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Engines of Creation, by K. Eric Drexler (1986) (wikipedia.org)
19 points by nynx on July 28, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

One of the great scams of the late 20th century.



His comment is a suggestion to read the linked article, which takes the position that Drexler wasn't simply too optimistic in his futurism, but willfully misleading about the technology. Everyone loves a good story, and Drexler was happy to sell one.

I do not think you read the link. It is not about Drexler, but P. T. Barnum, which does not seem an apt comparison.

Few would claim molecular assemblers are physically impossible. Drexler made claims about what was possible under physical law. They are pretty conservative.

I don’t think he ever pretended to having technology he didn’t have.

I do think Drexler committed the grave sin of writing a book for popular consumption. He should have published Nanosystems first and waited decades before writing Engines of Creation.

Both books are the sheerest science fiction. Drexlerian "you can't prove I can't build this" is eternal goal poasting. Yeah, I can't prove someone won't eventually discover anti-gravity, faster than light travel or little green men in flying saucers. That doesn't mean serious people should waste even a second thinking about such nonsense.

Now a days, Drexler seems to make a living opinionating on "hard AI" -similar level of vaporware. I mean, whiggism is the default national religion of the US and the West in general, and I guess we need our preachers, but his career is preposterous, and the ideas he peddles are beyond snake oil.

FTL and antigravity violate physical law. Drexler’s designs just don’t. Point me to a design in Nanosystems the that is physically impossible to construct.

The point of Nanosystems was to explore what technologies are feasible given our current understanding of physics at that scale. It turns out there is a lot of latent potential there.

Both FTL and antigravity have about more evidence in their favor (white juday interferometers, while probably bullshit, are at least physical) as nanotech.

Have you ever tried to read Drexler's PhD "thesis"? It looks like someone stapled about five "Here's What I Read Last Summer" book reports together.

Yes I did; I wasted some time during my struggles with my own dissertation reading all of Drexler's gorp. It was hilarious. It's mind boggling to me he invented a "subject." I know guys with a Ph.D. in nanotech. One of them is a very talented GPU programmer who is embarrassed about the whole thing.

I think this was meant for a different discussion. There was also a post about P.T. Barnum

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