Michael Anissimov: Dale, the reason you consider nanotech capacities hyperbolic is because you don't even believe that MM is possible… [W]hy do you write hundreds of pages of politically motivated material but yet don't even read the simple introductory papers on MM at this site and comment on them? Why don't you ever post at your blog on whether you believe MM is possible or not, and if so, in what timeframe?
As is usual for sublimely overconfident Superlative Technophiliacs, Anissimov seems to assume that the only reason I have different opinions and priorities than his own is because I haven't read "even... the simple introductory pages" that delineate the perspective he finds so compelling. I want to assure Michael that our differences are likely less attributable to the fact that I haven't read and understood the material that has so edified him, but that I have read and understand more than that material. Also, I am curious that Anissimov characterizes my writing as "politically motivated," as if in this it differs from his own or can be reduced only to its political dimension. All very facile and typical, I'm afraid. Be that as it may, here is how I responded to Michael's comment (more politely, I hope) at the CRN Website itself:
"Dale, the reason you consider nanotech capacities hyperbolic is because you don't even believe that MM is possible."
Michael, why respond to words you put in my mouth yourself rather than things I say myself?
It's true that I am not content to confine my thinking of emerging problems and opportunities associated with nanoscale technique always only to the very particular scenario Superlative Technologists have come to invest in Drexlerian molecular manufacturing. It's also true that I do not confine my discussion of that particular Superlative Technology Discourse always only to discussions of engineering its partisans have come to deem plausible, but focus on social, cultural, political, and rhetorical dimensions of that discourse more related to my own area of study.
Neither of those actually true statements are properly or interestingly equated in my opinion with your characterization that I "don't believe that MM is possible."
To be blunt, you are as wrong as you can be.
The reason I don't post regular reassurances to readers of my blog that the one characterization of nanoscale technique that preoccupies your own attention is "logically possible" and then go on to repeatedly predict its relatively imminent arrival is because that isn't an interesting way of talking in my opinion, and because, to be perfectly frank, I think that sort of talk feeds an enormous amount of irrational delusive careless and damaging thinking.
And besides all that, of course, I know that even without me on hand to indulge in the talk you seem to crave from me there are plenty of online futurists who are more than happy to endlessly make promises they can't keep and confuse this sort of handwaving for "serious" technodevelopmental policy analysis.
Update: And just to be clear, I read seriously and recommend cheerfully the materials at CRN (whose founders I count as colleagues and friends). Some discourse at CRN does seem to me occasionally to dabble in Superlativity (as no doubt does some of my own, whatever my best efforts), but far less so in my opinion than comparable discursive spaces devoted to the topic. Nanosantalogical Discourse (my silly name for Superlative Technology Discourse in its "nanotechnological" variation) differs from Singularitarian and Technological Immortalist variations in key ways I have discussed here in hundreds of politically motivated pages (to use your elegant phrase) available for everybody's perusal, and it seems usually to involve a mistaken hope that there are "neutrally" techno-engineering solutions to what are in fact ineradicably political problems (like poverty, neglected disease, militarism). This is not the sort of complaint that is my focus when I critique Singularitarian and Technological Immortalist variations of Superlative Technology discourse, which seem to me to involve more instrumental than political confusions. But that is a discussion for another day.