Can Small Be Big Again?
When serial entrepreneur Larry Bock’s Palo Alto startup, Nanosys, pulled its IPO a year ago this month, it helped to deflate financial interest in nanotech. But Bock, Nanosys’s chairman, says his confidence in nanotech’s future has not diminished.
Skeptics call nanotech a great collection of small markets with no killer app. That’s probably true in the short term, but even three years out, some of the things we’ll see will be monumentally world changing.
Is the federal National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) helping things along?
One of the industry’s ongoing problems is the gap between basic and applied research. People call it “the valley of death” – too big or long-range for the VCs to handle, too applied for academics. NNI should be a helpful bridge.
Environmentalists have nanotechnology on their watch list. Are you worried about a repeat of what happened with genetic engineering?
It has people in the industry concerned, sure. The big difference is that unlike genetic engineering, nanotechnology is a thousand different things. There’s an obvious distinction between using metric tons of carbon nanotubes to fill tires versus someone making a single nanowire sensor. That’s why you need to open a dialogue with critics and start doing an individual risk-benefit analysis for every application.
More evidence that the blanket term “nanotech” is pretty useless?
There’d be a lot less hype and confusion if everyone used the NNI definition – exploiting novel properties and functions of materials in the sub-100-nanometer size range. I don’t think golf balls loaded with nanomaterials should necessarily be labeled nanotechnology.
Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build
“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”
ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it
The narrative around cheating students doesn’t tell the whole story. Meet the teachers who think generative AI could actually make learning better.
Meet the people who use Notion to plan their whole lives
The workplace tool’s appeal extends far beyond organizing work projects. Many users find it’s just as useful for managing their free time.
Learning to code isn’t enough
Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.
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