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No "Apollo Project" for Nanotech

Howardlovy1Howard Lovy (blogger, award-winner) is speaking now, and he's very funny. (Those interested in blogging might be interested to note that the majority of his PowerPoint slides are actually screencaps of things he's written on his blog.) His talk might be characterized as tough-love for the nanotech crowd; he's giving advice about the lamentable political and public irrelevance of nanotech groups; it's a good complement for some of the other talks this morning. (Howard's abstract is online here.)

He mentioned that he recently talked on the phone with Mark Modzelewski, the former (and controversial) head of the NanoBusiness Alliance, and asked Modzelewski what he, not especially friendly to the Foresight Institute, would actually tell Foresight to do if he were its political advisor. Modzelewski told Howard, quite correctly, that if you want to be politically relevant, you have to emphasize things that are important to legislators -- like jobs, jobs, jobs.

Howard just argued that it's very unlikely that a huge crash development project -- an "Apollo Project" for advanced nanotech -- will ever happen. The Apollo Project (like the other example you commonly hear, the Manhattan Project) developed in response to meet dire political needs, and there isn't going to be a nano-Apollo Project.

UPDATE: Howard opened up the floor for some discussion, and several members of the audience had some strong comments. I hope that his talk, along with mine and the other talks from this morning, will have the effect of impressing upon the people in this room the necessity of engaging in nano politics.

October 24, 2004 in Policy / Politics | Permalink

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