APM, Nanotech and a Solution to Middle-Eastern Stability

The region of the Middle East has been in turmoil for more than a decade.  With the advent of the recent terrorist attacks on Paris and the threat of more by the Muslim extremist group ISIS, many have been pondering how the problems plaguing the Middle East can be solved.  I believe that technology can play an integral role in the process of repairing and advancing the region.  The modernization and digitization of the entire region’s infrastructure would provide numerous benefits that would increase stability and redress the damage done to the economy and society from years of war.

As part of this idea, I would like to examine Eric Drexler’s idea of radical abundance. In his book Radical Abundance, he discusses how rapid scientific progress is about to change our world for the better. As a result of atomically precise manufacturing (APM), we will soon have the power to produce radically more of what people want, and at a much lower cost. This idea is becoming more relevant with the emerging technologies of biotechnology and 3D printing. Within this concept lies a robust solution to the problems plaguing the Middle East.

The introduction of advanced technologies into the Middle East would have many benefits. The first and most obvious is the modernization of the industry in developing countries.  With atomically precise manufacturing, there would be the potential for more wealth for each person.  This would help speed up industrialization as well as stabilizing the economy through the production of more jobs in the region. Modernization of developing countries such as the Middle East would also help challenge traditional notions of power disparity and wealth around the world.  On a small scale within the country, it would contribute to usher in new guarantees of dignity for every person or country, no matter how small. It would also open the door to unprecedented opportunities for these countries on a global scale; trade, exports, increased international roles, etc. Also, as a result of being able to develop their own resources, developing countries and nation-states would no longer feel pressured to compete globally, meaning they can use their resources in a more efficient manner to benefit their citizens.

Moreover, this would have significant political and social impacts that cannot be ignored.  The biggest change this would have is an economic revolution. APM technology fundamentally changes the method of production, affecting nearly every facet of a country's society and economy. In response to this, the societal structure in those states would shift. New methods of community structure and information sharing would arise naturally as the technology advances, to adapt to this new method.

While it is undoubtedly positive that developing countries would be made richer due to the emergence of APM, there could be some potential problems that arise when a country has just too much. Drexler states that some potential problems that could arise are a decrease in demand for conventional labour, resources, and capital in the process of physical production, with the potential for effects to ripple throughout the global economy. To remedy this, Drexler proposes new political frameworks be set up to ease the countries into the process of adapting to a new type of economy. These frameworks must adequately fix disruptions in supply chains, trade, dependence, and the re-evaluation of assets.

Of course, the most obvious roadblock in this situation is the perpetual state of war that seems to blanket the Middle East.  If the wars were to end, the region could begin a new path to prosperity. The introduction of such new technologies would benefit the people more than any other group.  Adhering to the above theoretical effects, if this technology were introduced and a capable political system and leader set up, the countries in this region could quickly find themselves relevant in the international scene once more.  With peace and economic stabilization in the area, poverty would decrease and resources would be much more abundant.  Socially, people could begin to rebuild their lives from years of war and would find themselves much wealthier and happier.

In conclusion, the introduction of advanced technology to the Middle East would be hugely beneficial and, although the region may endure a tough adjustment period, would ultimately serve as a strong solution to repairing the region socially, politically and economically.

By Stefan Morrone
Ethical Technology