This is a condensed down list of the worst things atomically precise manufacturing and technology could be misused for.
The reader might want to not take in all at once and take a brake with more optimistic outlooks.
Note that one might argue that both the worst nightmares and the brightest utopias are both extreme cases that are extremely unlikely to come true in their full extent. The reality most likely lies somewhere in-between. The question is: How far can we push civilization from the generally considered bad stuff to the generally considered good stuff. The opportunities that atomically precise technology will bring should hopefully significantly outbalance the dangers presented here.
A word of warning: In many cases panic, alarmism and ensuing overreaction (e.g. total bans) with too limited understanding of the full breath of the situation can have worse effects than the danger would have brought if no action had been taken at all. This by itself could be added to the dangers (a "meta danger").
Every technology powerful enough to bring significant advances always comes with dangers involved too.
The plethora and level of scaryness of the dangers listed here is just one place where the (neutral and impartial) power of atomically precise manufacturing technology shows.
List of possible dangers that could arise with the rise of advanced AP technology
- non degrading waste recycling (envirounment)
- building up on flawed software design (wikipedia:Technical debt)
- vulnerability to malicious software. (See: self limitation for safety, ..)
- risky geoengineering going wrong.
- development of new weaponary (e.g. interfacial drive based kinetic energy weapons)
- easy production of explosives (e.g. solid sp3 nitrogen, solid quartz like carbon dioxide)
- easy production of simple poisons (e.g. HCN)
- easy production of drugs (hard for diamondoid mechanosynthesis though since it's basic form can't deal well with complex floppy molecules - see: synthesis of food)
- sharp edges and splinters (health)
- social and economic dangers like detrimental effects of rapid and imbalanced economic change
- social and economic dangers like globally declining birth rates at a dangerous rate
- uncontrolled replication -- reproduction hexagon
- an arms race ?
- unethical perfectionism
- negative side effects of attempted cleanup after nuclear accidents (finely dispersed nanorobotic devices in the environment violating the "keep in machine phase guideline")
- negative aspects of excessive surveilance
- undermining of the possibility of gratis open source hardware due to fear based overregulation
- loss of unmaintained data (older building plans) due to dependence on giant library tree that changes and is not completely backuped (today most visible in the problem of archiving historic computer games) - "neo ephemeralism"
- ... [Todo: add further ones]
Albeit advanced APM has the potential to be an absolutely clean technology in production (since its primary waste products are only hot air and warm water) advanced APM would be a unprecedented wasteful technology in disposal if not built correctly since the products themselves must be considered waste once they become obsolete - and the products will become obsolete fast as we can see with today's pace of software improvement. Also the global production rate in mass or volume will be bigger since production will become so widespread and accessible.
- Recycling is not an option its an obligation that has to be thought of before creating advanced APM systems that can produce products that do not biodegrade in reasonable timespans.
Related to the waste problem
- recomposable microcomponents
- The two recycling classes of products: The ones that can be completely burned to gasses (C,H,O,N,S) &
The ones that produce slacks when burned (containing too: Si,Al,Ti,Fe,Na, and the wole remaining periodic table). See: Diamondoid waste incineration.
- amorphous slack of various elements is hard to deal with since blind atomically precise disassembly of unknown structures is a very hard problem.
- there's no AP disassembly (at least its a lot harder to do than AP assembly)