Posts Tagged ‘terraforming’

Week 9: Nanotech Insight, Applications and Implications. By Ryan Andre Magsino

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Week 9: Nanotech Insight, Applications and Implications. By Ryan Andre Magsino

“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

According to the authors of The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of Fact & Fiction in the Construction of a New Science, “In both the philosophical and visual sense, ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply to nanotechnology…” Such statement is clearly true concerning visually sensing nanotechnology at work due to the limitations of the naked eye. We can however contend through a philosophical sense that the saying, “seeing is believing,” can apply to nanotechnology. The origin of such a phrase most likely stems from ancient Greece, for their culture was very much inclined on visuals compared to the other senses. In addition, they were also the first to point out “seeing without seeing.” In a philosophical sense, they were referring seeing to the insight of knowing. Taking this reference into consideration, utilizing insight to hypothesize the existence of nanotechnology “looks” logical.

A nanobot, obviously fictional/conceptual, for now...

A nanobot, obviously fictional/conceptual, for now...

But why should we bother with something we cannot even see?

Typing in “Applications for Nanotechnology” into a search engine will yields thousands if not millions of entries. From improved medical diagnosis, chemical catalysts, energy efficiency to consumer goods, the list for useful applications goes on and on. Overall, the grand scheme of nanotechnology (molecular in particular) is the concept of producing anything given the materials. In some sense, it is as though we have discovered the missing piece in the art of alchemy, nanotechnology.

One interesting application for nanotechnology would be planetary terraforming. In Engines of Creation, Drexler hints at using (nano) machines to rid the world of pollution. “With replicating assemblers we will even be able to remove the billions of tons of carbon dioxide that our fuel burning society has dumped into the atmosphere.” What if we were to utilize these replicating assemblers for terraforming? By altering planets (i.e. Mars) or other heavenly bodies’ atmosphere, temperature, and ecology, such specified place could have the properties of a live-able environment similar to that of Earth. Could this be a solution to the imminent overpopulation on Earth?

The Terraformation of Mars, a reality with nanotechnology?

The Terraformation of Mars, a reality with nanotechnology?

What then? What will happen to society and the value in products?

If the future of nanotechnology results in the ability to produce anything given the initial materials to do so, change will be imminent. In an ideal world, the repercussions of such a scenario would be breathtaking. Several social and economic issues would then be resolved. For example, starvation would be a problem of the past since food can be easily assembled on a molecular scale. Furthermore, people will be judged by who they are rather than how much they are worth or what they possess due to the drop in material value.

Then again, I am ashamed to admit that we do not live in an ideal world. Rather, the actuality of this scenario would be to place limitations on nanotechnology. Especially since nanotechnology is not something that occurs naturally, inventions and designed systems in the field are completely up to be patented. Also, the technology will most likely only be available to certain nations or corporations. Thus only those with the technology will be able to profit.