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Small Misunderstandings

When I told my friends and colleagues that I would be writing on nanotechnology for our September Futurography course, a few were bemused. “You mean like tiny robots?” one asked with a smirk. “I didn’t think that stuff was real.” My friend was referring primarily to the speculative pop-science of K. Eric Drexler, most of all to his 1986 book Engines of Creation, which imagined a future of minuscule machines that would be able to rebuild reality from raw atomic matter.
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