X-Message-Number: 12293
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 09:26:58 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Nano-computers Reality Check

George Smith in his messages repeatedly refers to the "nano-computer
breakthrough." So far,  the only reference to this that I've seen is from a
N.Y. *Times* article of 16 July. The accomplishment *is* impressive, "simple
computing components no bigger than a single molecule," but it still has a
ways to go before even being useful, let alone ushering in the mature
nanotechnology that may be necessary (and sufficient) for resuscitating
today's frozen patients. The article itself quotes James Tour, "a Rice
University chemistry professor who is conducting similar molecular-scale
research": "This is an important stepping stone, but we still have a long
way to go. I don't want people to think that in three to five years we'll
have molecular electronics, but the interesting thing about this work is
that we can now see ways to scale past the limits of silicon."

My take on this is that it is one more development (like work with
telomerase or tissue engineering) that we can be optimistic about, but still
we should not go overboard and *assume* it is the Great Breakthrough that
will save us all. Maybe it will indeed prove to be that--but being firmly
convinced now is overconfidence. More to the point for us cryonicists, we
still need our own research efforts. Maybe they will turn out to be not so
important after all. But we don't know that and until we do, the research
must continue.

Mike Perry

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