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Home > Introduction > Articles > Chris Phoenix

The following are papers written by Chris Phoenix & published by Nanotechnology Now:

Chris Phoenix CRN

Science, Nanotechnology, and Responsibility
Abstract: Despite several scary ideas such as "gray goo", nanotechnology is still at the level of basic science. No one, not even the scientists involved, can predict what mix of good and bad will come from any basic science discovery. Nanotechnology researchers are already taking responsibility for avoiding forseeable dangers. Unexpected dangers cannot be avoided without forbidding all scientific research--a clear impossibility. When Fleming discovered that a certain mold killed bacteria, how could he know whether he had found an antibiotic or a weapon? Dangerous discoveries cannot be prevented by regulating scientific activity, since we do not know what to regulate; we would pay a high price in ignorance, and be unprepared for the bad stuff that less responsible people will be developing. (~3000 words)

Ethical Administration of Nanotechnology
Abstract: Nanotechnology will create too many benefits and problems to be administered by any one organization or system of rules. This paper surveys the various types of institutions that will be needed and the issues each can address, and recommends the creation of a specific nanotechnology infrastructure so that all institutional types can work together. (~3200 words)

Ten-Year Assembler Timeline and Weather Forecast
Abstract: Like most things in nanotech, assemblers are a big topic.  Is an assembler even possible?  What do we need to do to develop them?  Who is working on them?  When will we have them?  And what will we be able to do with them? (~1880 words)

Three Systems Of Ethics For Diverse Applications
Abstract Any organization must choose its system of ethics carefully to fit the problem being addressed.  A new Information system has appeared in the last half-century, creating possibilities beyond the two traditional systems, Guardian (governmental) and Commercial. (~3980 words)

Critique of Michael Crichton's Prey
Summary: Although loosely built on real science, Crichton's scenario is completely implausible; don't let Prey scare you.

Abstract: In Prey, Michael Crichton attempts to make the case that nanotech is inherently scary and dangerous. However, things couldn't happen in real life the way they do in his story. This review analyzes numerous errors in science, logic, and fact that pervade and cripple Crichton's argument. Don't trust any author who thinks that thermite explodes, glass is porous, and evolution can happen without reproduction. In the real world, nanotech may in fact pose some dangers--but you can't learn anything about it from reading Prey.

Critique of William Atkinson's Nanocosm
Summary:  Nanocosm is inaccurate about science, nanoscience, and nanotech.

Abstract: William Atkinson has an agenda. This self-described "professional rhetoretician" (p. 134) has written a book on the emerging science of nanotechnology, with special emphasis on debunking. The reader will learn many details about science and nanoscience--and much of it will be wrong.

Science vs. engineering vs. theoretical applied nanotechnology
Chris Phoenix, Director of Research, the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. May 01, 2004

   Other Papers by Chris Phoenix:

Molecular Manufacturing: Start Planning
Summary: Despite claims to the contrary, molecular nanotechnology manufacturing is coming soon.

Safe Utilization of Advanced Nanotechnology
Summary: Unrestricted use of nanotech could be very dangerous in several ways. A nanofactory manufacturing system provides a convenient point for restricting unsafe use.

Nanotechnology and Life Extension
Summary: As diseases are cured, causes of death will be avoided; as people make use of technology to improve their health, they will find themselves living longer--perhaps much longer.

Vasculoid: A Personal Nanomedical Appliance to Replace Human Blood with Robert A. Freitas Jr.
Summary: The vasculoid is a single, complex, multisegmented nanotechnological medical robotic system capable of duplicating all essential thermal and biochemical transport functions of the blood, including circulation of respiratory gases, glucose, hormones, cytokines, waste products, and cellular components.

Author's bio:

Chris was born on Christmas Day, 1970.  As soon as he could think, he became interested in how things work, buying a pair of binoculars to look at electrical power lines, reading and re-reading a book on engines, and spending hours tinkering with digital electronics.  In school he preferred to skip recess and write programs on the library's computer.

Chris' interest in nanotechnology began when he took Eric Drexler's class "Nanotechnology and Exploratory Engineering" at Stanford University in 1988.  He has followed the field continuously since then, attending numerous nanotech conferences, contributing frequently to several on-line discussion lists, and helping to review a major book and a Ph.D. thesis on nanotech.  He is a Senior Associate of the Foresight Institute and co-moderator of the sci.nanotech newsgroup.

After graduating from Stanford with an M.S. in Computer Science in 1991, Chris worked as an embedded software engineer for six years, then changed careers to dyslexia correction and research on dyslexic perceptual changes. In 2002 he co-founded the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, CRNano.org, and is now working on that full-time.

Chris is interested in almost everything, especially if it's related to science, technology, biology, psychology, sociology, or geopolitics.

His web site is http://www.xenophilia.org


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