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De Horror Vacui

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Engines of Creation [Apr. 19th, 2016|10:24 am]
De Horror Vacui
Engines of Creation: the coming era of nanotechnology, K. Eric Drexler:

This book reads like an advertisement. Drexler is an evangelist for nanotechnology, and his overly optimistic ideas about its power. When reading this book it sounds like self-replicating molecular nanoassemblers are just around the corner (in 1986), and they will cure all the badness: resource scarcity, human aging, and basic cable. His overoptimistic take on nanotechnology for the first 12 chapters leads to a very pessimistic take on the dangers on nanotechnology in the last three. Fortunately, the world hasn't transmogrified into a ball of grey goo.

What has not come to pass? Nanoassemblers and bottom-up nanotechnology in general;
artificial intelligence, and so on.
What has he gotten right? Hypertext ( and I just heard a couple of podcasters making fun of hypercards* ).

Still, this is at least the third time I've read this book, and the second time for the book club. Even if it's hopelessly polyannish, or perhaps because it is, it's a good introduction for engineering students.

Other Books, 2016:

29. Engines of Creation, K. Eric Drexler
28. Prince of Chaos, Roger Zelazny
27. Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
26. Sparkling Cyanide, Agatha Christie
25. Knight of Shadows, Roger Zelazny
24. Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie
23. Feynman Lectures on Computation, Richard Feynman
22. Effective Computation in Physics, Anthony Scopatz and Kathryn D. Huff
21. How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams
20. Sign of Chaos, Roger Zelazny
19. Murder Must Advertise, Dorothy Sayers
18. The Mythical Man-Month, Fredrick Brooks
17. Blood of Amber, Roger Zelazny
16. Understanding Computation, Tom Stuart
15. Social Class in the 21st Century, Mike Savage
14. Design for Great-Day, Alan Dean Foster and Eric Frank Russell
13. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, Richart Feynman
12. SciPy and NumPy, Eli Bressert
11. Elementary Quantum Mechanics in One Dimension, Robert Gilmore
10. The Trumps of Doom, Roger Zelazny
9. Your Code as a Crime Scene, Adam Tornhill
8. Upland Outlaws, Dave Duncan
7. Identity Economics, George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton
6. The Courts of Chaos, Roger Zelazny
5. Nudge, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
4. The Cutting Edge, Dave Duncan
3. The Nature of Software Development, Ron Jeffers
2. The Death of Chaos, L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
1. Kivy -- Interactive Applications and Games in Python, Roberto Ulloa

* Of course it is. I had to do it for just that reason.