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The Dangers of Nanotech

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the falling-into-the-wrong-hands dept.

Science 236

Krees writes "Small Times talked with the Foresight Institute's Christine Peterson, Ralph Merkle of Zyvex, and Ray McLaughlin of Carbon Nanotechnologies about the potential of nanotechnology, which has benefited greatly from open source research methods, and nanotech weapons in particular falling into the wrong hands. Recent recognition of potential abuses will likely lead to incrased secrecy in nanotech research." This topic comes up every so often - what happens when nanotech falls into the wrong hands? I think that's a "when", not an "if", as that happens with almost everything.

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236 comments

Fuckety fuck fuck! (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515240)

Well fuck my ass and call me Charlie!

BANNED! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515308)

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email jamie@mccarthy.vg.

I'm innocent! Why is our entire subnet banned?

Re:BANNED! (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515339)

That's funny, so is mine.
I'm still posting here though, because Jamie doesn't know how to program. "Fight the ban!" and all that shit.
Sucks to be you.

Wearing pants is futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515324)

"In the future, everyone will be +50 karma whore for fifteen minutes." - Andy Wartroll (1928 - 1987)

I have faith in Murphy (1, Redundant)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515248)

People theoretically see the need for lots of nice protections. Then they go ahead and cut corners unless someone has been burned and the memory is fresh.

I cannot think of any area of technology from automobile design to nuclear power plants to office suites where this principle of human nature has not been operational. I can personally list examples from NASA to genetics research to the SNMP spec. (It was nicknamed Security - Not My Problem for a reason!)

IMNSHO anyone who thinks that nano has the potential to be any different is just kidding themselves about human nature...

Re:I have faith in Murphy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515271)

Forsooth! I hath laid mine eyes upon a karma strumpet!

---------
I have faith in Murphy (Score:5)
by tilly on Saturday June 17, @10:14AM (#996194)
(User #7530 Info)
People theoretically see the need for lots of nice protections. Then they go ahead and cut corners unless someone has been burned and the memory is fresh.

I cannot think of any area of technology from automobile design to nuclear power plants to office suites where this principle of human nature has not been operational. I can personally list examples from NASA to genetics research to the SNMP spec. (It was nicknamed Security - Not My Problem for a reason!)

IMNSHO anyone who thinks that nano has the potential to be any different is just kidding themselves about human nature...

Cheers,
Ben
---------

Human Nature (3, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515281)

While Human nature is one thing, I think the past 60 years...maybe 100 years have started to show a shift from using "ultimate weapons" whenever you have them, to only using them once in a while.

Chemical Weapons - Used in mass during the First World War, then used against civilian prisoners during the Second World War. Mass produced by members of NATO and WP during the Cold War, but not used that much except by Third World nations since the Second World War.

Nuclear Weapons - Used only twice by the United States during combat, even though the US had them for 56 years at this point. Never used in combat by any of the other nations to have them (USSR/Russia, South Africa, Israel, India, Pakistan, France, UK, China).

Biological Weapons - Not used in combat by any nation-states that we know of in the Modern era. (Simple biological agents have been used for centuries, but nothing like the modern biological weapons have been used).

I think that the West would not use/abuse nanotechnology unless someone else moved first. For an example...only three time since the Second World War have US political leaders or Congressmen spoke about using a nuclear device until a few weeks ago. Those times were the Chinese attack against the UN in '50, the Siege of Khe Sahn/Siege of Hue and a proposal in '81 for the US to fire a "warning shot" high above the Inter-German border.

Mankind is getting better, slowly but surely.

Re:Human Nature (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515348)

Although each new weapon to be added to the mix makes war less confrontable. The more overwhelming the weapon, the less folks can deal with it.

By the time a generation gets "used" to the next invention of attrocity, something else seems to come along.

So the long term problem is not really one of technology, except maybe of the spirit. One that does not depend on so much on happy pills to help us get over the stress of all these conflicts.

Relax, be happy, and forget about the bomb might not be a fully rational response.

Re:Human Nature (4, Interesting)

dragons_flight (515217) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515433)

It's simple. Human kind is in race between the forces that make weapons of mass destruction easier to make and more accessible and the forces that bring international community and universal peace.

So far only a few people have access to nuclear weapons and those people have managed to act with reasonable, intelligent constraint. More people have access to anthrax and unfortunately not all of them are so enlightened. Similarly it is not hard to make a truck bomb and certainly some people with that skill still carry malice in their hearts.

The progress of technology seems to be such, that some day the knowledge and tools needed to make a weapon capable of killing millions will fall into the hands of common adults. The question is whether humanity can progress in the pursuit of sanity and mutual respect before we bring doomsday down on our heads.

I'm an optimist about human nature and a pessimist about nanotech and genetic weapon tech, so I'd like to hope we have a chance.

Jerk Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515298)

The link in this guys signature is link to jerks.com's browser crasher. He put it in that way to work aroudn the slashcode's posting of the primary HTTP address of a link. In otherwords he's an asshole.

The site he links to does a massive repetitive browser opening until it crashes the OS (or you log if you are using Win2K)

Just thought you might want to know. Personally I use Opera, but many viewing from work have no choice as to the OS and browser and get tripped by his deliberate and maliciosu deception.

the link is (add your own http:) rd.yahoo.com/*http://www.jerks.com/crash/crash.htm

Re:Jerk Alert (0, Offtopic)

FFtrDale (521701) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515338)

He got me earlier today, with his posting on the Passport story {It's Karma Time! (Score:0, Troll) by ekrout on Friday November 02, @06:50PM (#2514541)(User #139379 Info|http://slashdot.org/)}Thanx, assho^H^H^H^H^H fella! It gave me (Opera 5.12 under Win98) an explosion of repetitive window openings, leading to a browser crash. - You've seen the old joke:
"Press to Test"
{CLICK}
"Release to Detonate"

Where's Wesley Crusher? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515332)

He saved the Enterprise from the nanites [startrek.com] , if we can just get him to talk to these nanobots before they hurt us, I'm sure everything will be alright....

What we need are... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515250)

...nanomachines that eat Muslims and excrete crude oil. Kill 2 birds with one stone.

Propz 2 homiez. Fuck Osama.

Mod this shit up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515320)

(+5000, Insightful)

C: A Dying Language? (-1)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515251)

Gentlemen, the time has come for a serious discussion on whether or not to continue using C for serious programming projects. As I will explain, I feel that C needs to be retired, much the same way that Fortran, Cobol and Perl have been. Furthermore, allow me to be so bold as to suggest a superior replacement to this outdated language.

To give you a little background on this subject, I was recently asked to develop a client/server project on a Unix platform for a Fortune 500 company. While I've never coded in C before I have coded in VB for fifteen years, and in Java for over ten, I was stunned to see how poorly C fared compared to these two, more low-level languages.

C's biggest difficulty, as we all know, is the fact that it is by far one of the slowest languages in existance, especially when compared to more modern languages such as Java. Although the reasons for this are varied, the main reasons seems to be the way C requires a programmer to laboriously work with chunks of memory.

Requiring a programmer to manipulate blocks of memory is a tedious way to program. This was satisfactory back in the early days of coding, but then again, so were punchcards. By using what are called "pointers" a C programmer is basically requiring the computer to do three sets of work rather than one. The first time requires the computer to duplicate whatever is stored in the memory space "pointed to" by the pointer. The second time requires it to perform the needed operation on this space. Finally the computer must delete the duplicate set and set the values of the original accordingly.

Clearly this is a horrendous use of resources and the chief reason why C is so slow. When one looks at a more modern (and a more serious) programming language like Java or, even better, Visual Basic, that lacks such archaic coding styles, one will also note a serious speed increase over C.

So what does this mean for the programming community? I think clearly that C needs to be abandonded. There are two candidates that would be a suitable replacement for it. Those are Java and Visual Basic.

Having programmed in both for many years, I believe that VB has the edge. Not only is it slightly faster than Java its also much easier to code in. I found C to be confusing, frightening and intimidating with its non-GUI-based coding style. Furthermore, I like to see the source code of the projects I work with. Java's source seems to be under the monopolistic thumb of Sun much the way that GCC is obscured from us by the marketing people at the FSF. Microsoft's "shared source" under which Visual Basic is released definately seems to be the most fair and reasonable of all the licenses in existance, with none of the harsh restrictions of the BSD license. It also lacks the GPLs requirement that anything coded with its tools becomes property of the FSF.

I hope to see a switch to VB very soon. I've already spoken with various luminaries in the *nix coding world and most are eager to begin to transition. Having just gotten off the phone with Mr. Alan Cox, I can say that he is quite thrilled with the speed increases that will occur when the Linux kernel is completely rewritten in Visual Basic. Richard Stallman plans to support this, and hopes that the great Swede himself, Linus Torvaldis, won't object to renaming Linux to VB/Linux. Although not a C coder himself, I'm told that Slashdot's very own Admiral Taco will support this on his web site.

Thank you for your time. Happy coding.

Egg Troll

Re:C: A Dying Language? (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515277)

What you say VIOLATES THE TIME CUBE PRINCIPLE! YOU ARE EDUCATED STUPID! TIME CUBE IS GOD!!

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

A lot of things are dangerous (1)

sh0rtie (455432) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515252)

Surely this goes for most technology in the wrong hands, if genetic cloning and modifying got into the wrong hands imagine what terror you could do with superbugs and the like

or nanobots that deliver and contain deadly explosive triggers or toxins straight to the intended target

Danger can be controlled better than it is now (2, Interesting)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515334)

Most people who are evil arent intelligent enough to create a nuclear bomb or use genetic technology
but in the information age, this all changes, evil people become genius's.

Nano technology will be as simple as writing a computer virus,

The best way to control this is to write anti virus, create nano bots which have no purpose at all but to destroy other nano bots

When a nano virus hapens, release the destroy bots which simple using say magnets attach themselves to nano bots and in the same way that a virus attacks human cells, this can attack nano bots which are bad, attach to them, and either reprogram them, or make them cease to function somehow.

Re:Danger can be controlled better than it is now (3, Funny)

heptapod (243146) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515395)

Nano technology will be as simple as writing a computer virus,

Oh great, I can see it now. Someone gets a cold and suddenly starts sprouting penises everywhere on their body followed by a nasty rash that spells out "n@n0-d00d 0wnz j00!!!!!!"

Argh (5, Interesting)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515258)

It looks like everyone has already brought up the point that the danger in putting a "self-destruct" mechanism in a nanite. With millions or billions of nanites, even if the odds of one of them surviving that self-destruction are one in a million, those odds are too high. And if that nanite is designed to construct other nanites (or, worst case, copies of itself) then you have a problem on your hands.

If nanotechnology ever reaches the total control of matter, self-replicating machine, Diamond Age "Seed" level (I don't have enough information to argue either way, but it seems to me that it'd be easier to create macroscopic Von Neumann machines than microscopic ones, and we haven't even done that yet) we're going to need more protection than a self destruct mechanism.

What I'd like to see, in a world swarming with potential nanotech viruses, is an analogous nanotech immune system to take care of them, nanites which can be set to recognize and rip apart other nanites which meet certain parameters. Got a rogue oil-spill cleaning nanite ripping up asphalt in San Francisco? Get the standby security nanites in Oakland to kill it.

There was an interview with a somewhat apocalyptic tech giant (a veep at Sun? I forget) who believed that the ever increasing technological power available to humanity (nanotech, biotech, and AI being three examples I remember) would cause the world to be ripped apart by terrorism in the coming century. He likened it to an airplane in which every passenger had a "Crash" button in front of their seat, and only one psycho was necessary to bring everyone down with him.

I don't think it will be that way. With nanotechnology specifically, if our available defenses are kept up to the level that our potential offenses would require, then having a small set of nanites go rogue wouldn't be a concern; they would be overwhelmed by their surroundings. Going back to that analogy, if everybody had a "Crash" button in front of their airplane seat, but the plane was guaranteed to survive unless 50% of the passengers voted to crash, that would be the safest flight in history.

Re:Argh (1, Insightful)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515487)

Or you could use Sarin nerve gas, which inhibits nerve firing, and works every time.

Personally, I don't see the point of nanobots. They're hard to make, they're expensive to make, and they're useless when compared with similar toxins or biochemical agents.

Nerve gas kills invariably, almost instantly. I don't understand why a terrorist would use something else.

Re:Argh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515497)

What if you fill up the flight with 50 % idiots....

Re:If only... (4, Insightful)

cerberus1949 (118779) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515501)

Wishing that the hypothetical airplane has a "crash button critical mass" of 50% is comforting but not completely realistic. Remember the Japanese cult a few years ago that released Saran gas in the subways. Its easy to forget that their ultimate goal was to end all life on earth [not just the lives of those who were different from them]. It was part of their "religion" so don't expect that we could understand it. With the right technology you only need one such cult.

The terrorists we're facing right now only want to destroy us. The Japanese cult wanted to kill everyone. They're both terrorists but there's a significant difference. Once we get a "lets-commit-suicide-for-everyone" cult with nanoweapons then all bets are off. Any technology as powerful as this one can and eventually will be turned against us just as every one before it.

Secrecy and other safeguards may not be 100% effective, but they have the potential to fare better than wishful thinking. Since I don't see any guidelines or safeguards in the near future I hope I'm wrong.

Bill Joy and Nanotech (4, Interesting)

Murdock037 (469526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515259)

Bill Joy, cofounder and chief technologiest of Sun Microsystems, wrote an article for Wired awhile back called "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us."

He said there were three looming dangers to humanity's future: genetics, robotics, and nanotechnologies, largely because they were so accessible to those with less money than it'd take to, say, develop a nuclear weapon.

The article is one of the most well-reasoned examinations of the issue of nanotech and the dangers in the future of technology I've ever read, and it's given extra weight simply by the position and history of the author himself. Check it out at http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy.html. It's long, but it's certainly worth the read.

No No No! (3, Insightful)

none2222 (161746) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515366)

Bill Joy is an alarmist fool. Period.

The article is one of the most well-reasoned examinations of the issue of nanotech and the dangers in the future of technology I've ever read

Are we reading the same article? The one Bill Joy admits was inspired by the Unabomber manifesto?


As it stands today, humanity will only be around for a limited time. In the best case, we'll be around until the sun expands and swallows the Earth. More likely, a stray asteroid will finish us off first. Even if we decide to abandon technology, humanity will cease to exist one day.


So, do we want to make the most of the time we have, or not? We won't do ourselves any favors by becoming Luddites. We can only maximize human potential by the continuing to advance science and technology. That's the only chance we have for long-term survival as a species; and it will make the lives of individuals a fuck of a lot more pleasant along the way.

Neal Stephenson - The Diamond Age (1)

chicagothad (227885) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515391)

If you haven't read Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age", this is a must read for those interested in weaponizing Nanotechnology. The story show the potential benefits of nanotech but also a few sidebars on Nanotech wars (Nano Machine vs. Nano Machine).

Also... (1)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515264)

To avoid having runaway nanotechs, you make them highly oxidizable so that exposure to o2 would rust them quickly. Then they can only work in inert gasses.

Sure, it limits a lot of the practical use of nanotechs, but since this is a new technology proceed carefully. Give them 20 years testing and using nanotechs in inert gas before you think about deploying them in environments containing oxygene, that way they have real world tests of how well nanotech's work and how likely they are to run away.

protocol is essentially useless (1)

dakoda (531822) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515363)

Also, referencing The Diamond Age, who is to say that the protocol on making them oxidizable is to be followed. Sure, one can put up guidelines, but guarantee me that they will be followed. sure, they will when companies have to be federally regulated etc, but what about when everyone gets their own 12x8x32x nanite burner, and starts craking out stuff that doesn't adhere to the protocol. not to mention the very limiting use/application base when they need inert gasses (so much for oil spills).

Grey Goo Theory (2, Interesting)

Ashcrow (469400) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515269)

I belive that is the term used for it. It is a theory that states if one nanotech bot is formed incorrectly and reproduces at a much faster rate the entire world can be turned into whatever it is supose to be fixing. IE: If the nano's are creating a certian protien the whole world would become replicas of the protien (and nanos changing eachother into them). The biggest problem would be how to stop it since putting it into conatinment would just turn the containment into the protiens as well.

Where would the energy come from? (2, Interesting)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515299)



Impossible if you dont have an unlimited energy source. This is why the energy source for nano technology should be RESTRICTED to say solar energy, or special laser based energy so it only works in certain lighting.

Nanobots? (3, Funny)

fifthchild (443035) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515270)

But what do we do if they hijack the ship and ressurect the crew? They'll never believe me when I try to tell them that they all died millions of years ago when Rimmer caused a leak in the reactor...

Oh, never mind.

wipo? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515274)

wipo banned?
nooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Ha! You think THIS is bad? (2)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515275)


Wait until we evolve into a race of psychic super beings! Able to stop a mans heart with a thought. Bending time and space to allow us to travel to distant stars. The ability to read a man's mind will render the entire Judicial system obsolete!

Sorry, futurists annoy me.

Brain to computer interface (3, Interesting)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515370)



Telepathy will be possible soon with brain to computer interface, and this connected to some nanites could do EXACTLY what you are talking about.

Programming would be as simple as THINKING it, the whole art of programming would accellorate so fast that millions of programs would be written by one person in a day.

imagine if programs were created via the speed of thought and these programs could materialize via nanites.

Re:Ha! You think THIS is bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515407)

So how about the presentists who are talking about legalizing use of pentothal to get the "truth" out of "suspected terrorists"? No need for a judicial system there. Or the bozos who want to keep their own hands clean by sending "terrorists" to other countries not so squeamish about torture? If the judicial system can't keep these creeps in check, then the only judicial system you need is manufactured by Glock.

Wearing pants is futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515280)

"In the future, everyone will be +50 karma whore for fifteen minutes." - Andy Wartroll (1928 - 1987)

A book about spaceflight... (2)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515283)

Exploited this topic. Of course, I can't actually find it to give you a title (just moved and I have around 1000 books to unpack still)

Basically, a strange object has started 'growing' on the backside of the moon, and when people are sent to investigate .... the team is killed. Immediately an elaborately orchestrated effort is made to 'retrieve' a sample of whatever is over there... and the idea of a 'clean' work area is presented.

The fascinating aspect of the clean room is that it contains a series of self-interlocking mechanisms that, as a fail safe, can dump enough power into an XRay apparatus to sterilize everything with the building's sheilds. This is the ONLY allowed method of handling nanotech, and they claim it's extremely immature compared to what's going on on the moon

If I can find the title I'll post it, but ... don't count on it. But if you want to know it and post under here ... i'll look for ya ;P

Re:A book about spaceflight... (2)

man_ls (248470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515434)

Sounds marginally similar to Invasion: America the anime mini-series aired on the WB a few years back. I think I have the episodes taped, maybe I'll dig them out and post a synopsis.

Not so sure (5, Insightful)

TACD (514008) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515288)

The article states that "There's no question that if Osama bin Laden had access to nanoweapons that he'd use them."

I thought the point that Americans are meant to be noticing is that it is low-tech which is a real danger, not high-tech. Osama bin Laden took out the WTC with fanatics, box-cutters and commercial airliners, not cruise missiles or stealth operations, or even a bomb.

Assuming the anthrax is even down to him (which is far from certain), it is not being distributed with cluster bombs, overhead sprays or even by infecting the water supply. It is simply put in some powder in the mail.

The point is, high-tech can be defended against. Computer systems can be secured, fighter jets can be shot down and bombs can be defused. The real danger occurs when something that is taken for granted, something that is very low-tech and forms a basic part of society, is used for ill means.

No doubt that nanotechnology could be used for war purposes. But I consider it far more likely that a Western power would do this than Osama bin Laden.

Re:Not so sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515313)

No doubt that nanotechnology could be used for war purposes. But I consider it far more likely that a Western power would do this than Osama bin Laden.

Well, duh! (no offense) What do you think "and nanotech weapons in particular falling into the wrong hands" means?

Re:Not so sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515445)

i think...i think nanotech is so dangerous because of the lack of effort.

when people kill each other in america, its almost always with a gun. because you only need a single decision at a single point in time to shoot someone. sometimes, a murder can happen in a two and a half second loss of judgement.

nanotech is similar, in my mind.

its vast power will be so eaisy to use that i belive it will be used. and used irrationaly. and we'll all pay.

however, i think we plow forward with it. everyone thought that nuclear power would destroy the world. hasnt yet.

we'd finaly have our fantasy, complete control of the physical world.

once we have that, the next thing to look to is control over the rules by which the world operates.

how like a god.

You've Got To Be Kidding (1)

Dan Crash (22904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515484)

I thought the point that Americans are meant to be noticing is that it is low-tech which is a real danger, not high-tech. Osama bin Laden took out the WTC with fanatics, box-cutters and commercial airliners, not cruise missiles or stealth operations, or even a bomb.

Um.

Those jets? The ones that crashed into the buildings? Hi-tech, wouldn't you say?

Geez.

The real danger occurs when something that is taken for granted, something that is very low-tech and forms a basic part of society, is used for ill means.

Look again: it's not the boxcutters that did the damage; it was the jets. Or more specifically, a lack of adequate security and understanding about the magnitude of damage said jets were capable of doing in the wrong hands.

Exactly the same point applies to nanotech.

Re:You've Got To Be Kidding (2)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515491)

I'd consider Jets to be mid-tech actually -- considering most of them have been in service for atleast 20 years, some quite a bit longer than that.

There certainly isn't anything new about them, and they are certainly taken for granted.

Transparency is the only option (4, Insightful)

tahpot (237053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515291)

If all the science was open, then everyone could have an understanding of all the risks and work together to prevent anything terrible happening. If governemnts/scientists/corporations try to keep it secret, they can't. With the Internet and fast transfer of information, any small leak will be immediately available to the world.

Instead of putting the effort into protection, put it into prevention.

It is unrealistic to prevent information to be hidden in our modern would, instead we need to control how it can be used and by who.

Once more, folks... (1, Redundant)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515293)

I'm not someone who advocates trying to resist the progress of technology, I believe we have to embrace it and change our lives accordingly, but its interesting that Nano-technology research is not more controversial considering the possible dangers involved.

The "dangers" involved in debated and even banned areas such as human cloning, bio engineering, and true AI are really pretty small compared with Nanotech, where one invisibly small nanomachine, programmed to multiply and destroy its host could eradicate life on earth and still not stop. Does Clinton want to be known for having started a second Manhattan project (I suppose it is a lot better than what he will most likely be known for)?

And the prospect of Nanotech has some _very_ interesting implications on the current RIAA, MPAA, and other "evil forces of the world" situation with the freedom of Information. When nanotech comes along, will we have a Copyright Act that forbids programming nanomachines to work-around "nano-scan protection systems"? Will Ford sue me for writing a Nano-assembler that can make a copy of your neighbors Mustang? Will Coca-Cola go after me for having bought one bottle and then copied it to all my friends at the party? And most importantly, if its true as the Copyright defenders say, that copy protection is necessary for the economy to work, will society then end with Nanotech? Maybe all the companies that produce physcial items ought to be out lobbying congress to not spend another cent on Nano-research, which could cripple their bussiness!

Simple (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515303)



Nano technology is dangerous, the way to stop something dangerous is to build defenses for the problems before they actually become problems.

If we had defenses for terroism we wouldnt be in this situation now.

So, what we should do is defend against grey goo problem by
Creating nano technology which only works when shined under a special light, or via solar energy.

Creating defensive technologies BEFORE offensive ones, meaning creating nano repairing technology to repair your DNA and your cells, then if someone does release a nano virus you'll have a nano cure ready and years before the nano virus is even a problem.

Re:Simple (1)

Lemur catta (459575) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515413)

Limiting the use of nanotech won't help. We can restrict legal uses of nanotech all we want ("only works in inert gasses", "only works under certain light", etc). It won't stop a single well-funded lunatic from ignoring those restrictions and setting loose self-replicating nanobots that work in open air and run amok, eating everything.

What we need to do is always know the state-of-the-art in nanotechnology, always consider the worst-possible-case, and build a failsafe against it.

The best safeguard, IMO, would be some kind of device that destroys all nanotech within its operating range. What kind of device? I don't know. Maybe an EM-pulse bomb tuned to a specific frequency known to destroy nanotech. Or anti-goo nanobots that seek out and destroy all other nanobots they contact, then self-destruct after a limited time.

The Cold War stayed cold because all powers had the ability to destroy all life on the planet with the press of a button. In the end, we need the similar ability with respect to nanotech - the ability to, at the press of a button, destroy all nanotech on the planet.

A far fetched, over-bearing, ominous weapon straight out of science-fiction, yes. But so is nanotech - for now. The only way to protect against nanotech being used as a weapon will be to posess the ability to destroy that weapon, utterly and completly.

I didnt say restrict (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515452)



If we dont build weapons
the technology to build weapons wont exsist, thus someone will have to spend huge amounts of money and start from scratch.

If you never built the gun
people wouldnt have even thought about atomic bombs, they'd still be figuring out where to go next from spears and knives and arrows.

Bebop Movie and Nano (2, Interesting)

hakker (11892) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515304)

The Cowboy Bebop movie now playing in Japan is very poinient with this issue.

Anyone remember that Star Trek episode... (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515306)

...where that flaming fuckwit Wesley Crusher falls asleep while working on his nanotech science project and some of them get loose wreaking havoc on the ship?
No?
I didn't think so.

I Don`t Think So ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515310)

The award for the most overrated science goes to - nanotechnology. Yes I know you write IBM using atoms and a tunneling microscope; you can also write "pointless hype".

There is a bad side to everything (1, Insightful)

yzquxnet (133355) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515311)

There will almost always be a positive side and a negative side to just about everything. Nanotech is no different. An example is of the common #2 pencil. Positive, you can write documentation and share it, effectivly. Negatives, it hurts if you poke yourself with it. Deadly in the wrong hands. Samething for nuclear reactions. Good, power. Bad, bombs.

The same logic can be applied to nanotech. The positives that it may help us make dramatic technological leaps (it also being a major leap).But it may also

I don't want to bring back up the Sept 11 tragedy but it illustrates how common and usefull things can be turned against us. This will never change. There will always be that remote chance.

Re:There is a bad side to everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515331)

Problem is, with the nuclear bomb we have invented a pencil that can poke the eyes out of thousands of people simultaneously when wielded by a single man.

Technology is dangerous and always has been. Swords escalated war, then guns, then heavy artillery. Now nukes and biological weapons.

we don't seem to be getting any more responsible or peaceful, and our weapons are becoming more deadly by the minute. Not a good combination.

Well then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515315)

"I think that's a "when", not an "if", as that happens with almost everything."

If that's true, we can sleep easy knowing that nuclear weapons and accompanying worldwide delivery systems will make their way into the hands of people willing to use them against us shortly, and we have nothing to fear from nanotech as we'll all be dead.

Re:Well then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515472)

and we have nothing to fear from nanotech as we'll all be dead.

At least then we'll all have peace, and won't care if our neighbors are total assholes.

Nano Technology should first be used in hospitals (2, Interesting)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515316)



The first use for nano technology will set the tone for the type of technology it is.

We have laser technology but i dont see people using laser guns which burn through bullet proof vests. WHy? Because lasers arent usually USED for that.

Nano Technology should be used for hospitals, to heal people, to ACT as the bullet proof vest meaning, realtime cell repairing, this may make it so people are harder to kill, but isnt that the point of all technologies? To extend and improve the quality of life?

If you have Nano cell repair and Nano technology in hospitals, Nano structures, then making a nano virus or weapon is going to be hard as hell, your best bet would be to exploit bugs in the current nano defensive structures such as turning a persons cell repairing nano bots against them.

Then it will come down to, repairing bugs, instead of a virus problem where we are caught off guard.

In this way, yes people will still die, but it will be freak accidents instead of millions of people dying over a nano plague

Nanotech (5, Insightful)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515359)

Nanotech weapons? This is the kind of thing where you get visions of little machines, building each other over and over, replicating until they turn the whole world into gray goo, right?

I can't think of anything more rediculous. First of all, how are you going to build a self-replicating machine? The obstacles are so large as to be practically insurmountable. Consider that we've never even come close to building a machine that can make duplicates of itself in the macro-sized world, even using pre-machined parts, and then think how complex it would be to make a microscopic machine that could replicate. First of all, data storage would be a problem. The machine would have to have incredibly advanced molecular-level storage technology, and incredibly advanced tiny molecular storage reading technology to read the information. Then it would have to have a computer to process this information, and very sophisticated sensors to tell where it was, and some sort of locomotion device that worked in three dimensions somehow, and some sort of advanced grabbing arm to move stuff with. Just the grabbing arm itself would be an achievement. How do you expect this machine to grab atoms? With other atoms? It would be a clumsy arm that was built with the things it was supposed to move! Plus, the arm would have to build itself as part of the replicating process, so it couldn't include any components that would be too small for it to build itself.

And the final requirement: Power. Where is this machine going to be powered from? It's going to have to have a lot of power in order to grab atoms, since it will have to break atomic bonds to move the atoms around. It must be a steady, reliable source of power, one that is available everywhere in the world if it is going to turn the whole world into gray goo. Sunlight you say? What is going to collect the sunlight? Solar panels? These solar panels would need to be made of certain atoms which wouldn't be available everywhere. How would the machines replicate if they couldn't find the correct elements to build their solar panels? Remember that these are tiny machines that can only roam tiny distances, they can't go out searching for the elements they need.

One must only look at nature to see what can be accomplished in terms of molecular-sized self-replicating machines. Cells are masterpieces of design, with ingenious mechanisms that are still out of our realm of understanding in some cases, and certainly way out of our ability to design and create on our own. And yet algae is in no danger of turning the whole world into "green goo." It only survives under certain conditions. I don't think man will be able to out-design nature for the forseeable future.

Re:Nanotech (3, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515373)

First of all, how are you going to build a self-replicating machine? The obstacles are so large as to be practically insurmountable

Yeah, men will probably walk on the Moon before we build such things!

Re:Nanotech (3, Funny)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515389)

Yeah, men will probably walk on the Moon before we build such things!

That's what I think. A long time before.

Existence proof and complexity cap. (3, Insightful)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515401)

First of all, how are you going to build a self-replicating machine? The obstacles are so large as to be practically insurmountable.

It's easy to demonstrate that it's possible and to put an upper bound on the complexity of a replicater by looking for existing examples. Bacteria are self-replicating machines capable of synthesizing a wide variety of things, and while they're quite complex, understanding them is far from being an insurmountable challenge. Ditto understanding enough to design our own similar machines from scratch.

Re:Existence proof and complexity cap. (1)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515417)

It's easy to demonstrate that it's possible and to put an upper bound on the complexity of a replicater by looking for existing examples. Bacteria are self-replicating machines capable of synthesizing a wide variety of things, and while they're quite complex, understanding them is far from being an insurmountable challenge. Ditto understanding enough to design our own similar machines from scratch.

I have a lot of faith in the abilities of science, but it's going to be a very long time before we can design machines as complex and elegant as bacteria. You're right about the upper bound on complexity, bacteria aren't capable of turning the world into gray goo and I don't think nanomachines ever will be either.

Re:Existence proof and complexity cap. (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515469)

bacteria aren't capable of turning the world into gray goo and I don't think nanomachines ever will be either.

I don't know about turning the entire world into grey goo, but they could certainly do a thorough job on the biosphere.

Re:Existence proof and complexity cap. (3, Insightful)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515505)

bacteria aren't capable of turning the world into gray goo

Oh, I don't know about that. While I agree that one strain of bacteria couldn't live everywhere and turn everything into gray goo, I wouldn't discount our capacity to destroy the planet with bacteria, three or four strains of them.

Certainly, it would be difficult. Your world destroying bacteria would, among other things, need both massive, highly divergent redundancy in all cellular systems (to provide resistance to antibiotics and viability under diverse chemical and physical conditions) *and* have a generation time of no more than twenty minutes (less than that if we assume that other members of the human race are going to try and stop it) *and* have an unthinkably broad sweet of metabolic enzymes (depending on how much of "everything" you want to turn into goo) and, finally, have a complex, multiply redundant (again) and rapidly acting regulatory system to keep all of these features working at the same time.

Is this a tall order? Yes. Do I think we'll have enough of an understanding of proteomics (the relationship between sequence and function of a protein) to do this by the end of the century? Probably not! By the end of the next century? Yes, I think we will.

More to the point, we have the technology (although it would be hard) to wipe out a significant chunk of the entire human population. A bacteria which, quite simply:

a) exposed no human antigens on it's coat

b) survived endocytosis (being eaten) and continued to replicate inside immune cells (HIV is a *virus*, not a bacteria, but this property is still analogous)

c) was resistant to all presently used antibiotics

d) secreted itself into muscus and saliva before symptoms appeared

There are bacteria that do each of those things. Getting all of those features into one bacterium would be difficult, but it doesn't require any fundamental advance in understanding over what we have now; it's a lot more realistic, as a worry, than a horde of microscopic self replicating Daleks. Just because one apocalyptic future is frankly absurd doesn't mean that our scientific advances in other areas don't allow us to destroy ourselves.

Code while you can, for tomorrow you may die.

Re:Nanotech (1)

Wire Tap (61370) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515418)

Really... the next thing they will come up with are cells! Geesh! All that DNA transcription is obviously a farse!

Re:Nanotech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515498)

You didn't even read the comment, did you. Go back and read it. Specifically, the last paragraph.

Data storage not a problem, Energy is the problem (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515431)



Building something on the scale of even a human hair would require so much energy it would be insane,

Storage is the only thing which is possible, we have infinite storage via holographic storage.

Re:Nanotech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515438)

read Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age"...
the entire book is based in a world w/ nanotech & there are a few not so far fetched ideas of what could be done with nanotech as a weapon.
aka. cookie cutters, etc...

WHEN nano-tech becomes feasable it will be possible to turn it into a weapon. Thankfully this wont occur for quite a while.

Re:Nanotech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515464)

chew on this:

"December 17, 1903 - The Wright Flyer lifts into the air at 10:35 am. The flight lasted only 12 seconds and covered a distance of just 121 feet (37 m). It is the first powered, manned, heavier-than-air, controlled flight.

July 16-24, 1967 - Apollo 11: First human lunar landing. At 4:18 p.m. EST on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the lunar surface while command module pilot Michael Collins orbited overhead. "That's one small step for man - one giant leap for mankind." - American Institute of Areonautics and Astronautics history of flight timeline.

64 years.

in 64 years, we advanced more in the science of flight, and in our ablility to remove ourselves from the restraints of gravity than we have in the rest of prior human history combined.

the point is that, givin a short amount of time, a technolgy can advance beyond the logical dreams of the poineers. if we move at that pace, with nanotech, we'll have the ideal bot in fifty years.

what then, is the whole point.

Re:Nanotech (1)

Ingenium13 (162116) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515466)

I must say, I believe that you misunderstand what is meant in this case by self-replicating nanobots. First of all, they wouldn't be machines as you and I know them; no, they will function much in the same way living cells do. Cells are actually nanobots. They are composed of molecules, and move, replicate, accoumulate energy, etc by changing the shapes of, constructing, and taking apart molecules. The first nanobots will most likely resemble something very similar to that of a molecular protein. As nanotechnology advances, we will be able to create nanobots that closer resenbly a cell in its entirity, and hence, be able to reproduce.

Re:Nanotech (2)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515493)

I'm not denying that it may eventually (in the far, far, far, far future) be possible to build machines on the complexity scale of living cells. What I am denying is the absurd premise that we will somehow be able to create unstoppable self-replicating machines to turn the world into gray goo. Cells aren't even close to being able to do that. We aren't even close to being able to make cells.

Re:Nanotech (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515486)

Well, I agree with you... I like how the only response people have to what you said is "pfft... you're dumb" and not any actual response...

The Dangers of Fire (2, Funny)

none2222 (161746) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515371)

"CaveMan Times talked with the Foresight Institute's OOG about the potential of fire, which has benefited greatly from open source research methods, and fire weapons in particular falling into the wrong hands. Recent recognition of potential abuses will likely lead to incrased secrecy in fire research."

Early Silence on nanotechnology (1)

jonathanpost (415904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515378)

Feynman was a mentor of mine (back when
I arrived at Caltech in 1968 on full scholarship at age 16 to study physics) and I actually co-authored a published and anthologized Science poem
with Feynman. He was the acknowledged Great Grandfather of Nanotechnology, I was one of the many grandfathers of Nanotechnology, having done my doctoral dissertation on it (I called it "molecular cybernetics" in 1975-77), before Eric Drexler (the acknowledged father of nanotechnology). I got in contact with Drexler in 1979, when I was at Boeing's Kent Space Center, through our mutual friend Ray Sperber. Drexler insisted that none of us would publish until we thrashed out the safety issues. Then he jumped the gun and published first -- a good article in the NY Academy of Sciences. I'd already gotten Omni magazine (where I'd had 2 cover stories published, including the one that coined the phrase "Cybernetic War" in May 1979)hot to write about Nanotechnology. Then I introduced Eric to Stanley Schmidt, Ph.D., editor of Analog, who gave Eric important early support in the Science Fiction Community. I wish I'd published first, but maybe Eric was right to ask for a period of silence. I did, later, publish key chapters of my Nanotech dissertation in the proceedings of international conferences, and in refereed journals, but Mrs. Drexler (C. Peterson) is more involved in assering her husband's primacy in the field than in maintaining objective historiography. Be that as it may.... Now the Schrodinger's Cat is out of the Bagh, dad!

We must be very careful... (2)

MathJMendl (144298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515382)

This danger occurs with any technology. A while ago, when the most advanced weaponry was things like knieves and swords, a crazy person could only kill a few. Then came the gun, then the bomb, then chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and prospects for mass destruction got worse. No technologies can be restricted forever, and they never have been in the past.

Thus, we must be extremely careful with what we invent. We must also search for ways to defend against them in the inevitable possibility that someone will attempt abuse them. I worry that in the future everyone will need to wear suits to protect against things like this because you could have invisable nano agents attempt to hurt you or have something that looks like a fly and flies around but then injects you with something or releases something at you.

Humans must change (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515440)



If not, we will just build a bigger and bigger gun until someone be it freak accident or on purpose, pulls the trigger and destroys the world, solar system, whatever.

Xenogears, nanotechnology (2)

Amon CMB (157028) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515387)

Anyone played the Playstation RPG Xenogears before? The game has some very interesting issues brought up on Nanomachines... and their potential for abuse.

http://www.ebgames.com/ebx/categories/products/pro duct.asp?pf_id=152239&mscssid=EAVNTR7HB6V18GHFJHQA 2RMRRE4X48K2& [ebgames.com]

Re:Xenogears, nanotechnology (1)

JWhiton (215050) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515437)

How exactly did Xenogears bring up any issues specifically dealing with nanotechnology? As I recall, the Omnigears used some sort of nano, but it didn't play much of a role in the plotline.

The only other instance of nano that I can think of in that game is with Deus. Didn't it try to rebuild its body using some sort of nano? Actually, I think Deus was powered by the "wave existance", which was the only actual divine influence in the game.

That game had a great plot. I had to play it through twice before I understood it, but after that, the storyline's complexity just blew me away.

Re:Xenogears, nanotechnology (2)

Amon CMB (157028) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515458)

The Nanomachines that limited the people's genetic ability, the "Limiters".

Am I Being Sarcastic, Drunk, or Sincere? (0)

Popocatepetl (267000) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515411)

Congratulations Hemos, you've escpaed the consequences of the REAL SLashdot effect:

All editor comments are banal, trite, or misspelled.

Kudos to you.

P.S. I fully agree.

Studying conciousness? (3, Funny)

Col. Panic (90528) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515415)

I was sitting with John Searle, a Berkeley philosopher who studies consciousness.

Well, isn't that what all Berkeley students historically study (albeit from a somewhat detached perspective)?

What 'open source' research methods? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2515429)

What are these 'open source' research methods this person speaks of? Where can i download a copy of these methods? Are they GPL'd?

Unashamed Hype, Unforgivable Exploitation (1)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515446)

Despite the hype of the Nano community, big progress is not "just around the corner", this fret and worry is premature. Worse yet, the article exploits the tragedy of 9-11 to sensationalize its subject matter. The basic premise, others will develop these Nano based weapons if we don't.

They don't mention the Gray-Goo scenario (not achievable anytime soon anyway), but then again, their thesis is not that nano-weapons are uncontrollable, it is that we must have them first.

When it comes to staying ahead in high tech, trust our open society to produce the best results first. If we should ever make big progress, then we need to take steps to keep the technology from falling into the wrong hands. Till then, this is a bunch of useless hysteria, not so subtly trying to get more funds allocated for nano-research, which as they have defined it, is rather broad and vague. Also troubling is the implication, if it is small, maybe it needs oversight and control, again to keep it out of the hands of the bad guys

Don't get me wrong, I'm no Ludite. Nano will be very important in the long run, but there are hundreds of more immediate high tech worries to take care of first. My prediction, machine-intelligence, and machine-human hybridizing will be more immediate impact and concern than weaponizable nano technology , and these technologies are still 30-50 years away themselves.

Given the slow progress of true nano technology, that is producing true Drexler like molecular components and assemblers, the nano marketing people have decided any coating or feature dimension if measured in nano meters, defines nano technology, and thus can claim big breakthroughs are happening today. If you can't produce the results, redefine what success is.

What if Slashdot fell into the wrong hands? (1)

Zach` (71927) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515447)

"I think that's a 'when', not an 'if', as that happens with almost everything."

-Hemos 11/02/01

-------
We have been warned. Quickly, stockpile all anti-MS material. Backup as many previous Slashdot discussions as you can. Buy a gun^H^H^H stun gun. Move to Montana^H^H^H^H^H^H^H a non-MS territory. Quickly friends, time is running out!

Too late (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515460)

Nanobots have already infested much of upstate New York, in fact their in my brain. I can hear them eating me alive. Gaa! The pain!

Of course Nanotech is dangerous... (1)

A Commentor (459578) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515474)

I'm sure everyone here has seen the StarTrek NG eposide where those tiny creatures got lose on the Enterprise, almost totally messed up the computer, and Data started having those bizarre dreams in which Sigmen Fruad(?sp?) kept saying 'Kill Zhem... Kill Zhem all...' (Strong German Accent).

Be afraid, be very afraid (0)

Zapp Brannigan (460759) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515482)

And now let me tell you how the Sept. 11 bombing impacts on my area of research.

Don't forget to be afraid, and give me lots of money for more research so you can feel safe.

Maybe it is time for a new Slashdot category: Sept. 11?

p.s. why does my sarcasm seem to go over everyone's head?

Kif , I have made it with a woman! Inform the men

matter of context (1)

datamyte (182888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515483)

usually "fall into the wrong hands" translates into - already in the wrong hands, but there it will stay. generally anything the american government gets there hands on, ends up being used ultimately for power and control - the atomic bomb, encryption technology (echelon) etc. etc. - call me paranoid, just don't call me a liar.

which country first manufactured anthrax as a biological weapon?

answer: USA

Re:matter of context (0)

huckda (398277) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515488)

nanotech weapons in particular falling into the wrong hands

yeah...right...as if ANY hands would be the right hands...

Other nanotech dangers? (1)

Zach` (71927) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515490)

It looks like everyone has already brought up the point that the danger in putting a "self-destruct" mechanism in a nanite. With millions or billions of nanites, even if the odds of one of them surviving that self-destruction are one in a million, those odds are too high. And if that nanite is designed to construct other nanites (or, worst case, copies of itself) then you have a problem on your hands.

If nanotechnology ever reaches the total control of matter, self-replicating machine, Diamond Age "Seed" level (I don't have enough information to argue either way, but it seems to me that it'd be easier to create macroscopic Von Neumann machines than microscopic ones, and we haven't even done that yet) we're going to need more protection than a self destruct mechanism.

What I'd like to see, in a world swarming with potential nanotech viruses, is an analogous nanotech immune system to take care of them, nanites which can be set to recognize and rip apart other nanites which meet certain parameters. Got a rogue oil-spill cleaning nanite ripping up asphalt in San Francisco? Get the standby security nanites in Oakland to kill it.

There was an interview with a somewhat apocalyptic tech giant (a veep at Sun? I forget) who believed that the ever increasing technological power available to humanity (nanotech, biotech, and AI being three examples I remember) would cause the world to be ripped apart by terrorism in the coming century. He likened it to an airplane in which every passenger had a "Crash" button in front of their seat, and only one psycho was necessary to bring everyone down with him.

I don't think it will be that way. With nanotechnology specifically, if our available defenses are kept up to the level that our potential offenses would require, then having a small set of nanites go rogue wouldn't be a concern; they would be overwhelmed by their surroundings. Going back to that analogy, if everybody had a "Crash" button in front of their airplane seat, but the plane was guaranteed to survive unless 50% of the passengers voted to crash, that would be the safest flight in history.

Anyone else reminded of Lexx? (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515495)


Not to ruin the first few seasons, but all that was needed to destroy an entire dimension was one robotic arm, which had the ability to construct itself, and extremely limited intelligence. Eventually, by sheer mass, they were able to assimilate stars, then everything.

Heh - perhaps dark matter is nanobots, just waiting for us to make the wrong move.

:^)

Ryan Fenton

Whaddya mean, when? (2)

mesocyclone (80188) | more than 12 years ago | (#2515496)

The nanotech attack has already happened. It isn't a matter of when - it is a matter of history!

Culturing, preparing and releasing Anthrax was a nanotech attack!

Future nanotech is more likely to be successful starting with biological systems than with bottom-up silicon engineering, and as such is just a logical extension of biological engineering.
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