Mike Treder looks back over the first five years of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology's work, and draws some conclusions about where we are and where we're going in the field of nanotechnology:
There is a huge difference between saying that nanofactories will be developed someday and saying that they will be developed soon. We have based our appeals to policy makers and to the public on the idea that immediate action was needed. Originally, we claimed that the technology “might become a reality by 2010, likely will by 2015, and almost certainly will by 2020.” Recently we revised that projection to say “might become a reality by 2010 to 2015, more plausibly will by 2015 to 2020, and almost certainly will by 2020 to 2025.”
It’s interesting to note that while CRN’s time frame for the expected development of molecular manufacturing has shifted back by approximately five years, the mainstream scientific community’s position has been moving forward, from a point of ‘never’, to ‘maybe by the end of the century’, to ‘not until at least 2050’, and now to ‘perhaps around 2030 or so’. These projections might not yet match up exactly with CRN’s, but the gap is steadily shrinking.
So, we’re seeing agreement about feasibility, and a convergence around the likely time frame.
These guys do excellent work . I think nanotechnology is one of the wildcards in the debate about the planetary future and I track CRN to keep up with what I need to know. I recommend you do the same.