Friday, July 8, 2016

Autofracture

Some time ago, I was on a plane to one of my oldest friend's wedding. I started to think about the point of life. I had a well paying job in hi-tech. I lived in SouthBeach in tiny one bedroom apartment, with a pool and garden view. I was debt free, completed a couple of centuries, smaller than average carbon-footprint, composted, recycled, took mass transit, shopped at the co-op and farmers market, donated to Science museumInternet privacy, Planned Parenthood, Public radio. Still, I had that empty feeling of not making much of a difference. My job was replaceable, you could get any smart person in the Bay Area to do deploy and maintain clouds and teach UNIX, it might take time but doable. It wasn't something that I could look back on say that is my legacy. What is the point of life? I had seen the Matrix and Terminator series, and remember the very end of Men in Black. At that time, I thought we very well could be in a simulation, but had no proof. I'm on this plane, what can I do to make my life count, even if we are in a simulation? Start something that will make a positive difference in the world. I've always been a steward to the environment. I'll save more, and quit my job, move and start something beneficial to the planet. 

Fast forward to now. We know we're in a simulation. Scientists, philosophers have proved it. We still have global warming, we still have huge challenges: how do we sanely proceed to bio-digital lace and can we fix our current problems? Does fixing our current problems happen before or after? Would a superior class of individuals (bots or hybrid) care enough to fix the problems we currently have? We have global warming/climate change, poised to cause huge catastrophic change to human agriculture and the biosphere, and we have the old challenges of poverty, inequality of basic resources clean water, sanitary domiciles, nutrition and education, racism and unequal opportunity. I asked well known historical humanitarian author, "What of humanity needs to persist a near extinction level, catastrophic event?" I though maybe like the Long Now project, or what pieces of humanity should be in time capsule such that some class of individuals, those bots, could look back at humanity and say these are our ancestors, several thousands of years from now. To my surprise, he said, "All of it. All of humanity needs to survive a catastrophic event." We're in a simulation, we have issues, given the fact we can't tell how much of humanity would survive post bio-lace, we should fix our issues before evolving to the next state.


We're also technically in one of the most interesting times. We have the ability to manufacture things at the scale of nanometers - one millionth of a millimeter, or about one millionth of 1/25th of an inch. We have the ability to send messages at light speed, albeit decoding takes a bit longer. We can make things with additive processes like 3-D printers. We've sent humans to the Moon and safely returned. We have access the super computing power of last decade, which can fit in your pocket, and connect nearly any, practically every human on the planet.

My last wearable idea pivoted to needing solid nano-tech. It was clear that nanotech is where hi-tech hardware will go. The future of nanotech is in creating and controlling materials built up from materials which are one atom thin arranged in a plane or ribbon. These materials of one atomic thickness: flakes or ribbons can be rolled into tubes, or curved into hollow soccer-ball like balls, or stacked sheets and further combined, to build a custom polymer. The new materials being one atom thin in multiple places they exhibit strange properties, quantum properties. One notable sci-fi like substance, graphene -- 2-D hexagonal lattice of single carbon atoms arranged in a plane, or rolled into a tube: carbon nanotube, or formed into a ball: fullerene or buckyball, can be stronger and lighter than the strongest kevlar and a superconductor at room temperature. All made from carbon, the material we need so desperately out of the atmosphere. 

We can put nanocarbons into everything that's already contains hydrocarbons like plastics, or semi-conductors, and metals. We currently sell all kinds of things containing plastics and, or electronics. We can make electronics and plastics from this newly synthesized material and halt climate change. 

Why hasn't this been done already? It's very expensive to produce in any bulk process. Graphene is down to under $100 a gram. Most processes to combine it loose many of the superlatives that make it exceeding special. There are a few patents on how to produce graphene and nanocarbons. Not to mention that nano-scale graphene flakes less than 10 nm and graphene hybrids in less than 100 nm are patented. To make a difference to climate change, gigatonnes of carbon will be synthesized from atmospheric CO2 gas and solidified in materials. Given that nanocarbons are on the nanometer scale, huge quantities of nanocarbons would need to be manufactured in a mass production fully automated manner to reach large production scale.

The upside is that there are about 6.1 billion smart phones on the planet. The consumer electronic portable energy storage market is multi-billions.

In software, the way to democratize a resource is open source it. I'll be open sourcing the method to manufacture nanocarbons once realized, and commercialize the products made with the newly synthesized nanocarbons. I see this a major step to correct and solve climate change. I see this as a major step in creating a usable hi-tech material that has tremendous possibilities in commercial products and academic research in energy, electronics and materials sectors.

I live on this one planet among all of us, can't wait to see where we'll take humanity. Lets make what's next, the best reality for all of us.



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