The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology today published eight scenarios exploring differing drivers for the advent of molecular manufacturing. This was the "virtual workshop" series I led earlier this year, and the scenarios reflect the work of over 50 people across six different countries. I wrote the initial drafts of five of the eight narratives.
I'm particularly happy with a couple of them:
Thirty million dead from the Rot in the US. Today, everyone knows at least one person who had died a horrible death during the pandemic, and most of us know a lot more than that.
As soon as it was clear that the Rot was showing up in cargo, collapse was unavoidable. All nations called a quarantine on goods shipped from China. China, suddenly losing its export dollars, called in trillions of dollars in debt from the USA. The US dollar crashed. The credit rating of the United States went through the floor.
If you think about the money, it makes it easier not to think about the corpses.
Refugees from ecological disaster zones, surging towards those countries seemingly less-affected by global warming, were met by armed force; nations hit by drought or agricultural collapse no longer regarded it as a temporary problem, and some grabbed the water supplies and farmland of weaker neighbors; those places still producing abundant levels of greenhouse gases came under verbal attack at the UN and in the global media, and the world was treated to the surreal spectacle of the United States (greatest per-capita greenhouse output) and China (greatest total greenhouse output) on the verge of coming to blows over which one was the worst carbon offender.
Those tensions came to a boil in 2015 when coordinated acts of sabotage took nearly a hundred Chinese coal-fired power plants offline. The Chinese government blamed the U.S. and put its military on high alert; the American government responded in kind. Fortunately, before either side could launch a preemptive attack, a rural Chinese movement took credit for the sabotage. Beijing was taken by surprise when the resulting crackdown backfired, with some regiments refusing to attack Chinese citizens and others actively joining the movement. A smuggled camphone clip of renegade Chinese military aircraft bombing the nation's largest coal-fired power plant was the top-rated video on YouTube that year.
Believe it or not, both of these have happy endings.