[extropy-chat] Nanoassembly Blueprints using Atomic Resolution MRI

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Fri Apr 6 05:19:33 UTC 2007

On Apr 4, 2007, at 4:28 PM, Keith Henson wrote:

> At 03:15 PM 4/4/2007 -0700, Jeffrey wrote:
> snip
>> The main "advantages" I was thinking of were a
>> possibly considerable size(space) and weight savings
>> for the space colony, plus a potentially much simpler
>> (probably cheaper) internal environment. For example,
>> if you could just rebuild a strawberry to eat, you
>> wouldn't require any specialized light sources, soil,
>> bacteria, nutrients, additional physical space, etc.
> The entire problem of feeding people in space was worked over in a  
> great
> deal of detail over 30 years ago.  I can't point you to an on-line  
> site,
> but if you can find a copy of the Space Manufacturing Conference  
> for 1975,
> "how to grow food" is spelled out in considerable detail with a  
> pretentious
> title on the paper.  Incidentally, in space you have all the light you
> want, and area isn't that hard to make either.

I have doubts about putting  massive numbers of normal body form  
human beings in space.  The technology required to do so changes the  
equations so much is becomes doubtful whether humans or something  
distinctly not today's kind of human would colonize space.    
Supporting a lot of bodies designed for earth conditions does not  
seem optimal.   It is certainly tremendously expensive.   It could be  
done employing telepresence and robotics to build a lot of the needed  
infrastructure and with beanstalks or something much cheaper to get  
out of the gravity well.  But that implies building out technology  
that may make homo saps irrelevant and seriously non-competitive in  

> You don't need soil or bacteria.  In a closed system, what comes  
> out of the
> sewage plant incinerator has everything except a bit of nitric acid  
> for a
> hydroponics solution that will keep the plants happy.  Now it might
> eventually be easy to rebuild strawberries to eat, but if you are  
> that far
> into nanotechnology, why not just run on electricity and simulate  
> eating a
> berry?

For that matter, why should you choose to keep a body configuration  
that requires such primitive forms of energization as digestion and  
elimination cycles?

>> Whatever the case turns out to be, the near future
>> will, without a doubt, be very exciting. :-)
> There is good exciting and bad exciting.  Unfortunately, the odds are
> stacked by the long evolutionary history of our species against the  
> future
> being good.

Yes.  It could be argued that any evolved species is likely to have  
evolved many counterproductive traits making its successful emergence  
into and beyond technological singularity extremely unlikely.   This  
is probably part of the answer to "Where are the aliens?"   They  
didn't make it past this stage.

> But if you want to do something to improve the odds of a bright  
> future, I
> have a number of suggestions.  Even so, the most likely number for  
> physical
> state humans 100 years from now is zero.

I for one would love to hear some of the suggestions.

- samantha

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