Technologies have a way of taking longer to mature than their enthusiasts (or those fearing them) expect, but then happening all at once—this is a characteristic of exponential growth, which happens when advancements in technology build upon one another until in a grand foom they surpass the expectations of those who’d concluded they would always remain far in the future. We’re seeing this happen right not in some fields of artificial intelligence, driven by the exponentially growing power of the hardware upon which it is implemented. What are the prospects for nanotechnology, or molecular-scale engineering and machines, long expected to revolutionise our technological infrastructure but always receding into the future?
Another topic which makes me want to live longer to see what happens.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing around with a semi-classical model of ionization energies. This morning I was a bit disappointed to discover that if there is a table of ionization energies across the periodic table at multiple ionization levels that has been calculated by gold standard Quantum models, as opposed to experimentally measured, that it is not all that easy to find.
It would seem this is a no-brainer scientific project that you just throw money and hardware at.
It is one thing to come up with quasi empirical models as deepmind did with protein folding. It is quite another to not even have a gold standard against which one may compare purported semi classical optimizations of the kind of computation that must be done for Nano engineering.