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Current Results of Our Research

These pages, marked with GREEN headings, are published for comment and criticism. These are not our final findings; some of these opinions will probably change.   LOG OF UPDATES 

CRN Research: Overview of Current Findings   

bulletTimeline for Molecular Manufacturing   
bulletProducts of Molecular Manufacturing
bulletBenefits of Molecular Manufacturing
bulletDangers of Molecular Manufacturing  
bulletNo Simple Solutions
bulletAdministration Options
bulletThe Need for Early Development
bulletThe Need for International Development
bulletThirty Essential Nanotechnology Studies
bulletStudy #25     YOU ARE HERE

Thirty Essential Nanotechnology Studies - #25

Overview of all studies: Because of the largely unexpected transformational power of molecular manufacturing, it is urgent to understand the issues raised. To date, there has not been anything approaching an adequate study of these issues. CRN's recommended series of thirty essential studies is organized into five sections, covering fundamental theory, possible technological capabilities, bootstrapping potential, product capabilities, and policy questions. Several preliminary conclusions are stated, and because our understanding points to a crisis, a parallel process of conducting the studies is urged.

CRN is actively looking for researchers interested in performing or assisting with this work. Please contact CRN Research Director Chris Phoenix if you would like more information or if you have comments on the proposed studies.

Study #25 What effect could this have on civil rights and liberties?
  Study the extent to which advanced technologies will allow violation or protection of civil rights.
Subquestion What effect will new surveillance capabilities have on privacy (used by government or privately)?
Preliminary answer Extremely cheap manufacture of tiny integrated sensor/network/self-positioning packages, as well as sufficient computer power to store and integrate the information, could completely destroy privacy, unless strenuous decontamination efforts are used.
Subquestion What effects will new surveillance capabilities and/or weapons have on governments and other power wielders?
Preliminary answer An unaided human would be completely defenseless against even primitive versions of a sensor web and telepresence robotics.
Subquestion What effects could new medical technologies have on personal autonomy and sanctity of thought?
Preliminary answer Implanted chemical monitors could indicate emotional state. Implanted dispensers could manipulate it. We don't know how feasible or difficult it would be to read thoughts from brain electrode arrays, but we can already read intentions to move muscles (in monkeys).
Subquestion To what extent will abuses and crimes increase demand for security and control?
Preliminary answer This is far too much power to allow criminals to have. It would send us back to a "state of nature" where no one is safe from anyone else without constant vigilance. For comparison, consider the vulnerability of most home computers to worms and viruses. Compare with the effects of 9/11 on public acceptance of government monitoring (PATRIOT Act, etc.).
Subquestion To what extent will new capabilities increase demand for autonomy?
Preliminary answer It will be much easier to live 'off grid', perhaps even off earth. There will be strong demand for health improvement, which leads naturally to human augmentation.
Subquestion To what extent can manufacturing breakthroughs alleviate poverty and misery?
Preliminary answer This question is important because poverty and misery are breeding grounds for instability and terrorism, and extreme poverty is a human rights violation according to the UN Declaration. It should be possible to eradicate poverty and misery worldwide with very little effort or cost.
Conclusion Molecular manufacturing technology will force some very hard choices about civil rights. A nano-enabled group that does not consider human rights to be of fundamental importance will be able to violate them utterly. Even when human rights are respected, our concept of them may have to evolve to deal with new and pervasive technological capabilities.
Other studies 1. Is mechanically guided chemistry a viable basis for a manufacturing technology?
2. To what extent is molecular manufacturing counterintuitive and underappreciated in a way that causes underestimation of its importance?
What is the performance and potential of diamondoid machine-phase chemical manufacturing and products?
4. What is the performance and potential of biological programmable manufacturing and products?
5. What is the performance and potential of nucleic acid manufacturing and products?
6. What other chemistries and options should be studied?
What applicable sensing, manipulation, and fabrication tools exist?
8. What will be required to develop diamondoid machine-phase chemical manufacturing and products?
9. What will be required to develop biological programmable manufacturing and products?
10. What will be required to develop nucleic acid manufacturing and products?
11. How rapidly will the cost of development decrease?
12. How could an effective development program be structured?
What is the probable capability of the manufacturing system?
14. How capable will the products be?
15. What will the products cost?
16. How rapidly could products be designed?
Which of today's products will the system make more accessible or cheaper?
18. What new products will the system make accessible?
19. What impact will the system have on production and distribution?
20. What effect will molecular manufacturing have on military and government capability and planning, considering the implications of arms races and unbalanced development?
21. What effect will this have on macro- and microeconomics?
22. How can proliferation and use of nanofactories and their products be limited?
23. What effect will this have on policing?
24. What beneficial or desirable effects could this have?
26. What are the disaster/disruption scenarios?
27. What effect could this have on geopolitics?
28. What policies toward development of molecular manufacturing does all this suggest?
29. What policies toward administration of molecular manufacturing does all this suggest?
30. How can appropriate policy be made and implemented?
Studies should begin immediately. The situation is extremely urgent. The stakes are unprecedented, and the world is unprepared. The basic findings of these studies should be verified as rapidly as possible (months, not years). Policy preparation and planning for implementation, likely including a crash development program, should begin immediately.

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