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"William Bainbridge is an original thinker who navigates easily from social sciences to emerging technologies and societal aspirations. In this book, he brings to the reader all that is essential in the historic and rapid change toward science and technology convergence."
—Mihail C. Roco, Ph.D., original chairman of the U.S. National Science and Technology Council's subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology, key architect of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, and currently senior advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation
"This book provides a sweeping, yet intimate, overview of an important, emerging area of science and technology—nanotechnology and its convergence with other areas of science and engineering. In Nanoconvergence we are provided with a view of these developments as seen through the lens of the world of William Sims Bainbridge, a visionary scientist and scholar, who has helped to frame and nurture nanoconvergence. His personal history and interests are endlessly fascinating, and include science fiction, space flight, religious cults, videogames, and a host of other areas and topics. His knowledge is extraordinary and includes expertise in the field of nanotechnology and related sciences, including biology, cognitive, behavioral and social science, and information technology. Further, he knows many of the players, including some who were mentors, others who are colleagues, and others whose funding he supervised. The strength of this book is the strength of Bainbridge's extensive, connected network, rooted in scientific, technological, and societal concerns.
It is rare to find someone who brings to the table such breadth and depth of knowledge, spanning so many of the sciences, from physics through cognition. Bainbridge is a Renaissance man who is helping to both create and elucidate the potential future worlds that confront us. Ultimately, he is a visionary who is building a roadmap for a future that we can all help to shape. He is to be commended for sharing both this map and his journey with us."
—Philip Rubin, Ph.D., CEO, Haskins Laboratories
"In a world of increasing specialization, Bainbridge offers a refreshing alternative perspective of the way nanoconvergence will help unify disparate areas of knowledge and fuel a next generation of innovation. The integration of historical and forward-looking insights, firmly grounded in the people and projects of the present, made this an enjoyable read. With Nanoconvergence, Bainbridge joins the ranks of the few authors who have succeeded in integrating insights from far flung fields of science and technology into a compelling human story."
—James C. Spohrer, Ph.D, Director, Services Research and Innovation Champion, IBM Almaden Research Center
The Next Scientific and Technological Revolution, and What It Will Mean to You
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.
In Nanoconvergence, William Sims Bainbridge tours the future of science and technology in plain, nontechnical English. Bainbridge draws on an extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge, based on his unique role at the epicenter of the nanoconvergence revolution. He successfully integrates insights from far-reaching scientific fields into a compelling human story—offering powerful insights you can use to plan your career, seek new investment opportunities, or simply understand what's coming next.
About the Author xix
The Meaning of "Nano" 1
Nanotechnology and Scientific Progress 4
Technological Convergence 9
Application Areas 15
Radical Transformations 17
The Plan of This Book 19
Imagination and Impossibility 25
Birds Can't Fly to the Moon 26
Cold Facts 28
Science Fiction 29
Drexler's Vision 35
Alchemy at the Nanoscale 42
Moore's Law 51
Quantum Computing 60
The Information Technology Research Initiative 63
Grand Information Technology Challenges 68
Nanotechnology from the Perspective of Biology 81
Nano-Bio Convergence 83
The Problem of Cancer 87
Paths to Nano-Bio Innovation 89
Agriculture and the Environment 92
Evolutionary Methods: Computing and Culture 95
Improving Human Performance 103
The Two Faces of Cognitive Science 113
Cognitive Convergence 117
The Prehistory of Cognitive Technologies 124
The Communicator 133
Creating Convergers 143
Eight Principles for Convergence 149
Ethical Principles 156
Social Relations 159
Behavioral Social Science 163
Critics of Convergence 175
Looking Forward 180
Family and Reproduction 181
Culture and Personality 183
Societal Institutions 186
Science, Health, and Environment 188
How Will the World Be Governed? 189
A New Science of Services 195
The Giant Leap 207
The Realities of Interplanetary Travel 211
The Solar System 215
Personality Transfer 222
What Is to Be Done? 228