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Radical Abundance by K. Eric Drexler

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CHAPTER 14

How to Accelerate Progress

EARLIER I OFFERED THE TWIN parables of the elephantologists and automobilists, two research communities that shared a curiosity-driven style of organization. The elephantologists produced a coherent result—an increasingly detailed understanding of elephants, with descriptions templated on the elephants themselves. The automobilists, by contrast, produced nothing that resembled an automobile, because curiosity-driven inquiry doesn’t lead to system-level designs, and without a coherent design concept there isn’t a template to guide research, no basis for producing coherent results. The automobilists developed components (wheels, gears, engine-like things, and the like) but these were seldom suited to automotive ...

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