From Publishers Weekly
When Mulhall sees the future, he pictures every home having a virtually cost-free desktop fabricator, not unlike an ink jet printer, that is able to create any three-dimensional object desired; he envisions being able to change the color of a car, or clothes, simply by speaking. Mulhall, who heads an environmental software consultancy, believes that nanotechnology, the ability to rearrange individual atoms, will lead to technological advances that will change every aspect of our world, including our own species. Mulhall' s exuberance, however, does not fully compensate for his repetitiveness and lack of specificity when he postulates that nanotechnology will lead to such leaps forward in computing power that we will soon create robots capable of independent thought, emotional response and reproduction. We will, he argues, soon be faced with a new species, Robo sapiens, and be forced to deal with the issue of "robot rights." Mulhall urges readers to foster this technology because he believes that it is the only way humans will be able to combat what he claims are the most pressing threats facing our species: massive earthquakes, immense tsunamis capable of inundating the entire east coast of North America and asteroid collisions of the sort that wiped out the dinosaurs. In the end, Mulhall's musings seem more science fiction than science; they are entertaining, but not particularly thought provoking.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Consultant Mulhall takes readers on a speculative tour of how nanotechnology will impact our world over the next decades. Along with describing what MIT types are currently cooking up (electronic paper), Mulhall injects pertinent questions about his topics, for example, whether business is adroit enough to adapt to the new technology; how nanotechnology might improve the environment; and if robotic "transhumans" should have rights. Mulhall contends that humanity is on the cusp of an unpredictably disruptive and decentralizing revolution and spins decidedly weird and disconcerting scenarios of a future of self-replicating nanobots, robo-slaves, and robo-pets. He also speculates on how nanotechnology might defend the planet against disasters such as cataclysmic earthquakes, tsunamis, or asteroids. Mulhall's eclectic tract bursts with amazement at developments in the field, but its very variety and digressiveness make technosavvy enthusiasts its likely audience. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved