Any powerful technology can be abused.
Likewise nanotechnology will, once it gets under way, depend on the tools we have then and our ability to use them, and not on the steps that got us there.
On the molecular scale, you find it's reasonable to have a machine that does a million steps per second, a mechanical system that works at computer speeds.
I had been impressed by the fact that biological systems were based on molecular machines and that we were learning to design and build these sorts of things.
The basic parts, the start-up molecules, can be supplied in abundance and don't have to be made by some elaborate process. That immediately makes things simpler.
But while doing that I'd been following a variety of fields in science and technology, including the work in molecular biology, genetic engineering, and so forth.
My greatest concern is that the emergence of this technology without the appropriate public attention and international controls could lead to an unstable arms race.
The really big difference is that what you make with a molecular machine can be completely precise, down to the tiniest degree of detail that can exist in the world.
In thinking about nanotechnology today, what's most important is understanding where it leads, what nanotechnology will look like after we reach the assembler breakthrough.
My work at MIT had focused on what we could build in space once we had inexpensive space transportation and industrial facilities in orbit. And this led to various sorts of work in space development.