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Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1610391139 ISBN-10: 1610391136 Edition: First Edition (US) First Printing

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610391136
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610391139
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Kirkus
“A stimulating tour through current thinking about and future possibilities for nanotechnology, from one of its creators… A crackerjack piece of science and technology writing.”

Albany Times Union
“K. Eric Drexler writes in his accessible new book "Radical Abundance" that the digital revolution is about to give way to a form of production that will radically transform the world economy and that could also save the environment: nanotechnology, or more specifically, atomically precise manufacturing.”

Nature Magazine
Nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler bids us to leap in at the technological deep end. We can transform the way we make everything from bridges to circuit boards, he argues, by harnessing molecular machines that operate on digital principles. The result? Desktop or garage facilities that use less fuel, land and energy than today’s vast factories and supply chains. The technical and political challenges of unleashing ‘atomically precise manufacturing’ are substantial, but Drexler cuts deftly through the complexities.”

About the Author

K. Eric Drexler developed, named, and popularized the concept of nanotechnology. Currently at the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology at Oxford University, Drexler is a frequent public speaker on scientific issues, addressing audiences of politicians, business leaders, scientists, and engineers in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

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Customer Reviews

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The book gives a great overview of nanotechnology and what it can do.
Nano Man
Back in 1986 K. Eric Drexler coined the term "Nanotechnology" in his first book, "Engines of Creation".
John Kwok
It needs an APM makeover; it needs to do much more with much less, making it lighter and stronger.
David Wineberg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 106 people found the following review helpful By David Wineberg TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Radical Abundance is a dictionary example of prestalgia. We know atomically precise manufacturing (APM) is coming. We know what it will look like. We know it will solve huge problems and make life for us and for the planet infinitely better. We want it yesterday. But we have to wait for the details to be sorted out. Hurry up guys. We're waiting for the good old days.

Nanotechnology took a bad rap for theoretically ushering in an era of microscopic robots that will report on you, burrow into your brain, and wreak havoc in the food chain for their own nefarious purposes. Drexler has been fighting this image pretty much since he coined the term in the mid 80s. What nanotechnology and APM are really about is a quantum leap in manufacturing efficiencies and pollution reduction and abatement. The upside is incalculable.

Put simply, he says, what computer systems did for processing information, APM will do for processing matter. Just as we no longer use pencil and paper to run a financial model, we will no longer assemble automobiles in a football stadium of a factory. All the equipment needed will fit in a garage. Cars will be turned out to order, in minutes. Factories can therefore make anything and be anywhere. No need for anything to be manufactured across the planet and shipped by boat, rail and truck. This will save on fuel, on packaging, on raw materials, and make everything less expensive. And factories can produce other factories just as easily as cars.

It will be done by adding atoms to atoms, molecules to molecules and microblocks to microblocks, fast and effortlessly - millions or billions per minute and per microblock. Effortlessly because they can self assemble using thermal motion.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By OzEnigma on July 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When he gets to the point, this is an interesting read, but he spend so much time developing conceptual and philosophic frameworks and taking twice as long as he could to make the point that I probably missed some great moments out of boredom. On the other hand, he makes a meticulous argument that the ingredients are in place for APM and we just need to have the right cooperation to bring them together. Those ideas are inspirational.

I get the feeling he has spent so many years apologising for "nanotechnology" not coming to fruition fast that he feels he needed to defensively belabour the point about the progress already made and redefining of the goals.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By spudboy100 on September 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't like criticizing Drexler's Radical Abundance, but I am anyway, in the hopes that he will elect to write a sequel to Engine's of Creation, or maybe radically, update, Engine's with new material and speculations. Drexler did speak to 3D printing which is great, but I believe Drexler is under-rating 3D printing tech, and over-estimating Nanotech. But that's just a guess on my part, and I could be way, wrong. The earlier work Engine's was better in describing scenarios, on how life would change once we attained nano. This is what Abundance is sorely, missing. Please write a new work, describing how nanotech would effect manufacturing, economics, space travel, and especially politics. Now, that would be interesting to me.
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Format: Hardcover
Back in 1986 K. Eric Drexler coined the term "Nanotechnology" in his first book, "Engines of Creation". He defined nanotechnology as a potential technology with these features: "manufacturing using machinery based on nanoscale devices, and products built with atomic precision". Here in his sequel, "Radical Abundance: How A Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization", Drexler expands on his prior thinking, as well as correcting much of the misconceptions regarding the exact nature of nanotechnology, dismissing fears of a dystopian future replete with nanobots and other evil outcomes associated with nanotechnology. Instead, Drexler offers readers a most compelling, optimistic vision as to how nanotechnology can be used to benefit humanity, in grappling with issues as vexing as dealing with pollution and climate change and in making tremendous strides in improving medicine so it can benefit much of humanity. Drexler begins by offering us a brief history of technology and its relationship with science, emphasizing the importance of Karl Popper's philosophy of science as a means for influencing the future direction of nanotechnology. In his advocacy of atomically precise manufacturing, Drexler notes how engineers should adhere to common sense solutions to engineering problems, by crafting solutions that are both consistent and efficient with regards to science and engineering and yield truly useful products, not prototypes destined to languish almost forgotten in the technological research centers that conceived of them.Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Atkins on May 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think the book did a excellent job of clarifying what APM is and the amazing changes that it can bring. It does a good job of explaining what went wrong in nanotechnology focus to date and a fair job making clear the difference between science and engineering, especially exploratory engineering. I did find the book rather meandering. It seems to be part of the author's style to continuously loop or spiral points with much repetition. At times this felt a bit disjointed to me.

What I think is the most serious gap in the book is that there is not a clear roadmap. One gets ideas of how we may go from the nanoscale engineering and products of today to full APM. But the steps along the way are not specified. I would very much love to see such a roadmap or a set of plausible roadmaps to full APM.

I would love to see the answer to what the Eric Drexler himself would set out as a roadmap if he was funded with a billion dollars or two. This would be much more likely to gain traction for APM in my opinion.

The only other problem I had with the book was that I remember Engines of Creation quite well and I spent some years as an associated of the Foresight Institute. Back in the day a lot of the talk among even those in the know including if memory services, Eric himself, in fact was about nanobots which he disparages as "nanobugs". While I understand the high importance of focusing on APM this felt a bit jarring.
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