A “conceptual” step in the direction of the ultimate goal: making anything out of anything…toward the day when discarded or no longer desired matter can serve as the raw molecular material for molecular-manufacturing/atomically-precise-manufacturing…when we can breakdown and reconstruct anything from anything, including…<wait for it>…food, water, medicine…and the end of resource-scarcity.
Only then we can at least have a CHANCE of moving away from our fearful tribal-ape mentality of hoarding and war-ing over a STATIC and geographically-bound distribution of resources. Resources will become dynamically malleable and abundant and no longer objects of status, power, control, and deprivation.
And to preempt the ubiquitous “nattering nabobs of negativism” who will say that this technology will be hoarded by the “elite” power-mongers. Remember that these advanced “replicators” — along with eliminating scarcity of everything else — will eliminate any scarcity of replicators, because of the recursive nature of this technology: a replicator can replicate another replicator…AN ABUNDANCE OF REPLICATORS along with an abundance of everything ELSE.
MANY future breakthroughs are required to get us to this kind of ideal level of the MASTERY-OF-MATTER, but we are starting to see the embryonic stages of this progression now…something we can recount to future post-human generations with great nostalgia and muse over what “adorable” little chimp-creatures we once were.