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e6.1 - *particle group* Berlin Script
*particle group* Berlin Script
*particle group* Berlin Script
*particle group* Berlin Script
*particle group* Berlin Script
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Berlin Nanoscript: Act Three

Dr. Ludin:
"We wish we could take grey goo off the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology's list of dangers, but we can't. It eventually may become a concern requiring special policy. Grey goo will be highly difficult to build, however, and non-replicating nano-weaponry may be substantially more dangerous and more imminent."

We identified several severe risks.

Economic disruption from an abundance of cheap products

Economic oppression from artificially inflated prices

Personal risk from criminal or terrorist use

Personal or social risk from abusive restrictions

Social disruption from new products/lifestyles

Unstable arms race

Collective environmental damage from unregulated products

Free-range self-replicators (grey goo)

Black market in nanotech (increases other risks)

Competing nanotech programs (increases other risks)

MORE CAN BE IMAGINED

Some of the dangers described here are existential risks, that is, they may threaten the continued existence of humankind. Others could produce significant disruption but not cause our extinction. A combination of several risks could exacerbate the seriousness of each; any solution must take into account its effect on other risks. Some of these risks arise from too little regulation on a global scale.

Dr. Dominguez:
Working nanotechnology will be a significant breakthrough, comparable perhaps to the Industrial Revolution-but compressed into a few years. This has the potential to disrupt many aspects of society and politics. The power of the technology may cause two competing nations to enter a disruptive and unstable arms race. Weapons and surveillance devices could be made small, cheap, powerful, and numerous. Cheap manufacturing and duplication of designs could lead to economic upheaval. Overuse of inexpensive products could cause widespread environmental damage. Attempts to control these and other risks may lead to abusive restrictions, or create demand for a black market that would be very risky and almost impossible to stop; small nanofactories will be very easy to smuggle, and fully dangerous. There are numerous severe risks-including several different kinds of risk-that cannot all be prevented with the same approach. Simple, one-track solutions cannot work. The right answer is unlikely to evolve without careful planning.

Dr. Carroll (recorded):
When Lily was lucky, she got a contract for weapons. The pay was good because it was dangerous. The weapons would come gushing suddenly out of her with much loss of blood, usually in the middle of the night: an avalanche of glossy, freckled, somewhat transparent bits of weapon goo-particles, each one with a number of soft blue eyes and rows of bright sharp teeth. No matter how ill or exhausted Lily felt, she would shovel them, immediately, into rusted tin cans or milk cubes and tie down the lids with auto-clean tape. If she didn't do that, immediately, if she fell asleep, the particles would eat her. Thrashing in their containers as she carried them down the steps, the particles would speed eat each other, till nothing was left-the last one left would always eat itself-"the highest state of artificial evolution," her sister would whisper to her before the accident. She would have to hurry, shuffling as fast as she could under the weight of so many containers, to the Neighbors. The Neighbors only paid her for the ones that were left alive. It was piecework.

Dr. Ludin:
It's a Small World After all-Nanoera Inc.

Dr. Dominguez:
Particle Capitalism does not represent a new phase of capitalism in a temporal sense-yet, at the same time there is an uncanny sense that something new is happening here.

Dr. Ludin:
Your Matter Is Our Market-NanoMiX Corp.

Dr. Dominguez:
Particle Capitalism is not just an encroachment of capital on a new domain of science. But that this new domain of precise atomic and molecular manipulation is now being constituted as a business plan about what constitutes material reality-as just another tale of the matter market.

Dr. Ludin:
Reassembling Your World One Atom at a Time-NanitesNow Inc.

Dr. Dominguez:
Particle Capitalism functions as unregulated form of venture science that implodes the ethos of science to the valuation of life-as-matter with the valuation of the market.

Dr. Ludin:
Market Catch Your Self-NanoCatch Inc.

Dr. Dominguez:
Recombinant society falls quickly before nano-fest destiny. Biotechnology, like digital networks, becomes a side event before the next state of command and control society. Each of us will rapidly become the by product of artificial nanotechnology "vitamins", interdependent molecular subassembly engines, and marked by inter-linked "termination dates." We will become more than replicants and less than nothing. The cross-roads between the imaginary and all too real construction of nanotechnology is perhaps already behind us.

Dr. Ludin:
In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the machines.

Dr. Dominguez:
Not much difference between a banana and a human. Same Atoms, just arranged differently.

Dr. Ludin:
Not much difference.

Dr. Dominguez:
Not much difference at all.

(Both lab workers shut down their computers, eat a banana, and walk away.)

Prelude | Act One | Act Two | act three