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IBM’s 35 atoms, the rise of nanotech, Synthetic brains and solar power

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35 Atoms manipulated

35 Atoms manipulated

Maybe we should redefine Moore’s law a bit, and think technological progress as a something that may well jump in huge quantum leaps.

Moving 35 atoms, and the subsequent 20 years of research in nanotech is one of them, with implications that are so profound that we can hardly grasp them.

I am sure nanotech will enable neuro science to achieve a milestone called a 1:1 copy of the human brain (The Guardian, http://tinyurl.com/l6x4lh). The impact will be a liberation of the work force to be substitute with “tools”, at this time with some resonances to Blade runner (if its a brain, it feels and thinks. Does it then have rights?)

It is not the first time the work force has been liberated.

The last time it happened, with the steam engine, it replaced feudalism with its industrial revolution. The “above the law class” of aristocrats went out of power. Production boosted exponentially, life expectancy boosted and a new political system was invented, granting more freedom to its people – first with the American civil war and French revolutions.

The liberation of the work force has always happened by technological advancement. Think the wheel, the plow and add the steam engine. In this way, the Internet and IT has already done its share of liberating the work force and changing democracy thru the last 20 years.

Imagine that the machine no longer requires humans.

However, the major changes are tied to the cost of energy. The plow optimized production because it tapped into an energy source which was not yet exploited: that of cows, horses, donkeys. The steam engine tapped into coal and converted it to mechanical energy.

The next major change of our world will happen when probably nanotech solves – in a quantum leap – the problems of battery technology and photo voltaic solar panels: how to make batteries smaller, cheaper and lasting longer. How to make solar panels cheaper and catching more energy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell nad http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy).

These black dots could power the worlds energy need today with photovoltaic solar power

These black dots could power the worlds energy need today with photovoltaic solar power

All things considered, in the next twenty years, we will see a substitution of photovoltaic energy with oil. In a hundred years, I will bet you its a complete substitution.

The important point in that is: electric energy – energy – will move towards a price which is zero.

Once that happens – and energy is efficiently stored in batteries incl. fuel cells – you can waive bye bye the to world as you know it.

http://www.dailyglobal.com/2009/09/ibms-35-atoms-and-the-rise-of-nanotech/

Written by Bernino Lind

September 29, 2009 at 7:35 am