David Kirkpatrick

January 12, 2010

Foresight 2010: the Synergy of Molecular Manufacturing and AGI coming January 16-17

Along with the usual presentations, this year’s conference celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Foresight Institute’s founding.

From the link:

Foresight 2010: the Synergy of Molecular Manufacturing and AGI

Join us in for an exciting conference focused on the Synergy of Molecular Manufacturing and general Artificial Intelligence and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Foresight.Register online here. The two day conference rate is $175 with discounts for early registration!

Several rapidly-developing technologies have the potential to undergo an exponential takeoff in the next few decades, causing as much of an impact on economy and society as the computer and networking did in the past few. Chief among these are molecular manufacturing and artificial general intelligence (AGI). Key in the takeoff phenomenon will be the establishment of strong positive feedback loops within and between the technologies. Positive feedback loops leading to exponential growth are nothing new to economic systems. At issue is the value of the exponent: since the Industrial Revolution, economies have expanded at rates of up to 7% per year; however, computing capability has been expanding at rates up to 70% per year, in accordance with Moore’s Law. If manufacturing and intellectual work shifted into this mode, the impact on the economy and society would be profound. The purpose of this symposium is to examine the mechanisms by which this might happen, and its likely effects.

This announcement also made today’s KurzweilAI.net newsletter:

Foresight 2010: the Synergy of Molecular Manufacturing and AGI
KurzweilAI.net, Jan. 12, 2010

The Foresight 2010: the Synergy of Molecular Manufacturing and AGI conference will be held January 16-17, 2010 in Palo Alto, CA.

Topic will include Roadmaps to Nanotechnology, Feynman’s Path: A top-down roadmap, Roadmaps to general Artificial IntelligenceRobotics, Autogeny: Principles underlying exponential manufacturing andintelligence, Additive manufacturing: A roadmap to nanofactories, Open source in manufacturing and AI, Accelerating change, and Space development.

For those unable to attend, video will be streamed for free at http://www.techzulu.com/live.html.


January 8, 2010

Eric Drexler on the NRC’s molecular manufacturing recommendation

Drexler is widely seen as as one of, if not the, father of nanotechnology, and two of his books, “Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation” and “Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology”  are considered seminal works in the field.

This post from his blog, Metamodern, is about the National Research Council study on molecular manufacturing and Drexler himself describes this post as “arguably the most important post of the series, or of this blog to date.”

Here’s the first few graphs from the link:

A formal, Federal-level study has examined the physical principles ofhigh-throughput atomically precise manufacturing (aka molecular manufacturing), assessing its feasibility and closing with a call for experimental research.

Surprisingly, this recommendation smacks of heresy in some circles, and the very idea of examining the subjectmet strong opposition.

The process in outline: Congress voted to direct the U.S. National Research Council, the working arm of the U.S. National Academies, to conduct, as part of the lengthy Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, what in the House version had been described as a “Study on molecular manufacturing…to determine the technical feasibility of the manufacture of materials and devices at the molecular scale”, and in response, the NRC convened a study committee that organized a workshop, examined the literature, deliberated, and reported their conclusions, recommending appropriate research directions for moving the field forward, including experimental research directed toward development of molecular manufacturing.

(Hat tip: Next Big Future)

October 8, 2009

2009 Feynman Prize winners announced by Foresight Institute

News from the nanotech think tank:

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct 06, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Foresight Institute, a nanotechnology education and public policy think tank based in Palo Alto, has announced the winners of the prestigious 2009 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology.

Established in 1993 in honor of Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman, two $5,000 prizes are awarded in two categories, theory and experiment, to recognize researchers whose recent work has most advanced the field toward the achievement of Feynman’s vision for nanotechnology: molecular manufacturing, the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems.

The winner of the 2009 Feynman Prize for Experimental work is the team of Yoshiaki Sugimoto, Masayuki Abe (Osaka University), and Oscar Custance (National Institute for Materials Science, Japan), in recognition of their pioneering experimental demonstrations of mechanosynthesis, specifically the use of atomic resolution dynamic force microscopy — also known as non-contact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) — for vertical and lateral manipulation of single atoms on semiconductor surfaces. Their work, published in Nature, Science, and other prestigious scientific journals, has demonstrated a level of control over the ability to identify and position atoms on surfaces at room temperature which opens up new possibilities for the manufacture of atomically precise structures.

The winner of the 2009 Feynman Prize for Theory is Robert A. Freitas Jr. (IMM), in recognition of his pioneering theoretical work in mechanosynthesis in which he proposed specific molecular tools and analyzed them using ab initio quantum chemistry to validate their ability to build complex molecular structures. This Prize also recognizes his previous work in systems design of molecular machines, including replicating molecular manufacturing systems which should eventually be able to make large atomically precise products economically and the design of medical nanodevices which should eventually revolutionize medicine.

“What once seemed like a distant vision when it was first outlined by Feynman in 1959 — a new manufacturing technology able to arrange the very atoms that are the fundamental building blocks of matter — has come a step closer to reality,” said J. Storrs Hall, President of Foresight Institute. “This is no small thing, for all manufactured products are made from atoms — and if we can better control how those atoms are arranged we can make fundamentally better products.

“Products that are remarkably light, strong, smart, green, and cheap. Molecular manufacturing will dwarf the Industrial Revolution.”

The Feynman Prizes will be awarded in person in January near the Palo Alto headquarters of Foresight Institute.

About Foresight Institute http://www.foresight.org/

Foresight Institute is a leading think tank and public interest organization focused on nanotechnology. Foresight dedicates itself to providing education, policy development, and networking to ensure the beneficial implementation of molecular manufacturing.