Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
You state a good reason why it many biological systems are difficult to mimic (in the sense of designing new ones, rather than merely fiddling with ones that exist).

But does this mean that technology has reached its limits? Certainly not in a physical sense. Regarding design capabilities and the issues you raise --

  1. Hard problems have again and again been solved through the growth of scientific knowledge.

  2. Evolution demonstrates that hard problems can be solved with no knowledge at all, given enough persistence. (Evolution with a result in mind and with higher-level representations of subsystems can be much faster than the biological way accomplished.)

  3. Although intelligence is far from understood, manufacturing -- even at the molecular scale -- is in a different category. The problem here is a need for tool development and filling in details, not a need for new basic concepts.

I conclude that one or more huge transformations in technology can be expected. I strongly suspect that they will occur in the early (not mid or late) 21st century.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
by technopolitical on Mon Apr 10th, 2006 at 06:49:54 PM EST
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