Nanotechnology and the Economy
By Arnold Kling
Nanotechnology would make it possible for 100 billion people to live sustainably at a modern American standard of living, while indoor agriculture using high-efficiency inflatable ten-pound diamond greenhouses would help restore the world’s ecology. The ultimate limit to economic growth seems to be heat pollution, the waste energy radiated away from nanotech devices.
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I am becoming increasingly bullish on materials science and nanotechnology as solutions to problems of energy conservation, energy production, and health care. I am becoming somewhat bearish on attempts to use the genome in health care. With genomics, I am more struck by the complexity of the problems than by the impact of the solutions. It sort of reminds me of the people putting together computer models of the economy in the 1970’s, when optimists claimed that with enough equations, enough complexity, and enough computing power they could get it right. That research program proved to be mostly a disappointment.
For Discussion. How many years away is the nanotech future described at the conference on which Bailey reports?