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Home > Interviews > Don Davis - December 2001

Don Davis Interview December 2001

The following is an interview with Don Davis, Space Artist and Animator. Don is well known for his wonderful and realistic space images, and is considered one of the foremost artists of astronomical art. He also served as a consultant for the galaxy scenes in the movie Contact, and won an EMMY award for his ground-breaking work in the classic PBS series COSMOS. He is one of the featured artists in Iasos' video program "Crystal Vista". Check out his remarkable work, at his own site, here at IASOS' site, and here at the "Public Domain Works Done For NASA.

Regarding Nanoscale Sciences, here are this year's Questions:

1. Considering where you thought we'd be by 2002, how do you evaluate current technological progress?

In space exploration I have seen the retreat from any human presence beyond low earth orbit very dissapointing. I don't know enough about nanotechnology to judge how the realization has compared with the potentual in that field.

2. Any surprises, in terms of developments arriving sooner than expected, or totally unexpected findings?

The biggest surprise is how one cannot count on continued progress in science and technology, and the relative stagnation in the appearence of things like new aircraft prototypes as compared with 50 years ago.

3. In your opinion, who are the top 5 major players advancing the state of the art? And the 5 major areas where advances are being made.

I can only name two people, Hans Morovec and Eric Drexler

4. Besides getting themselves informed about MNT, what proactive steps can the general public take to help us steer clear of the potentially dangerous possibilities [such as the Gray Goo or "runaway" scenario]?

If there is a significent risk associated with such developments some method must be found to isolate the possible damage of a runaway scenario similar to the precautions taken in biologically hazardous work. Isolation of a facility in a space station at a libration point might be called for in extreme cases, such as could concievably be required to protect our biosystem from Martian life in returned samples.

6. Based upon where we are now, do you anticipate any dramatic breakthroughs in the near future? In 5 years. In 10. In 25.

Who knows? I still keep waiting for fusion power, perpetually dangled before us as 20 years away...

7. With the advent of mature MNT, where do you see the most drastic changes occurring?

Warfare, as a kind of mechanical plague against people and machines. If it is possible to produce clinically reliable treatments for various medical conditions so much the better, but it is easier to destroy than to build. War always benefits first and most from technological advances.

How can society and industry prepare for it?

who knows?

8. What event has caused you the greatest concern?

The use of technology to snoop on people and ferret out those practising forbidden beliefs and lifestyles in order to persecute them.

and the greatest hope?

Electronic communications providing the means for people to network and obtain news independently of the corporate ruled media outlets.

or is the most contentious?

The drowning out of real information amid the babble of fringe conspiracy tales and belief inspired agendas.

If you have a comment, please us.

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