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March 27, 2010

Technology For 2010-2020 - Ramping to a Later Technological Singularity

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J Storrs Hall looks at what the Singularity look like with just nanotech (full out molecular nanotechnology) and narrow AI?

* Life Extension via molecular nanotech
* human level AI
* nanofactories enable the entire physical economy over into a Moore’s Law-like growth mode, eradicating hunger and poverty in a decade or two.
* Flying cars, space travel, ocean and space colonization
* robotics - capable and affordable for everyone

So how about before full blown molecular nanotechnology as well ? What would be the biggest potential impactors from now to 2020 ?

More capable and More types of Narrow Atomically Precise Nanotech
Growing capabilities in narrow (relative to full MNT very constrained but powerful in their own right) atomically precise nanotechnology and more new types emerging
* DNA nanotechnology
* carbon nanotubes
* graphene
* self assembly

Carbon nanotube production
* about 1000 tons per year now
* about 5000 tons per year in 2012
* about 20,000 tons per year in 2015
* about 200,000 tons per year in 2020

Self assembly could become a major part of next generation lithography and become multi-billion dollar industry.

Self assembled superlens

DNA nanotechnology is 3 dimensional and has DNA robotic manipulators and is being made hierarchical to scale up to produce larger structures.

DNA origami makes large area ordered arrays of nanoparticles.




Pre-MNT or almost atomically precise
* nanoparticles
* metamaterials
* quantum dots
* nanostructured materials
* nanocapacitors
* nanowires

Nanoparticles systemically deliver RNA into humans

Quantum dots helping to enable what should soon be room temperature spintronics

Quantum dot films for better cameras, displays and solar cells

Fundamental breakthrough enables to be made nanomaterials from previously incompatible materials

Designer nanomaterials can be created on demand

Quantum digital batteries (nanocapacitors) could have ten times the energy density of lithium ion batteries

Quantum engineering age can also have atomic neural nets

Other Powerful Technology
Substitute for functions that were predicted for Molecular nanotech
* powerful emerging technology or systems which functionally do a lot of what MM was expected to do

Not nanofactories yet but advancing additive manufacturing and emerging roll to roll manufacturing and other potential order of magnitude narrow manufacturing speedups.

Potential for massively accelerated printable electronics (carbon nanotube and graphene inks that do not compromise function).

3 micron X 3 micron Computer chips inside living cells and magnetic nanoparticles to makes shapes from many cells

MEMS enabled bloodstream robots.

Ferropaper could make printable micromotors

* ultracapacitors
* exaflop computers

Nuclear fusion, quantum computers and quantum effect technology
* nuclear fusion (iec fusion, focus fusion, tri-alpha energy, general fusion) [2015-2019]
* factory mass produced smaller nuclear fission reactors
* advanced additive manufacturing
* graphene computing and electronics
* cheaper, higher volume, improved superconductors
* lasers

Even nuclear fusion capabilities that are ten times or one hundred times less than what is needed for successful commercial nuclear fusion energy would enable revolutionary nuclear fusion space propulsion

I am confident that IEC fusion, Tri-alpha energy (FRC) Fusion and dense plasma focused fusion will succeed in commercial energy generation starting around 2015-2018

Superconducting 2G wire volumes will go up a lot and prices will go down.

5 year project to make boron doped superconducting wire (non-brittle unlike current wire and able to carry higher current)

High temperature superconductors will enable a 32 tesla magnet in 2012 and 48-100 tesla magnets in 2013-2020

Nanostructured superconductors will enable higher critical temperatures and other improved properties in superconductors

Going Back to the List of Things that MNT Could Deliver

How much of those things without General AI or General MNT ?

* [MNT] robotics - capable and affordable for everyone

Heartland robotics and other robot companies will expand robots from the million or so industrial robots and five million or so vacuum and other household robots. Volume increases and price reductions and multiple new niche robots. Prediction : Over 100 million robots by 2020.

* [MNT] Life Extension via molecular nanotech

Life extension via
- a version of Rapamycin without the bad effects
- printable organs and stem cells
- early detection and treatment of all forms of cancer and other diseases
- safe muscle enhancement (myostatin inhibition) which will also help burn calories and reduce obesity
- obesity treatments

* [MNT] human level AI
- million qubit quantum computers
- billions of simulated neurons and synapses.
memristor simulate synapses
- multiple exaflops from relatively conventional computers

* nanofactories enable the entire physical economy over into a Moore’s Law-like growth mode, eradicating hunger and poverty in a decade or two.

For broad economic impact this decade it will be nanoscience understanding of cement and metal which is already improving features.
Genetically enhanced agricultural production will also help.
Ultrabroadband will also help economic growth.
Supersmart cellphones with multi-gigabit wireless speeds with 90+% market penetration will help economic growth.

Continued high growth from China, India, most parts of Asia and Africa.

* [MNT] Flying cars, space travel, ocean and space colonization

VASIMR and Spacex and inflatable space stations will impact throughout the decade
Nuclear fusion space propulsion will develop over the decade and be used out in space at first
Flying cars are coming out this year but as a tiny toy of the wealthy niche. Doubling the small plane market (200,000) would be an accomplishment by 2020. Flying cars are limited to the number of people with the license to fly which is only a few hundred thousand. UAV robotic flight is needed to open up the market.

space travel, ocean and space colonization will all happen even if General MNT and AGI were late. But will be a decade or two slower without them. 2030-2050 would be when space colonization starts in ernest with nuclear fusion space planes.

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