competing systems; and between their respective clients. And things will go on, approximately the same.

Nothing changes.

MG

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I, for one, welcome our new tiny overlords. Welcome, rulers of humanity. I am your voluntary servant.

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I, for one, welcome our new tiny overlords. Welcome, rulers of humanity. I am your voluntary servant.

:g

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Interesting article. Thoughts:

1) It probably played up the nanotechnology angle a bit too much. What I mean is -- even if nanotech is set back by two decades for whatever reason, others will still be able to collect ever-growing amounts of information about us. They already do. (eg Google)

2) While the possibility of government spying on us is scary and relevant, the problems most people encounter in such a system will be much more banal. Stuff like employers and insurers and spouses snooping on them, that kind of thing.

3) In addition to the potential solutions/counter-measures the author mentioned, I think transparency is important. Each of us should be able to find out with minimum difficulty/cost what information others have about us. (example: free credit reports)

Guy

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This person hasn't done very good research. First of all, quantum computing, a field I worked in after abandoning string theory, is facing essentially the same enormous technical challenges today as when Feynman first conceived of the idea in the 80s. You have to completely decouple a multi-particle quantum system from its environment for long enough to run several iterations of the same computation - no small feat given that this means, among other things, operating as close to absolute zero as possible and and not allowing the system to heat as it computes (which besides being difficult is REALLY expensive, not least of all because it relies on liquid helium which is a rare and limited resource) . Secondly, even if quantum computing is achieved, only two useful algorithms are known to exist: one for factoring and one for searching (as in google-type searching). The factoring algorithm is a devastating threat to RSA, but quantum encryption (which isn't nearly as technically challenging and is unrelated to quantum computing) is already commercially available so that should be a moot point. The search algorithm allows you to run a computer search in the square root of the time that it takes on a classical computer. I don't see this as a threat to anyone's privacy. It is rather predictable that computer searches would get faster and more powerful, even in the absence of quantum computing.

I don't have much to say about nanorobots except that the only person I ever met who was working on such devices was trying to fabricate machines that would essentially chew through blockages in peoples' arteries.

I think Guy was on the money - there obviously WILL always be people looking for objectionable applications of technology - that is already happening. This is not a reason to fear or object to nanotech (which is such a wildly diverse field that I find it problematic speaking of it as one thing), anymore than it is a reason to outlaw the internet, for example.

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