Pathways to advanced APM systems

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the steep direct path
the long incremental path

(wiki-TODO: Needs a basic introduction.)

Its not a binary either or question whether the direct or the incremental path will be taken its more that the two represent extreme ends of a spectrum of possible development progressions. Both types of paths will likely heavily borrow from the non mechanical technology path.

There seems to be a peaceful internal conflict.
See also: Pathway controversy.

Views of the paths from the proponents of different viewpoints


  • incremental path (Ralph Merkle & co): slow and aimless little targeted effort ...
    (TODO: collect their arguments)
  • direct path (E.Drexler & co): too hard to access experimentally, slow experimental progress, little research motivation (funds)

Relation to speed of introduction of advanced productive nanosystems

It seems any bets are off here. It is worth to note that the usual association of the direct path with sudden and rapid changes and the indirect path with slow and progressive changes might be not incorrect.

  • (TODO: treat benefits and risks of fast vs slow changes)


External links

Citation from the article "From Here to Nanofactories" (crnano blog – Posted on September 24, 2006):
"..., advances in one dimension will synergize with advances in other dimensions, so it may be more efficient to go straight to a new technology that makes bigger leaps forward in several dimensions at once. But if such a technology can't be found for a particular leap, it can be done in a series of incremental steps. ..."