Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Singularity
What Is

Ray Kurzweil and others say that in the future we will be able to build robots the size of molecules to do our work for us at the atomic level. The tiny robots are called Nanobots.

My explanation is simplistic. The Nanobots will not be intelligent. They will simply be tools manipulated by humans or computers.

Why would we want to manipulate things at the atomic level? The answer is, so we can build whatever we want to build, from the ground up.

Here's an excerpt from an article called The Future of Molecular Nanotechnology by Mike Deering:

Molecular nanotechnology is the capability to build or modify any material object by adding or removing individual atoms under complete external control. Nanotechnology is performed by assembler nanobots. Assembler nanobots are molecular scale machines that can make anything from individual atoms in accordance with a design supplied by an external computer. Assembler nanobots are made by other assembler nanobots, which is kind of a chicken and egg problem.

We don't currently have assembler nanobots. People working in the nanotechnology field are very certain that we will have them soon. We already pick and place individual atoms with atomic force microscopes (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscopes (STM). We have machines that can produce DNA molecules of any specified design. Experimental computer circuitry is already at the molecular level.

Mature molecular nanotechnology is the endpoint of a long history of miniaturization of mechanical and electrical systems. Kurzweil is fond of saying that all forms of engineering are reducing in size by 5.6 per dimension per decade. Few people hearing this fully understand the implications of this statement. What it means is that we are guaranteed by a long history of miniaturization trend data to reach mature molecular nanotechnology by 2020 or sooner (the trend is accelerating).

Miniaturization is the root force behind the Singularity. Computers powerful enough to support general intelligence are based on it. Tools for the reverse engineering of the human brain are based on it. Tools for the development of molecular biotechnology are based on it. Of the three Singularity technologies, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and molecular biotechnology; nanotechnology is leading the charge to the Singularity event.

Nanotechnology is at the heart of every R&D frontier. The economic and military advantages are driving investment and research efforts in nanotechnology beyond all other areas of development. Every industry is involved.

I'm presenting this, purely, as information, not as truth. This is what one man believes will happen. I'm learning as I study this material everyday.

One thing to know is that when Mr. Deering talks about "Reverse Engineering the human brain," he means mapping the molecular structure of the human brain, completely, so that we can build brains, literally.


Interesting, isn't it? Sounds too crazy to be true. But, one thing I am learning is, we should not doubt the capacity of the human imagination to make a reality of anything it dreams.