What are the remaining lurkers up to?

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    • What are the remaining lurkers up to?

      Assuming anyone is still checking in here - I wonder what keeps people from posting. Here's what has kept me from posting:

      After I exercised some stock options in the client company that I've done work for the last 10 years and become part owner, I've found an extra incentive to make sure things go well there. We have had a major development project underway for the last year that has sucked my time. So work has kept me busy.

      The closest I've come to nanotechnology lately is that I started studying the Kindle edition of Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th edition, by Alberts et al (MBoC) from beginning to end. I've had a copy of the third edition for about 15 years but had only ever used it as a reference; never tried to read it all the way through. As I started reading the 6th edition (to fill in gaps in my knowledge and get more up to date info) I became curious about the history of molecular biology, so I went looking for recommendations on books on the subject. Based on reviews, I bought a copy of Operators and Promoters: The Story of Molecular Biology and Its Creators, by Echols and Gross. Early on it said if I wanted to know more about the period it didn't cover, I should read The Double Helix by Watson and The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology, by Judson. (There is a commemorative edition of the latter that I only discovered later.)

      So I read Double Helix, then The Eighth Day, and am just now finishing Operators and Promoters. Once done I'll get back to finishing MBoC. Except I can't help it, I got curious about the history of chemistry, so a copy of The Development of Modern Chemistry by Ihde will be arriving soon.

      Lastly, not sure why it took me so long, but bought a 3D printer and downloaded a free copy of DesignSpark Mechanical so I could design the types of things I wanted to print. Fun stuff - if I had more time I'd be designing and building some nanotech related tools. It's amazing sometimes how much time one expends on the allegedly "trivial" aspect of mounting and arranging parts in some apparatus. Sure, it may take hours to print the needed parts, but it can take that long or even longer to do the same using the tools in a garage workshop.
    • I for one am regularely checking in here to see if theres anything new.
      And I'll will continue to do so.

      What kept me from posting?

      1) I was visiting the first ever Makerfaire in Vienna Austria showing of my collection of 3D prints.
      I also made a lot of graphical Infosheets for A4 flipcharts about 3D printing and APM.

      2) I tried to keep myself up to date with cutting edge new high level stateless interactive programming methodologies (applicative functional reactive programming) since I think this will be of paramount importance for 3D modelling the future reality (elm, purescript, GPU stuff, ...).
      Actually the programmatic 3D modelling software I currently use (OpenSCAD) puts a major pressure of suffering onto me since with its lack of higher order functions it does not allow me to create higly reusable libraries (specifically I hit a wall with gears & threads). This stops a lot of other ambitions in its tracks. Stuff that depends on gears and threads which obviously is a lot.

      3) What I also did was documenting a first draft of an idea I had regarding macroscopic self replication.
      I've published it here:
      reprap.org/wiki/RepRec
      (It depends on gears and threads :S)
      I think a working self replication pick & place robot capable of performing practical tasks may make the concept of exponential assembly be perceived as a more plausible thing.
      Even though in the makrocosmos theres gravity but no sticking force and in the nanocosm its the other way around (actually there is gravity but its overpowered by thermal noise) and thus macroscopic block based self replication actually only partially overlaps with nanoscopic block based self replication.
      The the existing approaches of self replication pick and place robots like this one:
      rpk.lcsr.jhu.edu/wp-content/up…ses13_An-Architecture.pdf (Matt Moses et al)
      Use too way too view preproduced base part types. This is making them clunky and totally impractical e.g. for automated 3D-Printer-assembly. Also existing approaches use clipping or friction (including friction in screws) for assembly.
      This makes large systems out af many small parts unnecessary lacking stiffness.
      I think that using the principle of reinforcement like in concrete construction is the right way to go.
      Just making diversely profiled short modular rod segments with channels going through where rebars can be fed through that themselves are comosed out of modular short segmented chains.
      Recently there came out a new model of self replicating 3D printer: dollo3d.com/
      I think the herringbone drive method is a good solution the mounting method namely friction plugs not so much.

      Here's some other stuff of of what I was up to lately:
      * I'm still steadily extending my APM wiki.
      * I just barely started moving the highly graphical german language presentation stuff I have lying around into the english wiki (I need to focus more on that)
      * I still didn't get around to making those youtube videos. I regulary think about them.
      * I still didn't get around to making really nice drawn illustrations.
      (I know that I potentially do have that drawing skill level)
      * I was watching some videos about google tango google daydream and a bit off deep learning.

      ----

      About moelcular biology of the cell: I once visited a two semester course about the topic.
      Pretty interesting stuff - the things that suprised me most where:
      * that the transcription from DNA to t-RNA and from t-RNA to proteins happens in a pretty parallel fashion. It looks like a sparse feather.
      * that the visalisation pictures of cell membranes are basically all very wrong showing way to much lipid layer and way too few proteins going through and showing the size ratios very wrong too.
      * the character of the chain of energy transport with something like waiting position control points
      * the crazy density of endoplasmic reticulum in the cell not clogging up all the transport
      * the effect of compartment dimensionality on diffucion transport.
      * the rich RNA world beside the Protein world

      It seems that only a tiny fraction of molecular biology is really directly applicable to even the early bioinspired stages of advanced APM bootstrapping. I think It'll still take some more time that topic dedicated resources and courses are made.

      You seem to have read a lot about history too. This not a place where I usually would spoop around since it is even further away from advanced APM than molecular biology. Since I'm unlikely to read this set of literature if you've found/find something that may suprisingly be applicable specifically to bootstrapping APM dont hold back telling us here. Even if its just a hunch.

      ----

      Awesome that you now have got a 3D printer :)
      I do have an Ultimaker original (one of the very earliest batch)
      You say that you'd like to "design and build some nanotech related tools".
      Do you have anything specific in mind?
      I do have made quite a set of APM principle demonstration objects by now.
      (I need to post a picture)

      >> "It's amazing sometimes how much time one expends on the allegedly "trivial" aspect of mounting and arranging parts in some apparatus."
      Yes 3D printing can be very time consuming. I usually spend much more time designing than printing.
      Luckily my printer is in a state where it is operating without a hitch almost all of the time so this is not a place where I loose much time anymore.

      ----

      PS: I have at least two further major post for the forum in the pipeline.

      PPS: I don't really know what keeps others from posting.
      I think I vaguely know what Eric Drexler is up to right now:
      With molecular sciences more and more on the right track and the recent advances in machine learning (deep learning / deep dream)
      I think Drexler has switched his main forcus to artificial intelligence (tensorflow & stuff?).
    • lsuess wrote:

      1) I was visiting the first ever Makerfaire in Vienna Austria showing of my collection of 3D prints.
      I also made a lot of graphical Infosheets for A4 flipcharts about 3D printing and APM.
      Sounds interesting!

      lsuess wrote:

      * that the visalisation pictures of cell membranes are basically all very wrong showing way to much lipid layer and way too few proteins going through and showing the size ratios very wrong too.
      Yes, the high percentage of membrane that is protein is mentioned in the better texts on the subject. But some definitely imply too much of the surface as lipid.

      lsuess wrote:

      It seems that only a tiny fraction of molecular biology is really directly applicable to even the early bioinspired stages of advanced APM bootstrapping. I think It'll still take some more time that topic dedicated resources and courses are made.
      My interest in the subject is more as an area of problems that can be better attacked by nano robots than as a source for bootstrapping nanotechnology. My impression is that most of the advances in things like DNA and RNA manipulation (e.g. CRISPR/Cas9) appear to be due to discoveries of ancient enzymes that can be turned into tools than clever de novo nucleotide protein engineering.

      lsuess wrote:

      You seem to have read a lot about history too. This not a place where I usually would spoop around since it is even further away from advanced APM than molecular biology. Since I'm unlikely to read this set of literature if you've found/find something that may suprisingly be applicable specifically to bootstrapping APM dont hold back telling us here. Even if its just a hunch.
      Only insight I can note at this point is that false theories held up progress for decades due to the human failing of judging the merit of ideas by who espoused them rather than objective analysis of the ideas. Well, some ideas sounded quite reasonable too and evidence to the contrary was considered due to experimental error, not due to an error in the theory. It seemed to take more evidence than necessary to get a theory in trouble.

      lsuess wrote:

      You say that you'd like to "design and build some nanotech related tools".
      Do you have anything specific in mind?
      I do have made quite a set of APM principle demonstration objects by now.
      (I need to post a picture)
      I'm thinking of a novel design for a scanning probe microscope that I can 3D print. At least the mechanical part. STMs have already been 3D printed and the common plastics like PLA and ABS have decent properties for the purpose (such as low thermal expansion coefficient.) There is at least one piezoelectric plastic that is available (Polyvinylidene fluoride) available from at least one source (3dogg.com/c-3265319/pvdf-filament/) but expensive. Though my idea doesn't employ piezoelectrics, though more traditional approaches do.

      lsuess wrote:

      With molecular sciences more and more on the right track and the recent advances in machine learning (deep learning / deep dream)
      I think Drexler has switched his main forcus to artificial intelligence (tensorflow & stuff?).
      Any reason you think that?
    • Jim Logajan wrote:

      My interest in the subject is more as an area of problems that can be better attacked by nano robots than as a source for bootstrapping nanotechnology. My impression is that most of the advances in things like DNA and RNA manipulation (e.g. CRISPR/Cas9) appear to be due to discoveries of ancient enzymes that can be turned into tools than clever de novo nucleotide protein engineering.
      So you mean like the Nanomedicine books by Robert Freitas (I haven't yet read them)?
      About the discovery of ancient enzymes. Molecular biology is most definitely a treasure trove for the creation of future medical treatment methods containing stuff that we "never" could come up with ourselves. With the recent discovery of CRISPR/Cas and newer related techniques quite a "quantum leap" (in the sense of discrete not small) was made - thinking back on the low survival chances with crude methods like cloning (well this is not quite gene editing but a full swap) and the basically random point DNA insertion with older gene editing techniques. I think with more and more of the ancient stuff becoming decoded de novo nucleotide protein/peptide/peptoid/foldamer engineering (used as artificial enzyme systems A) will become more and more important. I think that in this usage case it is important to first understand "simple" examples from nature for then being able to improve upon that. There are two more possible usages for de novo foldamer engineering (foldamer being the most general case) B) as "simple" delivery vessels for drugs C) for bootstrapping advanced APM. I have a hard time to guess whether use case B is right around the corner or it will still take more than a decade to get going. What is really incredible is that the human genome is just a few gigabytes in size and still can compress so much information. If one compares that to the data size of modern operating systems it seems ridiculous. I mean the plan for how many different types of proteins and other molecules can be encoded in there ? As e metaphor the fluent passage from system design that evolved to be nicely separable and orthogonal to an completely entangled mess that contains a lot of stuff that is just there because it doesn't cause problems makes researching molecular biology like discharging an old battery - you never know how much is left. Then there's the truly random element of thermal motion not present in normal computer systems which adds another fascinating aspect. Ok I'm drifting off too far.

      ...
    • The reason I think that Eric Drexler has switched his focus is this video of a somewhat recent talk he gave:
      Eric Drexler - A Cambrian Explosion in Deep Learning
      Filmed at the Free and Safe in Cyberspace conference in Brussels in Sept 2015

      Also with Radical Abundance written and published I think a major load is of his shoulders.
    • Jim Logajan wrote:

      I'm thinking of a novel design for a scanning probe microscope that I can 3D print. At least the mechanical part. STMs have already been 3D printed and the common plastics like PLA and ABS have decent properties for the purpose (such as low thermal expansion coefficient.) There is at least one piezoelectric plastic that is available (Polyvinylidene fluoride) available from at least one source (3dogg.com/c-3265319/pvdf-filament/) but expensive. Though my idea doesn't employ piezoelectrics, though more traditional approaches do.
      I thought of that too.
      Back then there was only one project around.
      It seems by now it is only accessible through internet backup services anymore :S
      archive.is/sxm4.uni-muenster.de
      Just for fum I made a 3D-model out of the plans they supplied.
      I wouldn't recommend to print this since it is absolutely not optimized for 3D printing - waste of plastic - ugly blocks.
      thingiverse.com/thing:42053

      One design that I especially liked is this one:
      instructables.com/id/A-Low-Cos…%A1%AF%E5%BE%AE%E9%8F%A1/

      This is the one of the designs that currently rank top in the google search results:
      hackaday.com/2015/01/13/cheap-…pe-sees-individual-atoms/
      Its so minimal that there isn't much remaining to print at all

      Here's a link to a link-list to several DIY STM projects that I found in my bookmarks:
      dberard.com/home-built-stm/links/

      It would certainly be cool to make atoms visible in the livingroom but I gave up on this endeavour because:
      # I worked on a professional one (Omicron) and realized how hard it is to scan z steps greater than one or two atomic layers.
      # Playing around with structural DNA nanotechnology (and even more so for other stuff) requires a full-blown lab (automatic pipetting system ...)
      # I'm not sure whether larger DNA meshes can be scanned electrically with STM. If AFM is necessary it gets harder. DNA is strongly negatively charged due to its phosphate groups. If DNA structures sits dry on a surface I guess some alkali metal atoms (Na) remain on there cancelling the charge but I'm pretty sure they will be immobile.

      Its scary how many of the links I dug through here right now are already dead.
      Luckily google image search and backup services give some chance to still find that old stuff.
    • Jim Logajan wrote:

      Only insight I can note at this point is that false theories held up progress for decades due to the human failing of judging the merit of ideas by who espoused them rather than objective analysis of the ideas. Well, some ideas sounded quite reasonable too and evidence to the contrary was considered due to experimental error, not due to an error in the theory. It seemed to take more evidence than necessary to get a theory in trouble.
      Lipid Rafts come to mind. I heard that they may not really exist but they are everywhere in the literature.
      I don't really see how that applies to advanced APM. There I more see that correct and useful old ideas have been and are still tragically misused to judge possibilities/impossibilities in a very different context where they are not applicable anymore.
    • lsuess wrote:

      It would certainly be cool to make atoms visible in the livingroom but I gave up on this endeavour because:
      # I worked on a professional one (Omicron) and realized how hard it is to scan z steps greater than one or two atomic layers.
      # Playing around with structural DNA nanotechnology (and even more so for other stuff) requires a full-blown lab (automatic pipetting system ...)
      # I'm not sure whether larger DNA meshes can be scanned electrically with STM. If AFM is necessary it gets harder. DNA is strongly negatively charged due to its phosphate groups. If DNA structures sits dry on a surface I guess some alkali metal atoms (Na) remain on there cancelling the charge but I'm pretty sure they will be immobile.
      # Also there are very few surfaces suitable for in air imaging (HOPG, gold, maybe indium ...)
      I thought about the possibility of miniaturizing and demonitizing UHV systems and came up with the concept of this crazy contraption. (probably pure fantasy and a waste of time)
      youmagine.com/design_ideas/cheap-diy-miniaturised-uhv-system
      It still looks very dire when one is looking for commercially available miniaturized turbopumps.
      I'm not including designs like the one on built into the mars MSL rover which was made small by raising the price - conventional ultra-pecision machining.
      The non AP MEMS friction problem is probably the reason why there are no MEMS turbopumps yet.

      I'm wondering whether atomically precise de novo protein design could be used to create atomically tight positive dispacement UHV pumps for micron to mm scale chambers? There's probably too much low atomic weight dirt from the production process remaining and heating to>200°C would hurt most proteins. Maybe with intermediate steps - gold coating a template chamber ... drifting off again ...

      In one of the foresight conference videos there was one person presenting his companies goals to produce ultra cheap STM microscopes in masses to accelerate nanotechnology research by making the tools more widely and easily accessible - sadly I can't find that video anymore. I've also forgotten the name of the presenter. It might be "Saed"?? I'm not sure.
    • lsuess wrote:

      So you mean like the Nanomedicine books by Robert Freitas (I haven't yet read them)?
      Yes, something along those lines. Getting older seems to have made me more interested in nanotech applications of medicine.

      lsuess wrote:

      There are two more possible usages for de novo foldamer engineering (foldamer being the most general case) B) as "simple" delivery vessels for drugs C) for bootstrapping advanced APM.
      Someone is likely to prove me wrong, but I'm not sure that that foldamer engineering will bootstrap advanced APM. At best I suspect it may be a dispensable tool, much like one can use a screwdriver to pound a nail - though a hammer would be the better tool. On the other hand, there is no easy way to use a hammer as a screwdriver.

      lsuess wrote:

      The reason I think that Eric Drexler has switched his focus is this video of a somewhat recent talk he gave:
      Eric Drexler - A Cambrian Explosion in Deep Learning
      Thanks for the video. I watched it (being impatient I played it at 1.5 times normal speed - just fast enough for me to still comprehend what is being said while saving some time.) As an aside, where I work, we have noticed that money and investments are flowing toward cyber security and more people are looking to get into it as a way to make money. Companies that can claim to have cyber security products have higher valuations per unit sales revenue than those that don't. I suspect this motivates a lot of interest in the area rather than a genuine interest in security. But maybe I'm being too cynical.

      One issue I have with predictions about AI is one that Eric mentions too briefly in his talk: goals and motivations of AI. All living things have a goal built into them due to the way life evolved: perpetuate oneself and one's offspring. Eric states we wont know or will be unsure of the goals AI will have. I don't see why we wouldn't, since unless we explicitly program goals in, the AI will have intelligence but it wont have any motivation to do anything with it. Without goals it wont have motivation to act for or against anything. Probably a good reason not to program in any goals.

      lsuess wrote:

      It would certainly be cool to make atoms visible in the livingroom but I gave up on this endeavour because:
      # I worked on a professional one (Omicron) and realized how hard it is to scan z steps greater than one or two atomic layers.
      # Playing around with structural DNA nanotechnology (and even more so for other stuff) requires a full-blown lab (automatic pipetting system ...)
      # I'm not sure whether larger DNA meshes can be scanned electrically with STM. If AFM is necessary it gets harder. DNA is strongly negatively charged due to its phosphate groups. If DNA structures sits dry on a surface I guess some alkali metal atoms (Na) remain on there cancelling the charge but I'm pretty sure they will be immobile.
      I think of SPMs as one tool of many that will be needed to bootstrap nanotechnology. That an STM has limitations is no different than other tools. Based on my reading of history, I think progress in nanotechnology will only take off once more "amateurs" can begin work on it.

      lsuess wrote:

      Lipid Rafts come to mind. I heard that they may not really exist but they are everywhere in the literature.
      I don't really see how that applies to advanced APM. There I more see that correct and useful old ideas have been and are still tragically misused to judge possibilities/impossibilities in a very different context where they are not applicable anymore.
      My read of history of chemistry suggests that debates like the Drexler/Smalley one have happened more than once and progress was held up by the more notable participant. Though it isn't clear to me (yet) whether history provides any lessons in how to avoid or mitigate such things.

      lsuess wrote:

      In one of the foresight conference videos there was one person presenting his companies goals to produce ultra cheap STM microscopes in masses to accelerate nanotechnology research by making the tools more widely and easily accessible - sadly I can't find that video anymore. I've also forgotten the name of the presenter. It might be "Saed"?? I'm not sure.
      There were discussions in the sci.nanotech newsgroup many years ago about developing a cheap STM. I recall discussing it with Steve Vetter and Jim Rice at a Foresight conference. I believe one issue that got in the way was lack of money or capital - and uncertain demand. While a determined amateur can build a marginally working inexpensive hobby STM, buyers of commercial systems have higher expectations and getting a refined product to market is not cheap. Of course, back then we didn't have Kickstarter, GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, or RocketHub as options to raise capital and establish a seed of potential customers.
    • Jim Logajan wrote:

      Someone is likely to prove me wrong, but I'm not sure that that foldamer engineering will bootstrap advanced APM. At best I suspect it may be a dispensable tool, much like one can use a screwdriver to pound a nail - though a hammer would be the better tool. On the other hand, there is no easy way to use a hammer as a screwdriver.
      The most recent developments in structural DNA nanotechnology (DNA oligomers I believe fall under the class of foldamers) made me much more optimistic about a bootstrapping pathway that relies on foldamers indispensably. Like roughly described in the appendix of Radical Abundance. (Note that with indispensable I don't mean indisposable. That is I do think that they can should and must be stripped away once bootstrapping was successful.)


      The main papers that made me more optimistic where these five:

      1) Demonstration of localized hinges and sliding rails:
      (Absoluterĺy essential for any robotics like action.)
      Papers name: "Programmable motion of DNA origami mechanisms"
      Found here: foresight.org/nanodot/?p=6430
      Full open content: pnas.org/content/112/3/713.full.pdf

      2) Hierarchical self assembly of structural DNA nanotechnology:
      (Essential for more complex systems)
      In the first step the normal method floppy DNA oligomers find and link. In the second step the finished assembled stiff cubic/hexagonal voxel grid building blocks self assemble by shape complementary (reversibly driven by varying salt concentration)
      Papers name: 'Dynamic DNA devices and assemblies formed by shape-complementary, non-basepairing 3D components'
      Found here: foresight.org/nanodot/?p=6606
      Full open content: science.sciencemag.org/content…EI&keytype=ref&siteid=sci

      3) Bohr radius resolution manipulation with DNA nano-structures:
      (Essential for early forms of mechanosynthesis)
      Papers name: "Placing molecules with Bohr radius resolution using DNA origami"
      Found here: foresight.org/nanodot/?p=6890
      Somewhat hidden paper: bionano.physik.tu-muenchen.de/…/funke_NatureNano2015.pdf
      Supplementary info paper (BIG): bionano.physik.tu-muenchen.de/…ke_NatureNano_2015_SI.pdf

      4) Assembly of multi micron scale AP pegboards:
      (Probably useful for organizing bigger systems via AP self centering pick and place that lacks atomic resolution.)
      Papers name: "DNA brick crystals with prescribed depths"
      Found here: foresight.org/nanodot/?p=6350
      Full open content: yin.hms.harvard.edu/publications/2014.crystals.pdf
      Supplementary info paper (BIG): yin.hms.harvard.edu/publications/2014.crystals.sup1.pdf

      5) Templated gold grwoth in AP DNA nanostructures:
      (Maybe useful to include stiffer parts for tooltips though this does not look too controllable - bulging)
      Found here: foresight.org/nanodot/?p=6324
      Papers name: "Casting inorganic structures with DNA molds"
      Full paper: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4260265/pdf/nihms641769.pdf


      What I'm still eagerly waiting to see is:

      A) Fast bi-stable electrostatic actuation of DNA hinge nano-structures via electric fields emanating from very small contacts on a chip surface.

      B) Demonstration of AP single moiety mechanosynthesis with water synthesizable diamondoid minerals (quartz/pyrite/apatite/calcite). This hasn't been demonstrated in with macro-scale AFMs either.

      I recently had some discussion defending the idea of advanced APM where I wrote a bit about my own interpretation of that pathway beyond of what is written in the appendix of Radical Abundance.
      You can find this all the way at the bottom down here:
      debunkingdenialism.com/2016/06…omic-scale-manufacturing/

      Sorry about the amount of links here, but I think they're relevant.


      Jim Logajan wrote:

      I think of SPMs as one tool of many that will be needed to bootstrap nanotechnology. That an STM has limitations is no different than other tools. Based on my reading of history, I think progress in nanotechnology will only take off once more "amateurs" can begin work on it.

      Jim Logajan wrote:

      I believe one issue that got in the way was lack of money or capital - and uncertain demand. While a determined amateur can build a marginally working inexpensive hobby STM, buyers of commercial systems have higher expectations and getting a refined product to market is not cheap. Of course, back then we didn't have Kickstarter, GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, or RocketHub as options to raise capital and establish a seed of potential customers.
      I do too think of SPM as one tool of many that will play an important role.
      I think parallel AFM in the form of mechanosynthesis and pick and place action at the micro and nanoscale will do a big part of the work. Single tip synthesis might be useful for figuring out reactions or putting bigger blocks together but building up a diamondoid assembler with a single macro-scale AFM (the early idea now dismissed by Eric Drexler) by now seems to me like jumping to the moon with just your legs - metaphorical speaking.

      The problem I feel is that with what is archivable by DIY means and a little more professional kickstarter funded means (provided it gets funded) is not sufficient for making meaningful bootstrapping progress.

      I feel that some very essential tools will not make it to a widely available DIY state (e.g. cryo TEM tomography, UHV Systems - except something like my crazy micro UHV system idea miraculously works out, automatic pipetting systems ... to a lesser degree as I'll mention further below)

      For the reasons I elaborated above I think that systems of hierarchically self assembled foldamers will play a major role too beside SPM. Thus I'm thinking of using an top down AFM to picture and interact with bottom up foldamer structures. And those need some of these additional capabilities.

      About kickstarter funding:
      Who is really interested in playing around with an relatively cheap but not extremely toy-like cheap ~999$ SPM device beside a handful of geeks? I mean right now and not when it becomes really interesting due to APM bootstrapping beginning to succeed. (Kind of a "who would need a computer in his home" situation.)

      I doubt that major parts of bootstrapping will be done by a large DIY community. (I'm not happy about that)
      I think it's not unlikely that much of the bootstrapping will happen in service provider labs for early nanotech medical companies.
      Sadly this could quite likely result in that the products will be accompanied with a lot of closed source problems restrictions and regulations.

      I'm not saying that I'm certain that a cheap SPM kickstarter project won't work out funding wise.
      I just doubt that DIY to semi professional SPM living-room devices will play a major role in bootstrapping.

      In the macrocosm with repraps there's a lot less that can't be done DIY or is hard to do DIY.
      Also the products have immediate usability value.
      Even with these things in its favours evolution of repraps isn't crazy fast.

      To drift a bit off-topic:
      We still don't have a self replicating 3D printer that not only prints but also assembles itself.
      I think this should be possible (not a small machine) and could drive the cost fo 3D printers down further ~50% and give additional
      6DOF robotic pick and place capability (remember DIY massive automatic robotic pipetting system for DNA nanotech I mentioned before?)
      Also such a self replicating pick and place robot would demonstrate principles for self replication that uses standard prefabricated parts as building blocks. These principles then could at least in part be applied to nanosytems out of AP self assembled foldamer parts. And much later the principles could be used in the second assembly layer of advanced nanofactories - albeit with a wider less compact cycle meaning even more less generic parts.
      A self assembling macro robot is what I'm attempting with my reprec project Idea:
      reprap.org/wiki/RepRec
      This will soon grow, I had some major Ideas today.

      An other pathway for cost reduction beside reprap style cost reduction is miniaturization like in the computer industry.
      This pathway is big-company centric since obviously MEMS production isn't DIY doable.
      Miniaturisation of SPMs seems not to progress fast. There are some MEMS AFM approaches that still need humongous UHV systems.
      I'm not aware of any attempts of parallelizing SPMs that wield atomic resolution yet (millipede e.g. was never meant to have atomic resolution).

      Sooner or later there might come up the possibility of more or less self assembled nano AFMs ... ok I'm drifting off ...
    • Jim Logajan wrote:

      One issue I have with predictions about AI is one that Eric mentions too briefly in his talk: goals and motivations of AI. All living things have a goal built into them due to the way life evolved: perpetuate oneself and one's offspring. Eric states we wont know or will be unsure of the goals AI will have. I don't see why we wouldn't, since unless we explicitly program goals in, the AI will have intelligence but it wont have any motivation to do anything with it. Without goals it wont have motivation to act for or against anything. Probably a good reason not to program in any goals.
      <sarkasm> All living things except humans in wealthy countries too smart for their own good. They die out. </sarkasm>

      Reinforcement learning means rewards must be defined. Thus neuronal AI without goals doesn't exist.
      We make AI to serve a purpose (even if its just nonsense "art") thus we train it with the data-sets we have readily available and tell it how good it does at reaching its goals. This already is leading to unpleasant discriminatory occurrences due to politically or racially or gender or ... biased training data.

      A major problem is that if an AI finds a way to cheat for getting its reward and its unsupervised it will start and continue to do so perpetually - potentially causing serious trouble. With multiple agents supervising themselves mutually there can be a self regulating system but by our limited intelligence we will barely have the means to know whether and where potential system instabilities lie and how severe they might be.

      Most scary I find the kind of personal assistant AGI's that google is currently very actively building. This is basically becoming a virtual version of yourself knowing yourself inside out. It - for the better or the worse - could live on after your death. If the user is/was an a*****e spammer you might get a very nasty AGI. BTW rouge AGI's are certain to collaborate if beneficial for them. A cyberspace inter AGI war may become a possibility.

      With advanced AGI sooner here than advanced nanotechnology humanity may come into the inconvenient "being a pet" situation without the option for anyone to upgrade the brains to keep up. This is all SciFi right now but if I happen to see this day I hope most of the serious flaws that current day software carries with it will become resolved before any mental upgrades begin - I don't want google/facebook/... in my head nor do I want dependency hell nor uncontrollably piling up entropy invariably leading to a system crash and necessary reinstall - which people still think its normal - IMO it isn't. <joke> Person A (panicking): "My new video driver isn't working properly I just see blue what should I do? ..." Person B (indifferent): "Just delete and reinstall the brain-ware you're running." Person A: "WHAT?!" </joke>

      What mystifies me about AI/AGI is the fundamental differences to the human brain:
      * just a few basic instincts flooding the whole brain as feelings - vs - very topically fine-grained reward structures
      * the fundamental single-threadedness of the human brain - ever tried to listen to two persons at the same time? - can this be learned?