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April 2nd, 2009
Chris Phoenix: In order to build substantial quantities of stuff, molecular manufacturing systems will probably rely on the ability of systems to fabricate more systems.
(Note that this does not mean that tiny self-contained robots will have to build more tiny self-contained robots. Small manufacturing systems will not be self-sufficient, simply because that would be substantially less efficient and harder to design.)
The point of molecular manufacturing is to use rather intricate molecular machines to fabricate stuff. There are other ways to fabricate stuff, such as bulk manufacturing and self-assembly. Bulk manufacturing is what we do today in human-scale factories, so I won't say more about it.
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