Why is Nanotechnology a way to play God?
Take a look to the micro future!
Can you imagine nanorobots in your brain providing a complete immersion of virtual reality and connecting your neocortex to the cloud to expand it? Well, this can happen in 2030 if nanotechnology continues to evolve so fast.
Your brain connected to the Internet could update your intelligence and memory capacity instantly, but how smart is it to do this? Is it worth being so integrated with technology? Could you live by reading the mind and feelings of another person through brain-to-brain communication? Will we still be human beings if our mistakes are deleted by nanotechnology? When is it too much? Let's look at what the future holds for us.
Within the last ten years, we have experienced an exciting revolution that is changing not only the way we live now but how we will live in the future: that revolution is the GNR (Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics)
The tremendous potential of this technological interaction now is focused on Nanotechnology, which keeps scientist excited for its numerous applications in fields such as Computing and Medicine. But there is no way to understand how big this is if we don’t know the basics.
What is Nanotechnology?
In simple words, Nanotechnology is the technique to manipulate matter in a remarkably reduced volume which is mathematically expressed as a nanometer: one billionth of a meter or 1/1,000,000,000th
|Milli||0.001 m||1 x 10-³ m|
|Micro||0.000001 m||1 x 10-⁶ m|
|Nano||0.000000001 m||1 x 10-⁹ m|
|Pico||0.000000000001 m||1 x 10-¹² m|
|Femto||0.000000000000001 m||1 x 10-¹⁵ m|
The table shows the prefixes to express the length.
The microscopic world
When things are this small, you cannot see them even with a light microscope. In this case, a scanning probe microscope is necessary. Some examples of things on the nanometer scale are the DNA or a virus. In daily life, a nanometer is what your beard or fingernails grow every second.
The origins of Nanotechnology go back to 1959 when physic Richard Feynman started digging into the possibility of manipulating matter on an atomic scale. But the real boom of Nanotechnology happened because of a book called “Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology” by K. Eric Drexler. In his book, Drexler came up with the idea of a device capable of reproducing an object in nanoscale.
Becoming God thanks to Nanotechnology applications
The expectations about Nanotechnology are big. Nowadays, this technology is used in products like sportswear, cosmetics, and microprocessors for computers.
But the most exciting and encouraging discoveries using Nanotechnology are happening in Medicine. According to recent researches, nanobots could be introduced into the body of patients with cancer to cure or destroy the affected cells selectively.
Some specialists like the engineer Ray Kurzweil think that nanobots would help us to become smarter. That should be possible if we could program nanobots to connect our brain to the web to acquire as much information as we wanted.
Can you imagine yourself speaking any language without previous lessons? Well, according to Kurzweil predictions, this may happen if those nanobots work for us.
Computers are also on the way to use Nanotechnology to reduce the size of their fundamental components. Nowadays, hardware developers manage to create microprocessors which are 22 nanometers size, but Intel predicts that by 2022 they will be just 5 nanometers.
The Grey Goo
Even though nanotechnology is supposed to improve life in the future, K. Eric Drexler also mentioned a hypothetic scenario where nanobots may destroy the world. This apocalyptic theory is called "Grey Goo".
The Grey Goo is the possibility that humans may lose control over nanobots if they are programmed to self-replicate without a proper limiting code. If the micro machines get the ability to double 1000 times in 1000 seconds, the situation will be catastrophic.
Within ten hours, the world would be invaded by an army of 68 thousand million nanobots consuming all the organic and inorganic material to keep reproducing. Then, the earth would become a grey planet with no life in two days.
Anyway, this technological apocalypse stills faraway to become real. According to Drexler, nanobots used conventionally won´t be that dangerous, but he considers that advanced nanotechnology would be able to do it.
For Drexler, the real danger of nanotechnology is its military use. Of course! We don’t want to know what kind of weapons some evil minds can produce with it.
If you want to know how a Grey Goo scenario would look like, you can find some examples in Sci-fi movies like “The day the earth stood still” or TV series like Stargate.
Our future connected to Nanotechnology
The future looks promising through Nanotechnology but scary at the same time. By having the ability to manipulate particles this way, we will be very close to becoming a kind of gods. The question is: are we ready to use it responsibly?
Let's hope our consciousness evolves enough over the next few decades to stop being as self-destructive as we have been until now. That is the only way to take advantage of Nanotechnology.