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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 #21     YOU ARE HERE

Thirty Essential Nanotechnology Studies - #21

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 #21 What effect will this have on macro- and microeconomics?
  It has been predicted that a sufficiently advanced and general-purpose molecular manufacturing technology could have a significant transformative and potentially disruptive effect. This must be explored.
Subquestion How quickly can new products be invented, designed and distributed?
Preliminary answer As described in other studies, this can be extremely quick due to fast prototyping, point-of-use manufacture, and low risk.
Subquestion How will distributed manufacturing affect the supply chain?
Preliminary answer It will eliminate the supply chain for superseded products and their components.
Subquestion How will automated manufacturing affect jobs?
Preliminary answer It will eliminate manufacturing jobs for superseded products, as well as related transportation, storage, and extraction jobs. It may create design and installation jobs (though a lot of installation can be done robotically). Compare manufacturing jobs with the percentage of population involved in agriculture from 1900 to today: 37.5% to 0.5%, almost a two order of magnitude decrease.
Subquestion How will increased material self-sufficiency affect international and local trade?
Preliminary answer Trade in raw materials and finished products will be reduced. Depending on policy, trade in intellectual property may be either reduced or increased.
Subquestion How will simpler material requirements affect extraction?
Preliminary answer Extraction will probably be unnecessary to support diamondoid manufacturing, though limited quantities of fossil fuels may be useful as a carbon source.
Subquestion Will energy production, storage, and/or distribution be impacted?
Preliminary answer The ability to collect and store solar energy cheaply will greatly reduce the need for fossil fuels and the power grid. Also, products (including houses) can become much more efficient, further reducing energy demand.
Subquestion How much incentive will there be to use molecular manufacturing?
Preliminary answer Its products will be multiple orders of magnitude better on several counts. Also, they'll probably be at least one order of magnitude cheaper to produce, and completely bypass substantial parts of the current production and distribution chain.
It's said that a tenfold improvement (one order of magnitude) is sufficient for a new product or method to displace existing ones. Nanofactory-built products greatly exceed this criterion, so new companies could out-compete existing ones that are not quick to adopt it.
Conclusion This is likely to have a large and rapid effect on economics of manufactured products. Existing businesses that don't adopt it will be out-competed by new businesses.
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?
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?
25. What effect could this have on civil rights and liberties?
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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