Sunday, February 11, 2007

Engines of Creation 2.0

WOWIO is offering Engines of Creation 2.0 for free download. I read the book (1.0 in paperback) about 6 years ago when I first got to grad school. It's definitely worth reading if you are interested in Nanotechnology and the implications of it. It you haven't read it, get it for free and read it from the PDF (you have to have an email address from a .edu, .mil, .gov, or .us address).

I have my own issues with molecular manufacturing and focusing on it (basically, I'm skeptical, it isn't what nanotechnology researchers actually do in the lab, and some of the predictions that are made on the effect to things like international relations, economics, and other fields completely out of the realm of science are pretty unsubstantiated and are wild speculation). But the book is important in understanding a lot of the discussion that goes on in discussing the future of nanotechnology (particularly where the Foresight Institute is involved).

Also, Ray Kurzweil's endorsement of the book, putting it on par with Newton's Principia is an extreme exageration of the impact of the book on science and the world. Furthermore (and of course I realize that they're trying to push the book), the book description also says that "Engines of Creation laid the theoretical foundation for the modern field of nanotechnology." Ummm... see my above comment about how nanotechnology as it is researched today is pretty far from what is laid out in the book. It probably doesn't help in educating the public about technology in general and nanotechnology in particular to use these types of hyperbole.

[Update] - I should note that I haven't yet read the introduction to the new edition but I've skimmed it and I will definitely have comments on it soon

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