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The Future of the Material World
27 June 2002
George E. Pake Auditorium
The nature of the material world shaped by our civilization is chiefly determined by the limits to what we can make. Capabilities in many fields have been growing exponentially; their limits to growth will be set by physics. Elementary physical arguments, aided by the observation that what exists must be possible, show that we can expect to make large, complex things cheaply, and with molecular precision. The consequences will deeply reshape our material world.
Dr. Drexler is a researcher concerned with emerging technologies and their consequences for the future. In the mid 1980s, he introduced the term 'nanotechnology' to describe atomically precise molecular manufacturing systems and their products. Advanced nanotechnologies will make possible many dreams (and nightmares) first articulated in the literature of science fiction. He is a founder and current Chairman of the Foresight Institute, a nonprofit educational organization established to help prepare for advanced technologies.
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