EID 111 Robotics and Theater
An Interview with Nanotech Wizard, Andre Georges,
by Charlie Rose, P.B.S. 3/8/2010
Charlie: Good evening. Tonight I have with me, Andre Georges, the star of todays stock market picks; as his company, having just been merged into Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for a whopping 250 billion dollars, rose 75 points in the last four hours of todays trading.
His resume reads like a fiction novel; spending his early career in the building industry, going back to Engineering School while raising two young children; eventually studying the subject of Nanotechnology, and now eight years later, the most sought after person in Wall Street.
Andre: Thank you Charlie, its a pleasure to be here.
Charlie: Tell me what its like to be the man of the moment
Andre: Well, Charlie,
Charlie: And tell me, because a lot of the audience may not know what Nanotechnology is, what has it got to do with medicine.
Andre: Of course. Nanotechnology owes its present level of contribution to the scientific community due to Universities like Duke
Charlie: My alma mater
Andre: I know, (chuckle) and others like Harvard and Stanford, that doggedly persisted in research against unlikely odds. Institutions like
Charlie: Yes,.. but how did you stumble on the idea that it could be capitalized in the medical industry. I read in the NY Times yesterday that even HMOs are embracing your products. They say its a good way to save money. Can you explain this phenomena?
Andre: Without getting overly technical, Charlie, oh, and by the way, I just wanted to mention how pleasant it is to have more than thirty seconds to explain my story, in spite of your good natured interjections, which must have something to do with your Southern background
Charlie: My mama, God rest here soul, used to say Charlie, if you dont lead the conversation, you can be sure someone else will, heh,heh you were saying?
Andre: Oh yes, well the truth is, if the computer industry hadnt dumped so much money into research, in order to shrink the microchip, than Nanotechnology wouldnt be where it is today. You see
Charlie: Theres rumor that Bill Gates owns a large share of your company, is that true?
Andre: Rumor, that is all. As I was saying, the real breakthrough happened when the industry experienced a major shift in philosophy.
Charlie: By this, you mean a paradigm shift?
Andre: Precisely, I see why people on this show feel so comfortable. You have a way of erasing the nervousness of public appearance.
Charlie: I aim to please, what was this shift, because when I was in law school, many years ago, there was a major shift in the field of law that led me to be well thats another story, What caused this scientific shift to come about?
Andre: In order to understand the importance of the change in perspective, One must first keep in mind the previous mindset.
Researchers have, since the Age of Scientific Reason began around the 16th century, with Copernicus and later, Newton, fundamentally believed in the method of ever shrinking returns. The idea that we can reach truth by just getting a larger microscope, led to the electron microscope, and later the electron scanning microscopes.
These tools allowed us to peer into a world we had only defined abstractly with math.
The shift arose when researchers decided to build up rather than shrink down.
Charlie: Let me get this straight, and for the audience out there who might have blinked, build up rather than down? It sounds so, pardon the expression, simplistic.
Why did this revolutionize the industry? And bear with us, out there, our audience, for this long way around our subject tonight; the use of Nanotechnology in the medical industry; specifically, pharmaceuticals.
Andre: You see, the idea that we could actually build on the molecular level, hence the term, Nanotechnology, meaning 10-9th, caught us by surprise. We had kept building down, limited by the capability of present technology, when we realized, hey, wait a minute, we now have gene splicing down to a predictable science, why not apply it to a specific use?
Five years ago, Im sure you remember when the first cloned human baby was born in Mexico, to get around the ethical bans in America It was only a matter of time.
Charlie: Yes, you know I interviewed Doctor Stein, Frank Stein, before that story hit the first page of the Times, boy was Gina Kolata steamed, shes a good personal friend of mine though, I think she forgave me when I interviewed her the next night. She got a chance to plug her new book on Cloning in the 21st century.
Whats the connection now, and help me to understand this, (pause) computers, medicine, and what some term, including Gina Kolata, for one, the robotics of the blood stream. Im trying to tease out a picture that a layperson such as myself, can relate to in everyday terms.
Maybe this is a good time to roll tape on, now this is an ad explaining the uses of your companys, or should I say Pfizer,(chuckle), products for the general public?
Andre: Thats right Charlie. This is what my advertising firm came up with to introduce Nanotech to the curious public.
Charlie: Roll tape.
(excerpt of a 30 second promo on Nanotech Industries)
Camera pans back to the interview table. Charlie is holding up a small pill bottle of NanoTech Stress Block 15® to the camera
Charlie: Just how does this, pardon the expression, stuff work?
Andre: Well, imagine if you will, a team of miniature trained anti-stress operators, each one actually a mini-computer in fact, with all the necessary information to diagnose its target, in this case stress, while carrying out a rapport with your immune system in order not to be attacked on contact. Its actually an incredibly complicated set of parameters that have to be met.
Charlie: Im sure youre expecting this next question What if something goes wrong? What kind of damage can these little HAL 2000s coursing through my blood stream do if they backfire? A software glitch, bad battery .
Andre: Yes, I expected the question, let me provide an unbiased answer. First of all, the FDA has rigorous requirements that have to be met before introduction to the public domain. So the public should know that their tax dollars are working hard for them.
The first thing to understand, and this is difficult to imagine, because we expect things to break down, is that Nanotechnology is almost error free, precisely because we build up from the molecular level. Each atom is placed where it has its lowest level of energy, and like noble gases, they are inherently stable.
Traditionally, when we choose to manufacture something, we pare it down, cut it into smaller pieces. This leads to unstable materials that are prone to break down.
The fundamental difference, that I brought up earlier, regarding the as you said, Charlie, paradigm shift is that we in the laboratory have been able to remove 99.9% of the usual unpredictability working up bit by bit, much like you would build a building, except at a tiny scale.
Charlie: What is the message, and how does it carry out its message?
Andre: Good question Charlie, without boring you with the technical jargon, let me give you an analogy . Imagine you decide your refrigerator is getting low, and so you check inventory with your laser scanner pen in the pantry, something, incidentally, we take for granted now, ten years ago you would have jumped in the car and headed down to your local supermarket, but, as I said, you decide what you want to add to the usual computer inventory, and press go on your explorer server, or what have you, and wait for the doorbell to ring.
Its really just as simple with the Nanotech. arena of computational interaction. There are directions, and the units follow them. They are trained to recognize certain criteria and only that criteria, in this case, stress inducing steroids produced to excess in our cerebellum, and to lower them to the healthy level people of the 19th century enjoyed. As matter of fact, we had to study tissue of the earliest samples of human tissue to get a sense of what normal should in fact be.
Im not advocating, however, that our lifestyles dont need realigning, Im only responding to the fact that stress is ever present in our daily lives, and isnt going away any time soon on its own. Its kind of like the drug Prozac, when it came out 15 years ago, people reacted both favorably to the new choice against depression, and irately, that we as a society look for answers in bottles of medicine.
I am proud to be able to give that choice.
Charlie: Well, thank you sir, for stopping by and filling us in on your remarkable discovery. Hope to see you again soon, as new issues in your fascinating field arise.
Andre: Thank you Charlie, and let me repeat what a pleasure it has been to be able to go into some detail about the industry so the public can make a more informed choice next time they hear the word, Nanotechnology
Charlie: Up next, Cloning tissue off the holy shroud, bad idea? With us is the person responsible for spearheading this project in Rome, back in a moment