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

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


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  • Copyright 2008
  • Dimensions: 6" x 9"
  • Pages: 272
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-244643-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-244643-3

"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

  • Explains the core principles and tools that are increasingly driving scientific and technical progress
  • Previews today's rapidly converging revolutions in cognitive science: from psychology to linguistics, artificial intelligence to anthropology
  • Tours the shifting border between nanotechnology and biotechnology

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.

  • Discover new breakthroughs in measuring, manipulating, and organizing matter at the nanoscale and the implications of those advances
  • See why science fiction's view of nanotechnology is wrong and why the truth is even more exciting
  • Preview new technologies built on the principles of cognitive science and enabled by nanotechnology
  • Learn how nanotechnology may save Moore's Law, allowing computers to double in power every year for the next two decades
  • Discover why nanoconvergence may spark a renaissance in the social sciences
  • Examine the potential impact of scientific and technological convergence on human society and diversity

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Introduction to Convergence at the Nanoscale

Table of Contents

Preface  xiii

About the Author   xix

Chapter 1 Convergence at the Nanoscale  1

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
References  22

Chapter 2 Visions and Illusions  25

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
Nanopanic  44
Conclusion  46
References  47

Chapter 3 Information Technology  51

Moore's Law  51
Sensors  58
Quantum Computing  60
The Information Technology Research Initiative  63
Grand Information Technology Challenges  68
Conclusion  74
References  76

Chapter 4 Biotechnology  81

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
Conclusion  106
References  107

Chapter 5 Cognitive Technology  113

The Two Faces of Cognitive Science  113
Cognitive Convergence  117
The Prehistory of Cognitive Technologies   124
Neurotechnology  128
The Communicator  133
Conclusion  136
References  137

Chapter 6 Unification of Science  143

Creating Convergers  143
Eight Principles for Convergence  149
Conservation  150
Indecision  151
Configuration  152
Interaction  153
Variation   153
Evolution   154
Information  155
Cognition  155
Ethical Principles   156
Social Relations   159
Behavioral Social Science  163
Conclusion   168
References  169

Chapter 7 Unity in Diversity  175

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
Conclusion  200
References  201

Chapter 8 The Final Frontier  207

The Giant Leap  207
The Realities of Interplanetary Travel  211
The Solar System   215
Personality Transfer  222
What Is to Be Done?   228
Conclusion   231
References  232

Index   239


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