Week 9/Nanotechnology/Nathan Reynolds

Nanotechnology has generated a considerable buzz within the past few decades.  The purpose behind it is to make everything more efficient, by reducing its size.  A parallel to this would be our computers today.  Years ago a single machine could take up an entire building complex to do nothing more than simple mathematics calculations.  Things are considerably different today.  I’m using this smaller descendent of the gargantuan to type up a rather poorly thought out web blog among other things.

Nanotechnology is the same.  Nanotubes composed of carbon promise incredible strength and durability.  Nanomachines are being researched to perform advanced tasks.

Science fiction helps push these dreams along by using the tools of CGI to make them manifest in the fantasy world.  Tiny robot spiders check the identities of people in Minority Report, while the Discovery Channel envisions tiny machines that travel the body in search of impurities to remove.

There is great promise in nanotech, but at our current pace it will take considerably more time before anything monumental can be achieved.

Some may interpret this as pessimism, but it is pragmatic more than anything else.  Take for instance carbon fiber tubes.  They were being researched five years ago, and they’re still being researched today.  Nothing grand has occurred yet, the process is expensive, and the fibers are inconsistent.  A goal that scientists have is to construct a space elevator from carbon tubes, but with our current production capabilities such progress is inconsequential.

Personally though, I am horribly afraid of nanotech, especially if it is applied to robotics.  The first simple machines built by our ancestors served as tools and cudgels at the same time.  We add a killing edge to the technology we create.  Now take into consideration microscopic machines.  Such devices could easily enter into the human body and wreak all sorts of havoc.  Devices on the microscopic level may be able to evade detection altogether and could be used for ultra-modern assassination purposes.

Indeed, this sounds a little crazy compared to my other blog posts, but there is a plausible threat posed by minimizing things too much.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.