Nanoconvergence The Unity of Nanoscience, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-06-27
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
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Nanoconvergence is the coming unification of all significant technologies based on control of structures at the nanoscale. As biotechnology, information technology, cognitive science, physics, chemistry, and material science come together, their power will increase exponentially. This book is the first authoritative but easy-to-understand guide to the coming nanoconvergence revolution-and how it may reshape your life.

Author Biography

William Sims Bainbridge codirects the National Science Foundation's Program in Human-Centered Computing.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xiii
About the Authorp. xix
Convergence at the Nanoscalep. 1
The Meaning of "Nano"p. 1
Nanotechnology and Scientific Progressp. 4
Technological Convergencep. 9
Application Areasp. 15
Radical Transformationsp. 17
The Plan of This Bookp. 19
Referencesp. 22
Visions and Illusionsp. 25
Imagination and Impossibilityp. 25
Birds Can't Fly to the Moonp. 26
Cold Factsp. 28
Science Fictionp. 29
Drexler's Visionp. 35
Alchemy at the Nanoscalep. 42
Nanopanicp. 44
Conclusionp. 46
Referencesp. 47
Information Technologyp. 51
Moore's Lawp. 51
Sensorsp. 58
Quantum Computingp. 60
The Information Technology Research Initiativep. 63
Grand Information Technology Challengesp. 68
Conclusionp. 74
Referencesp. 76
Biotechnologyp. 81
Nanotechnology from the Perspective of Biologyp. 81
Nano-Bio Convergencep. 83
The Problem of Cancerp. 87
Paths to Nano-Bio Innovationp. 89
Agriculture and the Environmentp. 92
Evolutionary Methods: Computing and Culturep. 95
Improving Human Performancep. 103
Conclusionp. 106
Referencesp. 107
Cognitive Technologyp. 113
The Two Faces of Cognitive Sciencep. 113
Cognitive Convergencep. 117
The Prehistory of Cognitive Technologiesp. 124
Neurotechnologyp. 128
The Communicatorp. 133
Conclusionp. 136
Referencesp. 137
Unification of Sciencep. 143
Creating Convergersp. 143
Eight Principles for Convergencep. 149
Conservationp. 150
Indecisionp. 151
Configurationp. 152
Interactionp. 153
Variationp. 153
Evolutionp. 154
Informationp. 155
Cognitionp. 155
Ethical Principlesp. 156
Social Relationsp. 159
Behavioral Social Sciencep. 163
Conclusionp. 168
Referencesp. 169
Unity in Diversityp. 175
Critics of Convergencep. 175
Looking Forwardp. 180
Family and Reproductionp. 181
Culture and Personalityp. 183
Societal Institutionsp. 186
Science, Health, and Environmentp. 188
How Will the World Be Governed?p. 189
A New Science of Servicesp. 195
Conclusionp. 200
Referencesp. 201
The Final Frontierp. 207
The Giant Leapp. 207
The Realities of Interplanetary Travelp. 211
The Solar Systemp. 215
Personality Transferp. 222
What Is to Be Done?p. 228
Conclusionp. 231
Referencesp. 232
Indexp. 239
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Preface This book explores the future of science and technology, and their implications for human beings. It is based on the insights of hundreds of scientists and engineers working at the cutting edge of research, as seen through the eyes of a social scientist who worked alongside them to organize, write, and edit a series of influential government-sponsored and independent reports. Although I have made every effort to be balanced and comprehensive, this book is not a sterile exercise in abstraction and objectivity. Rather, it seeks to provide information that will be both fascinating and useful for students, entrepreneurs, investors, fellow scientists or engineers, and people in many walks of life who want to understand how their work and their world will change in coming decades. One of the scariest questions for young people is this: "What will you be when you grow up?" Sometimes people nearing retirement age joke, "I still don't know what I'm going to be when I grow up!" Often be means do, and the question really refers to selecting a career and finding a job. More broadly, the question might refer to what kind of person you or I might become, in whatever span of life is left to us on this spinning planet. However the question is defined, it cannot be answered in isolation. A person cannot simply decide to become a blacksmith, elevator operator, or spaceship pilot. The economy and the technological culture must provide such jobs, or no one can get them. Contrary to predictions, the trade of blacksmithing did not completely disappear, although its role in society has been greatly diminished. I suppose elevator operators became security guards--and I wonder if they considered that change to be a demotion or a promotion. I don't know what happened to all of the prospective spaceship pilots. My point is that the nature of technical work, and the nature of the world in which we all live, will change radically in the future, because science and technology have entered an era of fundamental transformation. At the time of the "dot-com crash" nearly a decade ago, computer professionals used to joke, "Now we'll find out how many computer programmers the world really needs." The implication was that data processing had been going through a technological revolution, but after the guns had fallen silent, there might not be much action anymore. Everyone in the field had noticed that big companies and government agencies had been producing their own electronic data systems, often at great cost and with dismal results. Soon, it was believed, they would admit that the desire to have their own proprietary systems was a dysfunctional status obsession and begin to buy their software off the shelf--just as everyone else was already doing. In the early 1980s, very small companies could succeed while writing software for the consumer market, but since then a shakeout had occurred in small business and home office software. By way of analogy, in the beginning of the twentieth century, scores of small companies set out to make automobiles, but within half a century the overwhelming majority had ceased to exist. Perhaps by 2010, every business on the face of the Earth could make do with Microsoft Office. This issue raises two questions very germane to the topic of this book: "What is computer science?" and "How can it continue to progress?" Computer science is not simply programming, nor is it the more exalted profession of software engineering, although both entities depend on it. Nor is computer science merely a branch of electrical engineering, although many people who call themselves computer scientists have a degree in "EE." Rather, computer science is an incomplete convergence of mutually supportive fields that cooperate to produce the hardware, software, and management systems required to process information, including in consumer areas such as the World Wide Web and online games, as well as in ser

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