poly: Re: the economics of transition to nanotech

From: Damien Broderick <d.broderick@english.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Sun Jan 09 2000 - 13:44:51 PST

At 12:33 PM 8/01/00 -0800, Elizabeth wrote:

>John Clark said:
>> They'd pay for the same reason people already give hundreds of billions of
>> dollars to charities

>In the "greedy" eighties, charitable giving reached all-time highs.

These points appear to relate to the question why anyone would set up free
street corner food and clothing compilers (say) after the fashion of
DIAMOND AGE *give that* nanoassembly is already up and running. Actually,
the trajectory of likely development suggests to me that this might be a
brief transitional period before *everyone* owns an anything box. (Unless
that is centrally prohibited as far too risky to the health of the planet.)

I still wonder about the steps to early and effective nano. In brief, I
suspect something like Eric Raymond's gift economy theories (primarily
relevant to open source code) will generate a lot of the software needed to
compile many goods, given an industrially-initiated molecular assembler. (I
suggested this in print, or something like it, back around 1969, BTW.)
However, there's still doubt in some people's minds about the economics of
creating an industrial base for nano mints.

It's like saying in 1880 `We'll have these horseless carriages in the 24th
century and every family will be able to afford them, and they will first
be designed and built and distributed by wealthy landowning philanthropists
and hobbyists.' Hmm, for all I know, the key first steps to cars *were*
taken by just such people. Hmm. Even so, it's generally agreed that, unlike
tinkering a crystal set or even a crude motorized car in the garage,
*shitloads* of $$$ will be needed to make the first desktop matter
compiler. Then you've got one, and where's your future profit? Remember,
open source only works if your income stream comes from *service*.

Damien Broderick
Received on Sat Jan 8 18:44:12 2000

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