can’t begin to conceive how much; but everything’s going to get dirt cheap. The ozone layer will get repaired rapidly. We could create redwoods as fast and as many as we want, and then there’s star-flight. I don’t know; it’s just a whole new ballgame, and it leads directly into immortalism.
DJB: How about new ways to alter the brain?
ROBERT: Oh, of course. Eric Drexler, in his book on the subject, talks about constructing micro-replicators that, if you let them loose in the body, they run all over the place, inspecting every cell. If it’s not functioning properly they go back, get information from the main computer and repair it. You can obviously do the same thing with brain circuits. It’ll probably replace psychiatry. Nanotechnology is so staggering, we can’t think about it without hyperbole, and it’s coming along rapidly. The Japanese are spending fantastic amounts on that kind of research.
RMN: What do you think about the idea than many inventions are actually rediscoveries of technologies that have already existed in the past?
ROBERT: That’s always seemed very implausible to me. There are some cases–the steam engine was discovered in Greece and forgotten until Watt rediscovered it–but I doubt that there are many. Most