Radical abundance: how a revolution in nanotechnology will change civilization

Dr K. Eric Drexler, Academic Visitor at the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, gives a talk on the subject of his book Radical Abundance: How a revolution in nanotechnology will change civilization. Eric will show how rapid progress in the molecular sciences will enable the development of high-throughput atomically precise manufacturing, a technology with the power to produce radically more of what people want, and at a radically lower cost. The result will shake the foundations of our economy and our relationship to Earth’s environment, enabling us to make products of all sorts cleanly, inexpensively, and on a global scale. Radical Abundance allows us to envision a world where high-performance solar arrays cost no more than cardboard and aluminum foil, and billion-processor tablet computers cost about the same. Radical Abundance describes a world on a path to an unexpected future, and raises key questions about implications for global problems and global governance. Dr Eric Drexler, often described as “the founding father of nanotechnology,” introduced this concept to the scientific community through a seminal 1981 paper and a book-length, physics-based analysis, Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation. His 1986 book, Engines of Creation, introduced prospects for advanced nanotechnologies to a global audience, setting in motion a shift in both scientific research directions and popular visions of the future. His most recent book, Radical Abundance (PublicAffairs, 2013) explores prospects for advanced, atomically precise nanotechnologies that will transform the physical basis of technological civilization, with implications in areas that range from medicine to global economic development and climate change. Eric is currently with the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology at the Oxford Martin School, Oxford University.