[extropy-chat] MARS: Because it is hard

Samantha Atkins samantha at objectent.com
Thu Apr 15 18:10:55 UTC 2004

On Apr 15, 2004, at 6:25 AM, Dan Clemmensen wrote:

> Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
>> Begs a very good question as to when they start yanking projects 
>> because
>> it looks like nanotech is really going to be feasible and the lifetime
>> of the project using standard tech is past the transition point so it
>> will just make no sense to try and do it before when it will be so
>> much easier after.
> If you really believe that nanotech will be available at time X, then 
> you should
> not start a project that has a payoff time later than X.
> Note that many people seem to think that X is 2020 or before. Most 
> research
> has a longer payoff time than 15.5 years.
> The problem with this is that you immediately get accused of abandoning
> progress when you apply this line of reasoning.

In projects that expect to accomplish something waiting for a 
theoretically possible but thus far nonexistent and untested technology 
leads to stagnation.   At the least it is prudent to do everything to 
prepare for use of X in parallel with everything to accomplish the goal 
even if X does not arrive in time.    Projects are done in terms of 
what exists and can be used within time/budget constraints.

> Logically, we should redirect all R&D into nanotech and computing. One 
> of
> these two will get to the SI, and the SI will achieve any other 
> research goal
> sooner than we can achieve it without the SI. We do need to define 
> nanotech
> and computing fairly broadly. On the other hand, we cannot really use 
> all that money
> effectively, so it may be just as well to let most of society pretend 
> that other
> research is relevant :-)

Why should we do any such mass redirection?  There are countless 
pressing needs that we can address more than "good enough" without 
nanotech.  A very large percentage are not even clearly helped much by 
MNT.  Why wait for this magic bullet?    Ah, the smiley.  So what do 
you really think?  :-)


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