e-book: Engines of Creation

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ENGINES of CREATION | Chapter 15: Worlds Enough, and Time

February 21, 2001
author |
K. Eric Drexler

The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.
JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES

I HAVE DESCRIBED how advances in chemistry and biotechnology will lead to assemblers, which will bring nanocomputers, replicators, and cell repair machines. I have described how advances in software will lead to automated engineering and artificial intelligence. Together, these advances will make possible a future rich in possibilities, one of which is our own destruction. If we use fact forums and hypertext to strengthen our foresight, we may nonetheless avoid annihilation and move forward – but toward what?

ENGINES of CREATION | Chapter 4: Engines of Abundance

February 21, 2001
author |
K. Eric Drexler

If every tool, when ordered, or even of its own accord, could do the work that befits it… then there would be no need either of apprentices for the master workers or of slaves for the lords.
- ARISTOTLE

ON MARCH 27, 1981, CBS radio news quoted a NASA scientist as saying that engineers will be able to build self-replicating robots within twenty years, for use in space or on Earth. These machines would build copies of themselves, and the copies would be directed to make useful products. He had no doubt of their possibility, only of when they will be built. He was quite right.

ENGINES of CREATION | Chapter 8: Long Life In An Open World

February 21, 2001
author |
K. Eric Drexler

The long habit of living indisposeth us for dying.
Sir THOMAS BROWNE

CELL REPAIR MACHINES raise questions involving the value of extending human life. These are not the questions of today’s medical ethics, which commonly involve dilemmas posed by scarce, costly, and half-effective treatments. They are instead questions involving the value of long, healthy lives achieved by inexpensive means.

ENGINES of CREATION | Chapter 9: A Door To The Future

February 21, 2001
author |
K. Eric Drexler

London, April 1773.
To Jacques Dubourg.
Your observations on the causes of death, and the experiments which you propose for recalling to life those who appear to be killed by lightning, demonstrate equally your sagacity and your humanity. It appears that the doctrine of life and death in general is yet but little understood…   I wish it were possible… to invent a method of embalming drowned persons, in such a manner that they might be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to an ordinary death, being immersed with a few friends in a cask of Madeira, until that time, then to be recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But… in all probability, we live in a century too little advanced, and too near the infancy of science, to see such an art brought in our time to its perfection…
I am, etc.
- B. FRANKLIN.

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