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Luke_A_Somers comments on The map of nanotech global catastrophic risks - Less Wrong

1 Post author: turchin 01 March 2016 12:33PM

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Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 01 March 2016 07:12:41PM *  0 points [-]

It looks like a hypothetical nano-particles toxicity issue was raised to distract attention from more re- mote and serious risks of nanotech.

Based on what?

100 mkm size

100 um?

You also put gray goo at around 2040. That seems... odd.

Comment author: turchin 01 March 2016 08:35:02PM *  1 point [-]
  1. In the beginning of 21 century some concerns were raised about saefty of strong nanotech - Bill Joy, Freitas. In the same time US and Russia addopted national nanotechnology iniciatives in which original meaning of the word "nano" were replaced from nanorobotics to colloid solutions and fullerens. But a question of safety existed and in Russia was created a commission for estimation of safety of nanoprticles in 2011 - http://www.rg.ru/2011/10/12/nano.html I think that it is reflection of earlier concerns about nanosafety adapted to new meaning of the word "nano". The actual risk of nanoparticles seems small and easy preventable, but its elimination make help to create false feeling of safety. I also think that some strong commercial interests play role in replacing of original meaning of the word "nano", and could go in details about it if we start to discuss the fate of russian nanotechological initiative (Rosnano). In US the situation may be similar, but its history may need more research.
  2. Yes, um, will update the map.
  3. 2040 is medium of my probability distribution of strong nanotech creation, which could happen earlier or much later. The basis for this prediction is my view that nanotech may be rather simple if we combine DNA-origami and control over E.coli. Thus we can get living cell with ability to construct mechanical parts and self replicate. I am more sceptical about diamond mechanosynthesis by the way.
Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 02 March 2016 02:48:27PM *  0 points [-]

1) I think that the reason there were early fears about strong nanotech was a lack of appreciation at the time of how hard it is to work at that scale. Things stick to each other, either move extremely slowly or extremely quickly, and you can't see what you're doing. Feynman, say, had this completely off-the-wall suggestion for making stuff on the nano-scale based on scaling machinery down further and further. By the time I was reading it, it was laughable. Maybe it was laughable at the time, but it was certainly possible to think that.

3) DNA origami on nanoparticles, even combined with modified bacteria, doesn't seem like the kind of thing that's fundamentally capable of gray-goo-ing. Certainly not the kind of gray-goo-ing that we can't do anything about.

Comment author: turchin 02 March 2016 04:23:21PM 0 points [-]

1) I think that bionano field of combining living cells and DNA-origami would solve all this problems.

3) Grey goo is mostly obsolete risk, but nanoweapons still real. Something that gets from bio the ability to replicate in environment and from nano the ability to execute right program in right pace.