Diamondoid Mechanosynthesis Proponents Respond to Spectrum Article

Proponents of the concept of the Singularity and molecular manufacturing continue to let their displeasure be known about Spectrum''s series of articles on the Singularity last June.

Apparently, Robert Freitas and Ralph Merkle of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing submitted a response to Spectrum regarding Professor Richard Jones'' article ''Rupturing the Nanotech Rapture'', but it was not published because as Nanodot suggests ''Spectrum has chosen to publish only one of the responses it received on this topic.''

Hopefully the links I have provided to the letter in this blog entry (contained within the web pages of Spectrum by the way) have righted this perceived wrong to some extent.

The response catalogues how all the obstacles Jones identified for the mechanical engineering approach to molecular manufacturing have been addressed, if not overcome. But it does so by first offering a straw-man argument against Jones by contending that he presented these as ''showstoppers''.

But perhaps the most disheartening aspect of Freitas'' and Merkle''s response is the contention there has been ''zero'' research in the field of mechanosynthesis over the last 15 years because of a lack of funding. This is proposed at the end of the letter to counter Jones, who apparently contends that there had been 15 years of ''intense research'' on diamondoid nanomachinery.

This point is troubling because they appear to be so intent at unraveling Jones'' argument that they are willing to discount the last 15 years of their lives and the thick tomes they have published arguing for diamondoid mechanosynthesis during that time.

I think it may come as a blow to the unwavering proponents of molecular manufacturing that their heroes have not been actually performing research into the field, but merely publishing speculative papers''dare we say engaging in ''hobby pursuits''.

Let''s hope the funded research that Freitas and Merkle cite will look back at itself in 15 years with a little higher self-regard.


Tech Talk

IEEE Spectrum’s general technology blog, featuring news, analysis, and opinions about engineering, consumer electronics, and technology and society, from the editorial staff and freelance contributors.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the Tech Alert newsletter and receive ground-breaking technology and science news from IEEE Spectrum every Thursday.