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December 30th, 2006
How long to the Star Trek replicator?
On Star Trek, the advent of the replicator makes money irrelevant, since anyone can have whatever they want. Somehow, that seems a bit Utopian to me, since the financial foundations of nanotechnology rest firmly on the profit-driven investment by venture capitalists. At some point, scarcity will become totally irrelevant, but I imagine that we'll see more than a few people along the way try to declare that there is enough manufacturing capacity in industrially operated nanotech systems, basically that all we need is "mainframe" nanomanufacturing, just as we once heard that no one will need a computer in the home. Of course, the people making those arguments will own the systems they say are sufficient to serve everyone—at a reasonable profit, of course.
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