• Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In    
  • Create Account
LongeCity .                       Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans


Adverts help to support the work of this non-profit organisation. To go ad-free join as a Member.


Photo
- - - - -

Guidelines for Nanotech


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Reno

  • Registered User
  • 584 posts
  • 37
  • Location:Somewhere

Posted 04 April 2006 - 04:44 AM


“Everything, Everywhere: Tiny computers that constantly monitor ecosystems, buildings and even human bodies could turn science on its head…Computers could go from being back-office number-crunchers to field operatives. Twenty-four hours a day, year-in, year-out, they could measure every conceivable variable of an ecosystem or a human body, at whatever scale might be appropriate, from the nanometric to the continental…

“These trends show no sign of slowing down, and that makes pervasive sensor nets not so much possible as inevitable. One does not need to be a visionary to see that soon, tiny devices with the power of today’s desktops will be cheap enough to put everywhere.”

Prototype sensor webs were funded by “the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, which is interested in the technology’s military applications.”

The focus of the Nature piece is on the benefits to science, which should be huge. But we need to look at other uses as well, and try to ensure they promote our shared values rather than undermine them. —Christine


http://www.foresight...nanodot/?p=2193

I've read several articals that questioned what rights we would have after nanotech is released. So far I haven't seen much on the subject.

What guidelines for humanity's use of nanotechnology should there be? How should they be inforced? I see nanotech changing the sociology of the world as much or more than it will change the economy of the world.

#2 MichaelAnissimov

  • Registered User
  • 905 posts
  • 1
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 04 April 2006 - 10:49 PM

Nanotechnology should only exist for public use in the form of personal nanofactories (PNs), self-contained desktop units that manufacture products associated with a license.

PNs will only fabricate product designs signed by a safety authority. Products will have a maximum and minimum allowable size, chemical composition, and power consumption, based on their documented functions. Other limitations to product designs should be applied based on the recommendations of an expert committee.

Because of physical scaling laws that permit extreme productivity at the nano-scale, the first company to create nanofactories will be able to manufacture their product rapidly. Once the productivity and flexibility gains inherent to desktop nanomanufacturing become obvious, there will be instantaneous and sustained worldwide demand.


The business model

Nanofactories should be sold for a reasonable price, perhaps similar to the debut price of state of the art computers (~$3,000), with a pricing half-life of three months. The technology itself theoretically allows a pricing half-life of a day or so, but a lengthy rollout will be used to generate enthusiasm and work out the bugs. The system will be $200 in a year and $10 in two years. Or maybe there will be a natural price floor. Note that this pricing model artificially slows the rate of adoption by a factor of about 100. This allows feedback to flow on normal human timescales, allowing discussion and analysis of potential problems before they happen. The pricing model may not happen in reality, but it's a solid possibility.

The company should take their product international at a balanced pace - slow enough to work out the bugs, fast enough to ensure that they stay on top of the competition. Nanofactories are a sufficiently revolutionary technology that the first mover should be able to gain global dominance through competitive pricing and intelligent acquisitions. A unified company in charge of nanofactories will also simplify policy issues and guarantee the enforcement of universal security and safety standards.

The real price of the nanofactory will be in the products. Third-party developers will use an API provided by the nanofactory company to design and license products. Licensed products are sold to customers through an interface on the nanofactory. Pricing tiers for multiple product copies will be set by product developers. The nanofactory company will grab a small percentage of the profit, but most will go to the developers.

The API will be a CAD system that allows designers to specify high-level characteristics of an object or system without knowing its details on the molecular level. Drop-n-drag interfaces will allow anyone to design simple products. Developers need to be given flexibility such that they can let their minds run free, without feeling the limitations of a proprietary platform. This will be achieved by the design of nano-blocks by the nanofactory company - verified modular components that simulate surfaces or materials, store and transmit electricity, light, or force, communications cables and processors, displays and interfaces, and much much more.

The data underlying the operation of nanofactories will not be open-source or reprogrammable. It will, however, be reviewed and continually redesigned by the brightest engineers and security experts in the industry. Made impervious to natural disasters, internal scanning, and reverse-engineering, nanofactories will always keep records of who is using them, their respective energy budgets, local and global laws, and library of manufacturable products. These desktop machines will have hundreds of terabytes of hard drive space for storing fabrication instructions and product designs. Their tamper-proof nature will allow nanofactories to serve as ideal "black boxes" to examine after disasters, both natural and artificial. Conversely, nanofactories should be programmed to fry their internal workings when they recognize they are being breached. An opaque "airlock" should prevent the product output port from serving as a window to scanning the nanofactory's internals from the outside.


Law

A primary concern for the development of civilian and commercial nanofactories is the buildup of NanoTrash - cheaply mass-manufactured products made of mostly diamond and empty space. Avoiding NanoTrash while preserving our freedom to design and create will be a great challenge of the early nanotech era. For starters, each nanofactory user should have a personal matter and energy budget determined by a safety authority. These limits should be variable based on product class and user profession. For example, someone that works at a hospital should have a larger energy budget when it comes to manufacturing medical products. In the same way that it's illegal for just anyone to randomly practice medicine, not just anyone should be permitted to manufacture large quantities of painkillers, syringes, or scalpels.

Many professions operate under licenses today. Physiotherapists, acupuncturists, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, and professional engineers all require some form of licensure to work their jobs. These licenses represent that the licensee demonstrates basic knowledge of their profession and its associated responsibilities. Because of the tremendous range of products nanofactories will make available cheaply, licensing and energy budgets are a must to ensure that dangerous products do not fall into ignorant or malicious hands. Crowd-mediated reputation markets will quickly label the black and white hats in the fabrication business, leaving massive paper trails for both law enforcement and avid groupies. Try to model and fabricate a torture device, and certain design privileges are temporarily suspended. Design a useful product, and you are rewarded with an increased energy budget.

The most widely-used and largest products will have the highest energy budgets - storage containers, automobiles, housing, civil systems, renewable power plants, and agricultural tools. Nano-built products will quickly outperform and underprice variants manufactured using older technologies. The rate at which this occurs will depend upon the improvement of the underlying nanofactory/API technology. The most necessary, universal, and algorithmically simplest products will be the first to be ported to nanofactories. Products containing any subset of the nanofactory technology itself (actuators, computers, sensors, purifiers, other electronics and structural elements) will become immediate candidates for design and licensing.

Because they will be competing for the finite energy budget of the consumer, firms designing new products will have a reason to care.

Complex organic products like food will not be built by the early, all-diamond nanofactories. In fact, anything that can't be made exclusively from diamond will continue to be produced by traditional industries. But if I look around my house, it's difficult to find objects that can't theoretically be made from diamond - okay, maybe blankets, stuffed animals, mirrors, pasta, pineapples, and certain clothing can't be made out of diamond, but what can? But how about stoves, tables, chairs, televisions, lamps, lampshades, clocks, computers, storage units, pots, pans, walls, locks, and boxes? Quite likely. Most diamondoid products will be made of 99% air or vacuum and will be ballasted by water vapor, but they will serve their function.

Quick and efficient recycling for nanotech products is a must. A large household storage tank for temporary or permanent deposit or withdrawal of water, carbon, and other feedstock or byproducts will quickly become universal. This will be built into a new civic infrastructure.

All products will be fabricated with multiple inbuilt copies of its signed safety certificate and an associated key - a simple "watermark" that lets law enforcement know the legal status of the product while ensuring that product designers get to collect their well-deserved licensing fees. If a product is found to be dangerous, the associated key is revoked, and the product is either deactivated remotely or added to a warning list. To enable the immediate deactivation of any dangerous product, designs should incorporate emergency shutdown features that respond to broadcasts of revoked safety keys.


Nanotech economy

After the initial wave of diamondoid products will come new functionality - traditional materials like simulated wood, metal, ceramic, stone, and the huge polymer family, which includes all plastics. These optimized materials might be made of different molecules than the originals but will offer superior performance and safety while consuming fewer resources.

Investors will balk at the falling prices of real estate, raw materials, energy, and just about everything. To ensure that runaway hyperinflation does not occur will require a minimum price tag per kilogram of product in conjunction with a personal energy budget. Then comes the question - should everyone on Earth have the same allotted energy budget, or should it vary based on salary, education, productivity, reputation, honesty, or some other characteristic?

The world may need to make a choice between pure democracy and simple survival. To preserve the status quo and maximize continuity with the past, some system based on a combination of money in the bank and credit may be chosen. Or perhaps something more modern, like PageRank, where engineers and designers are assigned budgets based on referrals. Or a system closely tied to attention like Alexa.com, where the engineer's designs are judged based on the number of people aware of them - their "reach". Or, perhaps most appropriately, an unbiased, flexible inference engine that assigns projects preference and resources based on sophisticated volition-extrapolation models of every human individual. Science-fictional-sounding maybe, but nanotech will make it possible.

In order for the human race to go on, it needs to survive the nanotech era without too large of a disaster. As such, the probability of disaster should always be kept below a certain threshold. Varying acceptable disaster probability thresholds (DPTs) will ostensibly be voted upon by communities at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Ideally, different regulation sets will correspond to known DPTs. Stringent regulations minimize the probability of disaster, lenient regulations increase it.

Unfortunately the analyses underpinning these thresholds will no doubt be politically sensitive and value-laden. Because nanofactory issues will be global in scope, there will be strong pressure towards the interaction and unification of political parties across national lines. A global political party or even government could emerge.

Potential dangers will come from several main categories - chemical, biological, nuclear, and physical. Nanotech will deepen all these threats and magnify nascent dangers such as electromagnetic and virtual weaponry. Electromagnetic dangers will include satellite-based microwave beams and other forms of lethal and non-lethal directed energy. Virtual weaponry will include advanced Artificial Intelligence, robotics, and decision support systems.

We may see that the more dangerous products can be defined in terms of complexity rather than by size or energy consumption. This may lead to a personal complexity budget alongside an energy/matter budget.

The speed of new computers will be considered a problem. Extremely fast supercomputers running arbitrary code is dangerous. As a result, supercomputers should only run code signed by a safety authority. Computer scientists should require licenses to operate or manufacture supercomputers above a certain speed limit. This speed limit should be only slightly past the limits of conventional semiconductor technology - this is something like 100 times the power of today's computers, and should be sufficient for most purposes. Computers built using new operating principles, such as plasmonics, photonics, and DNA computing should also respect this speed limit. Quantum computing may prove hard to enforce limitations with. If it turns out that quantum computing allows rogues to easily design and simulate virtual or physical weapons, it could end up being forbidden altogether.

Personal computers should also have speed limits, also hovering slightly past the limit of conventional semiconductor technology. Hobbyists who desire crunch power for special projects will fabricate special-purpose computers that are only mechanically able to run certain safety-verified algorithms.


"Breakthrough" technologies

Even though nanotechnology itself is a revolutionary technology, it could give rise to even greater ways of controlling the structure of matter. This includes cybernetics, including human intelligence augmentation, and Artificial Intelligence. Limits should be placed on products designed to modify human biological characteristics. For ethics and safety reasons, steps in this direction should be taken slowly and carefully. Worldwide enforcement of these standards are a must. Because the proprietary nanofactory technology will presumably be universal, standard enforcement will be feasible if the machine is tamper-proof and only builds approved products.

If the world continues to be democratic in nature, the prospect of accelerating the human birth and growth cycle ("nano-fertility") could present itself as a strategy for certain countries or cultures to tip the scales in their favor. As a result, products designed to accelerate the cycle of pregnancy should be forbidden. The prospect of life extension (which should be regulated less stringently than pregnancy) will prompt the setting of a child limit in the civilized world - something like two or three children per couple. As women are educated, contraception becomes universal, and manual labor is less valued, developing countries will follow the trend.

The most interesting (and potentially destabilizing) prospect of cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence is the potential to create geniuses from average individuals using enhancement procedures, or to create human-rivalling AI from scratch. These forays should be limited until safety studies determine the best angle of approach.

#3 Reno

  • Topic Starter
  • Registered User
  • 584 posts
  • 37
  • Location:Somewhere

Posted 05 April 2006 - 02:26 AM

Every time a company tries to make their product proprietary someone or some group cracks the product and makes full use of it. To think that after such advances as "human intelligence augmentation" and the realization of AI that the cracking of nanotechnology won't happen is naive. The even greater threat is that governments and the organizations that create the first generations of nanotech decide to limit their abilities. Then you have groups experimenting in cracking these nanobots at the risk of making horrifying mistakes.

The truth is the "laws" should be more guidelines for general use. No law involving nanotechnology can be enforced. There will be no need for a capitalistic system. In a capitalistic system the main goal is to generate profit. Profit in tern allows you to get the things you need to survive. Food, shelter ect. With the aid of nanotechnology our food problem is solved over night. Entire crops can be grown and distributed in a matter of hours. Energy problems will become unheard of. After all the possible advancements in the quality of life, why would you want to stay on this crowded rock. The heavens are limitless and with the biological benefits of nanotechnology, what would stop someone from exploring? Earth will become more of a cradle for humanity as we expand to greater things.

Carl Marx said that only after capitalism had completely covered the world could a true socialist society arise. Capitalism is intended to generate wealth while socialism is intended to distribute it. Don't get me wrong, I’m not a communist, but i can see a day when there is no need for money. Because when there becomes no need for money, hunger, homelessness, and the poor will become labels of the past.

I think that you will see a mass change in the way members of humanity socialize with one another. What does it mean to be rich in today’s culture? It means to be free to do anything you want. If you want to go travel and see other countries and cultures you have the means to do so. If you want to drive every car ever made then you have the means and ability to do so. If you want to have a sex change and the plastic surgery to make you look like Barbie then you have the means to do so. I predict people become far more independent than they are in today’s society. I see groups of people only gathering when they want to rather than when they need to.

Giving nanotechnology to humanity will be like dumping a 10yr old in the forest with a handgun and a lighter to play survivor. Nanotechnology will be one of the biggest changes in human history. It will either make us or break us.

sponsored ad

  • Advert

#4 Live Forever

  • Registered User Recorder
  • 7,475 posts
  • 9
  • Location:Atlanta, GA USA

Posted 05 April 2006 - 03:21 AM

Giving nanotechnology to humanity will be like dumping a 10yr old in the forest with a handgun and a lighter to play survivor.


Just like my pappy used to do with me.

#5 MichaelAnissimov

  • Registered User
  • 905 posts
  • 1
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 05 April 2006 - 07:41 AM

If this outlined scenario doesn't work, benevolent dictatorship or Friendly AI are the only answers. I nominate myself in advance for the role of Supreme Earth Dictator.

We will all stay on this "crowded" rock because it's the only place within millions of light years that has Internet.

I feel that a conversion to communism is even less realistic than the model I outlined. People love to compete, and acquire any trophy that distinguishes them from the next guy. There may be a universal guaranteed income, though.

#6 Kalepha

  • Registered User
  • 1,140 posts
  • 0

Posted 05 April 2006 - 08:04 AM

I nominate myself in advance for the role of Supreme Earth Dictator.

I second that nomination. But these are my conditions:

1. Keep me informed with the newest and baddest optimization techniques so that I'm not a redundant information processing unit – do it for me or let me do it, whatever's cheaper
2. Let me have a perpetual downlink from the Command Center for Progress
3. Let me have a perpetual uplink to the Command Center for Progress so I can participate in servicing it with my optimized processing power
4. Satisfy 1-3 so that I won't hesitate to nominate you for Supreme Universe Dictator.

#7 bitster

  • Registered User
  • 29 posts
  • 0

Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:07 AM

This is a huge hot button of mine. I really need to summarize my thoughts on this somewhere in one place. I've thought quite a bit about it already.

Let me start with the idea of "Trusted Manufacturing", which is analogous to "Trusted Computing" as it's implemented today. "Digital Rights Management" is one application of TC. The problem with depending on a system analogous to digital DRM to ensure security is that DRM, to date, has very well-documented track record of FAILURE. Just ask Ed Felten. DRM DOES NOT WORK. Trusted computing doesn't prevent piracy. Why would Trusted Manufacturing prevent terrorism?

Let me take that back. DRM works quite effectively at certain things. They happen to be great disabling, disempowering, and restricting the freedoms of //legitimate// users of the system. They also keep the honest and the technically inept - well, honest, and technically inept. In that sense, DRM accomplishes nothing that wasn't already done.

What it doesn't do is foil determined attackers. It also does not significantly reduce the damage done when the system is broken. Plugging most of the holes in a dike may buy you a lot more time before the bathtub fills up - but only //if the water doesn't multiply exponentially after it gets through//. In fact, disempowering the general populace might just open them up to greater vulnerability when the breaks inevitiably occur. On September 11th, 2001, the only people who effectively prevented any destruction were not authoritative agencies; they were civilians armed with mobile phones (that they normally weren't permitted to use in flight!) on United flight 93.

I haven't seen any evidence that such "tamper-proof" mechanisms can be built. I'd love to see references to proposals for such systems. Even if they do work, social engineering and espionage targeted those who have legitimate access to the technologies will simply become the primary focus of attackers. Ask Bruce Schneier.

Any system that depends on denying information widely distributed to the general public rather than on managing the effects of negative consequences is destined to fail.

Now, with licensing, you're on to something. The reason that licensing, bonding, and insurance systems (and legal systems, in general) work is not so much that they actively prevent things from happening, but that they entail punitive consequences for those responsible. In DRM circles, we do see some sections of industry sheepishly recognizing this principle by trying to use watermarks in digital works that identify the customer (although these, also, are simple to defeat). //Accountability//, not control, is they key to balancing freedom and security.

I don't expect that private, personal nanofactories are a good idea. As an alternative, I suggest that production become, instead, a public act. Instead of giving everyone a vulnerable box they can tuck into their private homes, where who knows what kind of tinkering could be done, the factories should be in the public square, where their use can be meticulously surveilled and recorded by the public (and NOT just authorities).

This is an model that works very well to curb software piracy. Instead of trying to encrust software with copy-prevention that fail consistently, software vendors are now leveraging the Internet to run applications //on their own infrastructures// on behalf of customers. It's much easier the prevent the release of information into public hands //entirely// than it is to prevent access to information already in it.

I have much more to say on this, but I'll just post this point for now. More to follow...

--Nato

#8 bitster

  • Registered User
  • 29 posts
  • 0

Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:21 AM

If a product is found to be dangerous, the associated key is revoked, and the product is either deactivated remotely or added to a warning list. To enable the immediate deactivation of any dangerous product, designs should incorporate emergency shutdown features that respond to broadcasts of revoked safety keys.


You are just begging for a Denial of Service attack with this. Crack the signing key, and a malicious attacker will be able to deactivate all the products that respond to it.

Watermarking products to aid forensics, certainly. But don't introduce active complexity into products. As you note yourself, any complexity you introduce into the systems also adds brittleness and, more importantly, potentially greater vulnerability.

Legitimate authorities tend to be better able to leverage better //information// about potential threats than marginalized criminals. Conversely, criminals tend to be better able to leverage better //control mechanisms// than government.

--Nato

#9 bitster

  • Registered User
  • 29 posts
  • 0

Posted 05 April 2006 - 10:20 AM

I can'I can't help but be confused by the language you're using here, Michael. you say "will" a lot, but I can't tell whether you mean this in the sense of recommending it, or predicting it. If it's the former case, I find it difficult to imagine how we would find ourselves implementing and enforcing such prescriptions. If it's a prediction, I find it difficult to justify why you'd think it would necessarily happen that way. It makes it difficult to debate.

"The nanofactory company will grab a small percentage of the profit, but most will go to the developers."

How? This is the recording industry model. An oligopoly makes the lion's share of CD and DVD sales revenues, not the artists. Why would a state-sanctioned monopoly be any better?t help but be confused by the language you're using hear, Michael. you say "will" a lot, but I can't tell whether you mean this in the sense of recommending it, or predicting it. If it's the former case, I find it difficult to imagine how we would find ourselves implementing and enforcing such prescriptions. If it's a prediction, I find it difficult to justify why you'd think it would necessarily happen that way. It makes it difficult to debate.

"The company should take their product international at a balanced pace - slow enough to work out the bugs, fast enough to ensure that they stay on top of the competition. "

While I appreciate the novelty of a singularitarian suggesting we //slow down// the pace of technological development (and I agree a bit), I don't see how slowing it down would improve the ability to debug. I would imagine it would decrease the number of buggy products deployed in the field, though.

"Nanofactories are a sufficiently revolutionary technology that the first mover should be able to gain global dominance through competitive pricing and intelligent acquisitions. A unified company in charge of nanofactories will also simplify policy issues and guarantee the enforcement of universal security and safety standards."

Monopoly is good. Yeah. Sure. /sarcasm

"The nanofactory company will grab a small percentage of the profit, but most will go to the developers."

How? This is the recording industry model. An oligopoly makes the lion's share of CD and DVD sales revenues, not the artists. Why would a state-sanctioned monopoly be any better? IMHO, if we're looking to leverage all the advantages of a democratic state in managing the technology, you might as well just hand it to a government agency and be done with it. I know, I can here market fundies cringing as we speak...

"The data underlying the operation of nanofactories will not be open-source or reprogrammable. It will, however, be reviewed and continually redesigned by the brightest engineers and security experts in the industry. Made impervious to natural disasters, internal scanning, and reverse-engineering, "

See my previous post. Why do you think this is even possible?

"Investors will balk at the falling prices of real estate..."

Real Estate?! Of all the things nanofactories would make cheap (products, and energy in the form of solar panels, etc) I can't imagine how the value of land would be effected. Housing, certainly - but what about the land itself? Can you explain this in more detail?

"Extremely fast supercomputers running arbitrary code is dangerous. As a result, supercomputers should only run code signed by a safety authority."

This is just plain weird. Most supercomputers are simply networked clusters of smaller computers (hell, it works for the brain). if you put a speed limit on one computer, people will simply contrive to cluster unrestricted machines together. If this rule were taken seriously, I'd have to get my brain vector signed by this "authority" - probably multiple times per second!

I still think it's what a machine superintelligence can //effect// in the world, and not what it can //think//, that makes it dangerous. I find the AI-Box Experiment thoroughly unconvincing. It's nanotechnology that really makes AI dangerous - not the reverse.

"Worldwide enforcement of these standards are a must... If the world continues to be democratic in nature..."

These two phrases occur with but a single intervening sentence. I don't see how they can be reconciled. Draconian control measures like this ARE essentially a dictatorship. The benevolence of such a state will be a matter of interpretation.

on to bob's following post...

#10 bitster

  • Registered User
  • 29 posts
  • 0

Posted 05 April 2006 - 10:36 AM

"After all the possible advancements in the quality of life, why would you want to stay on this crowded rock."

Because a massive part of that quality of life comes from being with our fellow human beings.

"...i can see a day when there is no need for money."

Money is just a strategy for us to figure out how to distribute scarce stuff. Just because nanofactories will create abundances in things that are scarce now does not mean that EVERYTHING will be abundant. Once upon a time, we had prcious little information. now, we have TOO MUCH. Today, the scarce resource is attention - that ability to process information, and not so much the information itself. Scarcity is relative. For every resource that's made relatively abundant, there's some other resource that is made relatively scarce. That, then, becomes the focus of money.

Similarly, I don't necessarily think that the end of poverty, disease, and hunger will make us much less miserable. We'll find something to fret over regardless. This in no way means I think we shouldn't do away with these things, however!

#11 the_eternal

  • Registered User
  • 66 posts
  • 0
  • Location:Brisbane, Qld, Australia

Posted 05 April 2006 - 01:02 PM

Michael, in general I agree with what you've said, however many of bitster's points are valid.

Addressing some of the things you've said though:

The one that struck me first is the way that you say that the value of real estate will go down. I'm inclined to think that since the majority of other needs are taken care of people are much more like to put whatever funds they can into real estate and materials, massively driving their value up (which would fuel spending in space exploration). Our capitalist system will not disappear, at least not as long as we're human, because capitalism is just an extension of the specialisation that allows the world to function efficiently. What you'll see is a fall in the amount of money being paid in manufacturing (obviously) and massive increases in the amount of money being spent in services. That said nanotech may make certain services redundant, but if history is any guide people will find a way to make a profit off others. Until we can develop a perfect "sharing" mentality capitalism is here to stay.

In conclusion
- value of real estate and physical resources - short term, increase, long term, following expansion to NEO and the rest of the solar system and further, either static or gradual fall.
- manufacturing, obsolete within a number of years
- extension to lifespans, further outwards push due to increased demand on real estate and physical resources

I'll wait for a reply to bitster's posts before I go on any further.

#12 MichaelAnissimov

  • Registered User
  • 905 posts
  • 1
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 05 April 2006 - 01:19 PM

First of all, sorry about the unusual language. Like many futurists presenting policy recommendations, I present a mix of what I think will actually happen and what I want to happen.

Secondly, I'd love for you to read up a little bit on Friendly AI. This is what Singularitarianism is about - building a benevolent superintelligence. It's not about technological progress in general. It's about Friendly AI. Friendly AI that, if built, would solve all our problems, including aging, death, suffering, disease, war, and more. Solve all our problems. Solve all our problems. I like to repeat it, for emphasis.

All this speculation about licenses, certificates, keys, and other security buzzwords are just tools that humanity could use to stretch out its survival window another few weeks or months before someone builds human-indifferent AGI on a nanocomputer. I know that none of these things will actually work. And neither will any other plan that doesn't invoke transhuman intelligence to save us from ourselves.

Exclusively human societies, given exponentially accelerating technological capability, are predetermined to fail. Because they always create something stronger than themselves that doesn't care about them.

Now on the nanotech stuff... note that I doubt we'll be able to keep our current government in the case of nanofactory introduction. I'm not assuming that in this paper because you can only take on so many unpopular positions before people start labeling you a cultist.

DRM fails because the data is contained in a passive disc, which can be scanned. Nanoproduct designs will be contained within secure nanofactories. New designs will be downloaded from wireless Internet. The other reason for the computing power ceiling is that you will know how much computing power a hacker can throw into breaking a key. So the central authority encodes distributed designs with keys that are too complex to be broken in less than a billion years. That's why you can't break the keys. Quantum encryption is also possible.

How to secure the nanofactory? Ideally, the product data will be contained in a distributed storage pattern overlaid with lots of noise. So even if you blast apart the nanofactory and know where to look with an STM, you have no way of reading the data.

A nanofactory should have a diamondoid shell that repels all civilian firearms and power tools. It may bother intelligent people that they own a machine whose details they don't understand, and which can't be taken apart. This is something they will have to get used to, because an unrestricted nanofactory qualifies as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD).

Talking about the profit split between the original company and developers is a policy recommendation rather than a prediction. Remember that the company with enough foresight to invent nanotech will likely have advanced thinkers who understand the implications of the technology. So they won't be bad guys like the recording industry, but people like you and me. "Monopoly" is this scary big word that people use, but does it bother us that Google has an almost-monopoly on search?

Back again real quick to the tamper-proof issue. Remember that a nanofactory has extremely tiny active components. It is also mean to operate in vacuum. Meaning that exposure of the nanofactory to the outside causes immediately negative effects. To make a nanofactory extremely secure, the insides should be quickly heated to destroy all fine-level structure. This would happen in the event of the shell being breached, the vacuum being released, or foreign nanobots passing a certain critical threshold. The last one is the hardest to foil, but hopefully not that many people will have autonomous nanobots at this point.

Slowing down nanofactory introduction gives more time to think up security measures. That's what I mean by "debug".

If denying information widely distributed to the general public is destined to fail, then you can't have nanofactories. Alternatives include centralized factories that produce nanotech handouts and neutralize competing agencies, complete nano-anarchy, hidden optimisers that prevent the basic research from ever happening successfully, nanotechnological 'big men' who form ad hoc duchies and networks across international lines, etc.

When DRM fails, the recording industry gets pissed off, when nanotech securities fail, bad things happen.

Libertarians have some good ideas about free markets, but unfortunately they break down when you introduce nanotech.

Land values will plummet because everyone will have aircars that travel at supersonic speeds. Full-immersion telecommuting and teleconferencing will be possible. The amount of easily accessible land to any given individual will go from a radius of several dozen miles to several thousand miles. Sunny areas will be easy to colonize because large sunshades will be cheap. Icy areas will be easy to colonize because people will have subdermal heating systems and domes made of near-perfect insulators will be available.

The AI thing of course has to do with the smartness factor. It just seems like a machine in a box, but before you know it, it's recruiting millions of obedient slaves via IM, blogs, etc. Or manufacturing nanotechnology by ordering custom-synthesized proteins. Or creating manufacturing systems that begin with voltage fluctuations in the circuitry. Or whatever. The point is that it can think of something you didn't because it's smarter.

#13 MichaelAnissimov

  • Registered User
  • 905 posts
  • 1
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 05 April 2006 - 01:31 PM

I doubt that expansion into space will look as appealing to people in a nanotech society as it does to us. If you've ever been in a plane, you'll notice that most of the earth's land is empty. There are deserts, the jungles, the surface and bottom and middle of the oceans, the skies, mountains, and so on. The middle of Australia, Greenland, Siberia, Antartica, etc. This represents a massive quantity of land and sea that is resource-rich and ready for colonization.

Yes, people might put plenty of money into real estate and materials. I still think the price of land will plummet, while the average size of land parcel purchases will grow from a few acres to dozens of cubic kilometers. The total amount of funds in the sector will grow relative to before, but the scarcity of land will not be there. Supply will overwhelm demand.

Massive money will be spent on services and other things that nanotech effects less. Psychaitrists, prostitutes, drug dealers, masseuses, writers, interior decorators, et al will all do great.

Thanks for your businessman's perspective on this!

#14 lunarsolarpower

  • Registered User
  • 1,320 posts
  • 55
  • Location:BC, Canada

Posted 05 April 2006 - 05:26 PM

Reading through the OP I couldn't help but notice the similarities to controls put on software today. Some programs ship with USB dongles while others require the user to phone in and register their MAC address. However one point is certain: you cannot keep the hackers out indefinitely. My solution to the possible problem of unrestricted use of mature nanotech would be some kind of a libertarian trust federation system.

Put most simply, you would probably trust most of your friends and acquaintences to operate entirely unrestricted nanoassembers. However there are probably a few people who you would feel are too immature/unstable/whatever to be given that trust. In this world, you would be required to keep a network of at least 100 people who you would supply information on their safety to humanity on a regular basis to some kind of central trust network. Obviously this kind of solution still has problems such as stolen passwords/forged retinal scans (should be easy to do with nanotech).

The long-term solution will probably need to involve screening people and performing behavioral modification to those traits and tendancies that could be unduely harmful to others. If we've learned anything from the media companies' adventures in rights management, its that you can't keep a determined hacker out indefinitely. Even if a monolithic company did manage to maintain a stranglehold over their assemblers, someone somewhere would put together an open-source assember and the cat would be out of the bag.

With the advent of uploading redundant copies of mental images, and ever-present utility clouds, I think most of the risks of nanotech on the loose should be fairly small.

sponsored ad

  • Advert

#15 bitster

  • Registered User
  • 29 posts
  • 0

Posted 06 April 2006 - 12:14 AM

I //have// read it. If Friendly AI comes along, we have nothing to talk about now. I have plenty to say on that topic (and I need to re-read the material one more time), but it's off topic here.

Moving on...

I should make clear that I'm conflicted on the centralized factories issue. In thinking about this, I think it's important not just to visualize what we can or should do there, but to consider the fact that we have to get there //from here//. Here, in this case, is an American political system which largely overrun by industrial interests and irrational fear of terrorism.

The security issue is, I think, more than enough to justify public, central factories. That's a normative policy recommendation on my part (as much as I hate to espouse it). But there is also the issue of protecting the overbearing intellectual property rights of private industrial interests. If Hollywood has enough political influence to bribe politicians and essentially buy legislation that favors their market dominance (Sonny Bono Act, Digital Millenium Copyright Act, etc), then the Manufacturing sector will be orders of magnitude more powerful, because their revenues and employment numbers frankly DWARF the copyright cartel. Whenever nanofactories (or even macroscale recursive fabrication) begins to mount a significant threat to their marketshare, they will have the political influence they need to retain a lock on them. In addition, the image of the nano-terrorist boogey-man, amplified by our present irrational post-9/11 fearmongering national culture, will allow them to play the system RIGHT into their hands. So this isn't just a (reluctant) policy recommendation. It's also a prediction.

Aside from all this, the principle of accountability is what leads to the idea of production being a public act. After some thought, it is possible to imagine how one could apply that same model to desktop nanofactories. You begin to suggest this yourself, where the nanofactory keeps production records and energy budget accounts, etc. I compare that with the publically-surveilled centralized facilities, which are under surveillance 24/7, //not just when the nanofacs are being used//. So why not throw video surveillance on the desktop units, which would then keep track of what their users are up to around it? Of course, this would mean that the factories themselves are not suitable for use in the average private home - because, well, your privacy is gone. And that's the point. They may be portable and avaialable enough to cart into private spaces, but the fact is they're to dangerous to allow people //to use them privately//.

Another reason to do this is that, if you're insisting that people take home a black box that they are prohibited from knowing much about, you introduce real dangers of the creators hiding other kinds of nasty things in it in secret. Like, oh .... surveillance cameras! Meaning, cameras that only certain people have access to. By intentioanlly putting cameras into them //and announcing// their presence, people won't be lulled into a false sense of privacy. This problem is similar to that of voting machines.

"I'm not assuming that in this paper because you can only take on so many unpopular positions before people start labeling you a cultist."

You'd be surprised what people are getting away with these days.

You haven't addressed my objection to the computational speed limit issue. How do you propose to stop people from clustering slower, unrestricted computers to acheive the same capabilities?

Since you bring up quantum computers, I should point out that quantum computation appears to nullify all public key encryption applications, which has disastrous consequences not only for Trusted Manufacturing DRM, but also for Trusted Computing DRM, privacy, ecommerce... the works. My reasearch has turned up theoretical work that shows how QC can be applied to break every know asymmetric algorithm (ie, anything that doesn't require a single key), and none to the contrary.

As far as "quantum encryption" goes, it really isn't encryption as such. Quantum //Key Distribution//, aka Quantum key exchange, can be used to implement a subset of a cryptosystem involving the transmission of a symmetric key. Today, this is normally done by asymmetric encryption algorithms. The Achilles' heel of QKD is that it can't be done over the Internet; you have to have a complete uninterrupted optical circuit between sender and receiver, implying that a circuit switched fiberoptic network or a direct laser or microwave wireless link would be necessary. "quantum encryption" will do nothing to protect data already stored within the nanofactory - it protects communications.

It's interesting to talk about the intended effects of Intellectual Property. The US constitutional mandate for IP is intended to encourage innovation. Recently, there's been some extensive research published showing how the opposite is nearly always the case. Ironically, however, not only do we have to question whether or not IP licensing regimes really encourage or retard innovation - but we have to ask ourselves //which of those two outcomes we should favor//. The Constitution says we should speed it up. In that sense, there's a mandate to support the (Kurzweilian) singularity right there in the Constitution! Aside from that, though, we have to consider that //slowing it down// might be a prudent idea, and, perversely, the possibility that an Intellectual Property regime might just be the thing to do it! This is totally bizaare, but (or so) I thought I'd mention it.

""Monopoly" is this scary big word that people use, but does it bother us that Google has an almost-monopoly on search?"

YES, it does. Voicing privacy concerns is not just an obscure hobby practiced by marginalized loons, as your response suggests. As I said, if you're going to permit a monopoly anyway, in order to leverage the numerous advantages of centralization, strict government regulations, and technical standards, you might as well subject it more directly to democratic control (in theory, anyway sigh) by socializing the IP, design, R&D, etc., and making it a civic, rather than a private institution.

Have you any references to any serious engineering work done on tamper-proofing nanofactories, or is this just what you've imagined so far?

From here on out, I find us in agreement, except for the last paragraph. I'll leave that for some other time, though.

Thanks for your work, on this, Michael. It's fantastic to get people discussing these very important issues.

--Nato




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users