APM related terms
A collection of terminology usage guideline proposals.
(TODO: make a wiki template for terminology entries and move headline hierarchy down)
Why terminology is of paramount importance
By striving for good terminology one gains more efficient communication. This makes life easier and chances for success greater.
Effects of good terminology:
- from what the speaker says listener understands what the speaker really means - avoiding confusion and hardening of misconceptions
- the speaker does not have to resort to excessive elaboration - avoiding repetition and saving time
- intangible vague ideas can be broken up into comprehensible sub-concepts
Goals of this page
- documenting existing usage of terms (and in cases the history of its usage)
- proposing guidelines for when using which term
- collecting suggestions for new terminology
Atomically Precise Manufacturing
Defined on the main page.
This term was heavily used in the book "Radical Abundance: how a revolution in nanotechnology will change civilisation" to solve perception problems (See: History & Common misconceptions).
Atomically Precise Technology
Umberella term for APM and the products creatable with APM.
It should be used in place of the older term "molecular nanotechnology".
Defined on the "mechanosynthesis" page.
Total positional control/assembly
Use when both covalent bond breaking by force may not be meant but self assembly is excluded too. Total refers here that there is no self local assembly helping to place a building block relative to a controled position.
A term introduced in Erik K. Drexlers book "Radical Abundance". (TODO: find out the exact usage contexts and usage rigorousity) This term seems to be borrowed from brain surgery robotics.
The term robot has a history of being widely stretched
Often used by Eric K. Drexler to distinguish from self assembly. Self assembly could be described by assembly guided by part shape though. So it may not be recommendable to use this therm in this way.
Defined on the "machine phase" page
Machine Phase Chemistry / Mechanochemistry
Defined on the "tooltip chemistry" page.
Defined on the "diamondoid" page.
Diamondoid Molecular Elements
Dedined on the "diamondoid molecular elements" page.
Here's a suggestion for a more catchy and usable name: crystolecules
Advanced Molecular Machinery
A bit too generic like "Nanomedicine".
Defined on the "technology level III" page
Good for as an umbrella term for all APM technology levels.
Advanced production methods
A good term to start a conversation. Working the way up over current day 3D printing.
Terms Containing "Nano"
See "history" for why the prefix nano is problematic in many cases.
terms that probably pose no problems
This is the most widely used term for AP technology as of (2013)
Google searches yield the most relevant results when this term is used.
Wikipedia uses this still as the main term Moelcular nanotechnology
- Disambiguation page: Productive nanosystem
- Early PNs: (wiki-TODO: link related pages or write specific page)
- Advanced PNs: Advanced productive nanosystem
more concrete: Pants-pockets gemstone-gum factory
implementation: Design of advanced nanofactories
advanced PNs are at the level of: In-vacuum gem-gum technology
This is currently the prevalently used term. APM systems could be used as alternative.
Currently prevalently used term. There are several alternatives to the term "Nanofactory"
Nanobugs - OK if used in the right context
A term introduced by Erik K. Drexler to refer to the emerged zoo of SciFi-terms for mobile naoscale robotic devices That all vaguely refer to Molecular assemblers with the extra capabilities of super-mutatability and super-omnivorousity creating the far from reality global doomsday grey goo scenario. See history.
There is also advanced nanotechnology in the biological direction, so this term is too unspecific and should be avoided.
Nanomechanics - Ok
Nanostructures - in context Ok
Nanocosmos - in context Ok
Nanoscale - in context Ok
Machine Phase Nanotechnology - Ok (but uncommon)
Somewhat vague, medicine has always had subject areas about nano sized compounds.
An alternative may be "nanorobotic medicine".
Anorganic Nanorobotics / Anorganic Nanomechanics
Freely made up here, but seems quite fitting for technology level III
Useful for explaining the basics of APM to novices without needing to use the term "nanotechnology".
Terms to Avoid
This term is way too generic and has lost its original meaning. See "history" for more information.
The term Makrotechnology has the same specificity and it's clear why no one uses it.
Nanobots or Nanomachines
Spurs misinformed thoughts of artificial lifeforms.
Makes sure one thinks of life like creatures (insects/bugs) which are dangerous because they are life like. Basic advanced productive APM systems are nothing like that. (see nanobugs above)
Nanorobotics / Robotic Nanotechnology
The terms robot and robotic are too vague. Beside factory style robotics in advanced APM systems it also includes things that have little to nothing to do with them. Some things that start to get called robots are:
- extremely advanced "nanites" with insect like properties often encountered in contemporary science fiction
- simple hinged boxes for drug delivery with the lid clamped closed or left open and thermally flattering around
- The ribosome, bacterial flagella motors and other systems from nano-biology
Not that bad for speculative medical nanodevices but propulsion and interaction with nanobiology is often imagined in wrong nonphysical ways.
Terms to avoid
The flawed biological analogies
See main article: Misleading biological analogies that should be avoided
This makes Erik K. Drexler sound like some religious leader. It has been [to verify] even intentionally used to emotionally discredit folks who see potential in the technology or even discredit E. Drexler himself. Also it points mainly to diamondoid assemblers - a concept that he has abandoned before he wrote Nanosystems. While Diamondoid materials always where and still are his far term focus they are not his singular focus. He is a strong proponent of the incremental path and rather critical towards the direct path. (See Technology level I)
Alternatives when referring to the far term goal:
- high throughput atomically precise manufacturing (that's what E.Drexler introduced in his book "Radical Abundance") -- way to long IMO
- advanced atomically precise manufacturing / advanced APM (technology) -- often used in this wiki
- Prime suggestion: How about gemstone metamaterial technology or gem-gum-tec for short
- diamondoid nanomechanics (technology)
Before using it check if you really mean evolution not an other type of improvement process like targeted design.
Some evolutionary traits:
- lots of unexpected mergement of seemingly unrelated ideas
- brute force trial and error visiting much more dead ends than successful continuation points
In a strict observation the term technology generation inherits the meaning of evolution too.
Terms for precise distinction of often confused aspects
- topological atomic precision & positional atomic precision
- stages, zones, levels, steps, layers ... (wiki-TODO: cleanup needed - make use consistent on this wiki)
- stereotactic & robotic ... (wiki-TODO: cleanup needed - make use consistent on this wiki)
- "programmable matter" (this term is strongly associated with various forms of current technology. An other term is needed.
maybe: interactive gem-gum products or materializable program instances)
"gemstone" vs "ceramics"
The term "gemstone" tends to immediately raises the association with high scarcity. But its still better than the term "diamond" that tends to instantly break suspense of disbelief dragging conversation into joke territory quenching any further serious discussion. Still the term "gemstone" tends to derail explanation attempts from things that are important upfront to things that should better be explained later.
- One first wants to explain why these kinds of materials are of highest interest (stiffness, difficulty test case in terms of mechanosynthesis)
- Only then one wants to explain why gemstones actually can become extremely abundant. And that they actually can (via the "easiness" of metamaterials) end civilizations dependence on resource that are much more fundamentally scarce (like e.g. alloying metals obsolete). Much more fundamentally scarce because they are chemical elements that fundamentally cannot be changed by chemical means.
The term "ceramics" may deliver a less wrong picture (no extreme scarcity -- and macroscale impact resilience through nano-crystallinity) but it it does so for the wrong reasons. Nano-crystals of ceramics are never atomically precise since they are always (pretty much by definition) created via statistical thermodynamic processes (high heat and pressure or even in case of natural biomineralisation there is statistical diffusion). Ceramics are dumb passive materials statistical in the small scales and homogeneous on larger scales. They are very different from gemstone based metamaterials which are neither statistical on the smaller scales nor homogeneous at the large scales.
Table of contents
- 1 Why terminology is of paramount importance
- 2 Goals of this page
- 3 Clean Terms
- 3.1 Atomically Precise Manufacturing
- 3.2 Atomically Precise Technology
- 3.3 Mechanosynthesis
- 3.4 Total positional control/assembly
- 3.5 stereotactic control/assembly
- 3.6 robotic control/assembly
- 3.7 guided control/assembly
- 3.8 Machine Phase
- 3.9 Machine Phase Chemistry / Mechanochemistry
- 3.10 Diamondoid Materials
- 3.11 Diamondoid Molecular Elements
- 3.12 Advanced Molecular Machinery
- 3.13 Molecular Assembler
- 3.14 Molecular Manufacturing
- 3.15 Advanced production methods
- 4 Terms Containing "Nano"
- 4.1 terms that probably pose no problems
- 4.1.1 Molecular Nanotechnology
- 4.1.2 Productive nanosystems
- 4.1.3 Nanofactories
- 4.1.4 Nanobugs - OK if used in the right context
- 4.1.5 Advanced Nanotechnology
- 4.1.6 Nanomechanics - Ok
- 4.1.7 Nanostructures - in context Ok
- 4.1.8 Nanocosmos - in context Ok
- 4.1.9 Nanoscale - in context Ok
- 4.1.10 Machine Phase Nanotechnology - Ok (but uncommon)
- 4.1.11 Nanomedicine
- 4.1.12 Anorganic Nanorobotics / Anorganic Nanomechanics
- 4.2 Terms to Avoid
- 4.1 terms that probably pose no problems
- 5 General Terms
- 6 Terms for precise distinction of often confused aspects
- 7 Misc
- 8 Related
- 9 Table of contents