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"COAL AND DIAMONDS, sand and computer chips, cancer and healthy tissue: throughout history, variations in the arrangement of atoms have distinguished the cheap from the cherished, the diseased from the healthy. Arranged one way, atoms make up soil, air, and water; arranged another, they make up ripe strawberries. Arranged one way, they make up homes and fresh air; arranged another they make up ash and smoke."
- K. Eric Drexler

  THE NANOTECHNOLOGY AGE   

Welcome to The Nanotechnology Age

ATOMIC PRECISION:
What is Nanotechnology?

    INTRODUCTION
  1. MEDICINE
  2. COMPUTERS
  3. MATERIALS
  4. VIRTUAL REALITY
  5. MILITARY
  6. ENERGY
  7. ECONOMICS
  8. DANGERS
  9. THE FUTURE
  10. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN
    CONCLUSION

INTRODUCTION

        Definition: Nanotechnology, "the manufacturing technology of the 21st century," is defined as the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers (billionths of a meter, or 10-9m.) A nanometer (nm) is one-billionth of a meter, or a millionth of a millimeter - smaller than the wavelength of visible light and a hundred-thousandth the width of a human hair. At this scale, unique properties of materials emerge which can be applied to produce technologies and products with entirely new abilities and applications. At the nanoscale, physical, chemical, optical and electrical properties of materials differ from the properties of matter at either smaller scales, such as atoms, or at the larger scales of the "middle world" that we humans inhabit. Nanotechnology (NT) involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter only a few nanometers in size.

Atom        The Atom: To convey a sense of the infinitesimally miniscule scale of an atom, consider that there are an astonishing 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 6 sextillion, or 6 billion trillion) atoms in just one drop of water! Atoms are just fractions of a nanometer across, ranging in size from the smallest, helium with a diameter of 0.064 nm, to the largest, cesium with a 0.450 nm diameter. But atoms are not solid, hard, round balls, they are in fact vaguely defined spheres that are almost completely empty. Electrons orbit the central nucleus in a "probability cloud" of possible locations while popping in and out of existence. The bound together protons and neutrons at the center of an atom are collectively called the nucleus. The nucleus contains over 99.9% of an atom's mass, but is just 1/23,000th to 1/145,000th the diameter of the atom itself. The rest of the space inside an atom is occupied by vacuum - it is completely empty. We think of atoms as solid, however even the sub-atomic particles that make up the entire mass of the atom are not 'solid' in any traditional sense of the word. Collectively, groups of atoms fit together in various discrete ways to form molecules. For the purpose of simplification when dealing with individual atoms we can think of and treat them as elementary spheres.

        Atoms are the Lego blocks of the Universe, out of which any physical thing can be built. Nanotech will make feats that seem entirely impossible to us today, become commonplace in the world of tomorrow. Nature already uses nanotechnology in the molecular machinery of every living thing. Nature's designs are working examples to us of what can be made. However, rather than using trial and error, we can apply intelligent design principles to our creations.

HOME           Nanotechnology: The next technological revolution. According to futurist and inventor, Raymond Kurzweil, the Nanotech Age is expected to begin between 2025 and 2050, bringing an end to the current Information Age which began in 1990. Humankind is poised at the precipice of the single greatest innovation in the history of science and technology. Coming is a Nano Revolution that will be at least as transformative as the Industrial Revolution (perhaps much more so), but packed into just a few years. Well beyond present-day nanotech applications, mature "molecular manufacturing" or "molecular nanotechnology" will enable us to manifest our dreams (or nightmares). We are nearing the ability to build molecules out of atoms mechanochemically, and to use these molecular building blocks to construct virtually any substance or device we can conceive of. This most powerful technology of all will radically transform and extend the capabilities of practically every area of human endeavor by exploring the ultimate limits of fabrication. It is a potential answer to all of our problems, and it hands us the power to destroy ourselves and our home more easily than ever before.

         The Universe has been seeking complexity at an ever faster rate since the Big Bang, or its equivalent, began space and time. Once some level of complexity has been achieved, this is used as the basis for a bootstrapping effect into ever deeper complexity. In some sense, it appears that this progression is the very purpose of the cosmos. We and our technologies are a part of this natural mechanism, and the creations of our creations will be its crowning achievement. It appears that this process has taken on a life, mind, and intentionality of its own, and that we are mere pawns in its game. This process that transferred to us with the making of the first stone tool, ultimately ends with molecular nanotechnology, or perhaps something unimaginably more advanced.

         The Nano Age is beginning, as is an exponential climb into a vastly different world. Nanotechnology will become the most powerful tool the human species has ever used. With it, we will literally fashion the world of tomorrow into whatever we so desire. This is an awesome responsibility, and one that deserves extremely careful consideration now so that we don't find ourselves unconsciously moving in undesirable directions later. The character of the nanotech-world we are beginning to create is yet unknown, but we feel there is real cause for rational optimism. This site attempts to show why we should be excited by the prospect of an entirely improved world, both for us and the planet as a whole, and outline some of the potential pitfalls we must avoid as the technology gains momentum. Presented herein is an attempt to unveil the possible ramifications of (near and long-term) future nanotechnology on our world, through a projection of current technological trends. Our primary focus is on the positive potential of this transformative technology, with a separate section devoted to possible dangers, misuse and downsides of NT. It is not possible to predict with much precision what our world, transfigured by the nanotech revolution, will look and feel like, because much of what will shape that character has not even been imagined yet. We are standing at a time before the invention of the automobile, trying to envision superhighways and traffic jams. Though we cannot predict where we will end up in exact detail, we can extrapolate trends in computation and miniaturization and incorporate the latest scientific breakthroughs to construct a (hopefully) relatively accurate and vivid account of our nano-enabled future. For the first time in our history we have the power to literally design a future of our choice. May we choose wisely.

MEDICINE

        Medicine is probably one of the most exciting areas for potential applications of nanoscience and technology. Such current givens as disease and even aging itself promise to be overturned. Disease and ill health are caused largely by damage at the cellular and molecular level. Today's finest surgical tools are, at this scale, large and crude.

        The medical nanorobot (nanobot for short) is expected to become the ultimate tool of nanomedicine. A nanobot is a still theoretical robot the size of a bacterium, composed of molecular-size parts, such as gears, bearings, and ratchets. "Medical nanorobotics holds the greatest promise for curing disease and extending health span. With diligent effort, the first fruits of medical nanorobotics could begin to appear in clinical treatment as early as the 2020s." - Robert A. Freitas Jr.

         The human body and mind, though extremely impressive, and still the most complex thing we know of in the observable universe, in fact leave considerable room for improvement. Evolution has slowly but persistently worked for billions of years to create creatures that are capable of carrying on its legacy of incremental complexification. Artificial red blood cells called respirocytes, for instance, could store and transport 236 times more oxygen than a natural red blood cell, and would be only a fraction of the size. Computers can potentially be 1012 times smaller and use 106 times less power than they do today.

"Nanotechnology should let us economically build a broad range of complex molecular machines (including, not incidentally, molecular computers). It will let us build fleets of computer controlled molecular tools much smaller than a human cell and built with the accuracy and precision of drug molecules. Such tools will let medicine, for the first time, intervene in a sophisticated and controlled way at the cellular and molecular level. They could remove obstructions in the circulatory system, kill cancer cells, or take over the function of sub cellular organelles. Just as today we have the artificial heart, so in the future we could have the artificial mitochondrion.

Equally dramatic, nanotechnology will give us new instruments to examine tissue in unprecedented detail. Sensors smaller than a cell would give us an inside and exquisitely precise look at ongoing function. Tissue that was either chemically fixed or flash frozen could be analyzed literally down to the molecular level, giving a completely detailed "snapshot" of cellular, sub cellular and molecular activities."

         The field of cryonics depends upon the precise control over molecular structures in order to repair the delicate structures of cells damaged by both storage at extremely low temperature, and the reversal of toxcicity induced by the cryoprotectant agents used. Advanced nanotechnology could make this as routine a procedure as anesthetic in surgery is today, and could even make manned long-distance space travel more practical in the future.

         Nanotechnology is expected to find application (in concert with genetics and robotics) in medical diagnostics, aging/life extension, engineered organ (even cellular/sub cellular organelle) replacements, disease treatments, advanced pharmacology and many other areas.

 

COMPUTERS

"Nanotechnology will let us build computers that are incredibly powerful. We'll have more power in the volume of a sugar cube than exists in the entire world today." - Ralph Merkle

NEC Earth Simulator Supercomputer        Nanocomputers are expected to become the logical successors to today's microcomputers/microprocessors. A supercomputer today that takes up a large building and uses over 10 MW of power could potentially be shrunk down to less than a cubic millimeter in volume and use less than 2 W of power to do the same amount of processing with maximally efficient molecular nanocomputing. The oft-cited "Moore's Law," (which states that the number of transistors that can inexpensively be put in an integrated circuit doubles roughly every 18-24 months,) and is expected to continue its exponential progression for roughly 20 years longer until it reaches the fundamental barrier (for now) of the atom, will lead us to the nanocomputer.

        Data storage capacity is also headed directly for the fundamental limit of the atom. It will one day be possible to store at least 2 million terabytes of data in a cubic millimeter of space with molecular nanotechnology. A computer nanoprocessor would have individual logic units smaller than a cubic nanometer in volume. Most objects in our environment will be imbued with intelligence via microscopic nanocomputers. Almost limitless nanocomputer processing power will enable novel applications beyond our powers to imagine in the early 21st century.

 

MATERIALS

Atomic Scale Universal Joint        Nanomaterials is a branch of the field of materials science which deals with materials having morphological features smaller than 100 nm in at least one dimension. This classification includes thin films, quantum dots, etc. When matter is reduced to the nanoscale (1 - 100 nm,) the effects of increased surface-area, in tandem with quantum effects, begin to dominate material properties. As a particle's size decreases, a greater proportion of its atoms are found at the surface compared with those inside. Larger surface area equals greater reactivity. Quantum confinement results in size-dependent property changes, meaning materials with nanoscale dimensions (nanomaterials) can start to exhibit very different optical, electrical and magnetic properties, (especially as the structure or particle size approaches the smaller end of the nanoscale) compared to what they would on a macroscale. This effect has been likened to an expansion of the entire periodic table of the elements out into another dimension; as though we now have access to many new primary elements which did not exist before, enabling unique/novel applications. For instance, when made into nanoparticles, opaque substances may become transparent (copper); inert materials attain catalytic properties (platinum); stable materials turn combustible (aluminum); solids become liquids at room temperature (gold); insulators turn into conductors (silicon). Materials such as gold, which are chemically inert at normal scales, can serve as a potent chemical catalysts at the nanoscale. Much of the fascination and potential of nanotechnology stems from these unique surface area and quantum phenomena exhibited by matter at the nanoscale. 

        Nanomaterials are not simply another step in the miniaturization of materials. They often require very different production approaches. There are several processes to create nanomaterials, classified as "top-down" or "bottom-up." Although many nanomaterials are currently at the laboratory stage of manufacture, a few of them are being commercialised.

 

VIRTUAL REALITY

         In the short-term, the level of simulated realism delivered through Head Mounted Displays (HMD) will likely approach the point of visual believability. Current technologies such as head-tracking and haptic suits are round-about methods of achieving simulated reality.

        Audio: You may think that "surround sound" audio technology is about as good as it can get, however there is room for improvement. Holophony (or holophonic sound) is an existing audio recording technique that uses the principles of holographics but applied to sound to recreate the impression of a sound source 360 degrees around you as well as any position above or below. Omnidirectional microphones are used to enable the recreation of both the shape and direction of sound wavefronts, resulting in realistic, lifelike, three-dimensional sounding audio recordings.

        Current technological abilities lend themselves well to simulating sight and sound with reasonably high-fidelity, but they do nothing to address the other three senses. In order to render a more believable overall virtual environment, tactile (haptic) feedback and simulated smells will be required. Virtual Taste will require direct manipulation of the brain through either invasive or non-invasive means. Touch, taste and smell simulation will become much more effective and economically viable for commercial applications than today's crude approaches as a direct result of nanotech advances.

        Virtual Reality (VR) offers freedom from the constraints of the laws of physical reality. The laws of physics can be perfectly simulated in a virtual environment, or they be modified or even completely ignored. VR is the ultimate tool to express the imagination, and it is the only medium with which the imagination can potentially be expressed without limit. Technology tends to blur the lines between real and virtual. We have been moving toward VR since we started changing our physical environments into something 'other' than the natural world. Cities are an example of a virtual reality.

        An ironic consequence of MNT - the ability to construct almost anything out of atoms with absolute precision - is that it may eventually lead us directly away from the entire paradigm of building things out of physical material. Virtual Reality will enable us to build worlds not out of atoms, but out of light. Even with god-like control over atoms, they are a finite resource, but with 100% realistic VR there are no limits to what we can do or the amount of it we can create.

Utility Foglet        There are many possible applications of VR, from entertainment and fantasy to therapeutic applications, training, medical and engineering visualizations. VR has come a long way in recent years and is already being used in all of these areas. Nanotechnology will create new applications for VR and new methods of achieving virtual realities. Besides a simply more advanced/finer resolution nanotech HMD/haptic suit approach, nanobots inside the brain could temporarily shut off normal sensory data and replace it with data signals to construct a virtual environment. Similarly, but less invasively, ultrasonic waves of varying frequencies and patterns beamed into the brain can recreate all five senses. Another approach that most closely resembles the sci-fi holodeck of Star-Trek is "utility fog" - a hi-tech re-configurable arrangement of micro-scale, atomically precise robots (foglets) capable of creating temporary, simulated three-dimensional structures.

Second Life        SecondLife (SL) is a 3D virtual world that makes use of the connectivity of the Internet to enable users (called Residents) to interact with one another through virtual avatars. SL shares some similarities with Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, (MMORPG) however the biggest difference is that Residents are able to help construct the virtual world in which they interact. Residents can socialize, explore, take part in various activities, and travel by teleporting instantly to and from any location they wish. SL represents an alternative way to share information and interact with others over the Internet, while bringing a social dimension to the web that is currently missing from it in its 2D incarnation. Internet-connected, interactive, immersive, three-dimensional, computer-generated environments incorporating the defining characteristics of, and improving upon the SecondLife model are slated to be the next big thing in VR.

 

MILITARY

        Faster, smaller, lighter computers produced with nanocircuitry will enable a wide variety of novel applications across all areas of military technology. Complete electronic systems will fit into a cubic millimeter or smaller volume making them extremely portable. Sophisticated electronics are expected to be implemented in almost every area of the military, being integrated into pallets, boxes, transport containers, and all equipment from rifles, ammunition, glasses and even clothing. A supercomputer by today's standards, built with molecular electronics circuitry, could easily be fit into a standard rifle bullet to intelligently guide it to the target. Computing is expected to become integrated into virtually every object, imbuing intelligence and enabling intercommunication between devices and soldiers.

        Continual improvement of computers, possibly leading to quantum computers (if possible) in around the 20 year time frame give or take, will have increasing uses in communications, code breaking, optimization problems, simulations, etc.

        Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be increasingly used on the battlefield directly, or to train soldiers. AI may eventually approach, reach and ultimately exceed human intelligence. It is uncertain how this will be integrated into various military systems. It is expected that AI/robotics systems will increasingly be used in place of soldiers, likely using telepresence to put distance between humans and increasingly powerful nanotech weapons. AI will implemented in large scale strategy planning, battle management, and logistics systems. Unmanned, intelligent (able to learn), distributed robotic systems of all sizes and kinds will be routinely used.

        Battery technology will not scale down quite as rapidly or dramatically as computer systems are expected to, however they will also see a large reduction in volume thanks to NT. Portable power generation from high efficiency and extremely light weight nanocomposite collapsible or roll-up solar panels would provide immediate power or recharging capabilities. Combined with much improved batteries utilizing thin-films technologies will deliver vastly higher power to weight ratios in the field, while improved efficiencies will make better use of available power. Fuel cells with nano-structured electrodes and membranes will likely be widely employed in small, medium and large scale applications. Flexible displays that are higher resolution and better efficiency, much more rugged, and easier to see in high light will be widely employed.

        NT will provide an extended array of materials with new and improved properties. Composite materials have a long history of military use, and nanoscale composites promise significant improvement over current material properties. Nanomaterials will reduce weight requirements while increasing functionality of supplies. Nanocomposite magnets will allow stronger permanent magnets, making smaller and lighter weight motors and generators with higher energy density. Materials with reduced flammability, better insulation/conduction of heat/electricity etc., increased elastic modulus, lighter, harder, improved tensile strength and higher fracture toughness to name just a few are all expected to lead to novel military uses from armor to aircraft and far beyond.

        Active materials that can exert a force, or change shape under various conditions already find wide use in military. NT will improve these properties and lead to entirely new active materials (for example, using contracting molecules to move an exoskeleton, or adjusting stiffness/form to vary aerodynamic characteristics.) Integration with sensors, power and processing can turn active materials into 'smart' materials. Improved NT-enabled materials will find uses throughout the military, immediately to 20 years or more in the future for various aspects.

        Novel weapons are an almost inevitable consequence of NT research. Existing weapons systems will at first be enhanced by NT, then in many instances replaced entirely.

ENERGY

        Nanotech will work on several fronts to greatly increase available power from sustainable generation while lowering the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Much of the power generated today is wasted in transmission from a centralized generation plant to the end-user, or does not get used for the desired purpose due to inefficiencies. NT again is able to offer solutions to these issues. Decentralized energy increases reliability and security, and perhaps most significantly, puts land to better use. 

        Wind and solar power are perhaps the first sustainable methods of generating power to come to mind, however there are many others. Today's silicon solar panels are crude, heavy, bulky, fragile, inefficient and expensive. With NT addressing every one of these issues, solar may become the top pick for clean and sustainable worldwide power generation. NT is also advancing battery technology to allow much higher capacity, more durable cells to be manufactured less expensively. Newer technologies such as ultracapacitors may take over completely from batteries because of their potential for much higher discharge rates, decreased recharge times and greater number of possible cycles. Current ultracapacitors have an energy density that is only about 1/10,000th the volumetric energy density of gasoline, however they have the potential to be greatly improved, whereas gasoline has a fixed energy density and is non-renewable.

        Cost steers the direction we take with regard to energy generation and storage, and for most of the history of transportation and industrial/domestic energy use, oil and gas have been the #1 pick for inexpensive and highly concentrated power. NT will start to make better, alternative power sources cost competitive and eventually much less expensive than traditional oil/gas. Even before prices reach par, many people and industries will make the switch out of concern for the environment etc. Ultimately the use of fossil fuels will be all but entirely phased out - hopefully well before they run out.     

        Current-day battery technology tops out at an energy density of ~360 Wh/kg. Gasoline, by comparison, has a very high energy density of roughly 12,700 Wh/kg (45.7 MJ/kg). Through nanotechnology, the energy density of batteries can potentially be increased even beyond that of liquid fuels. For use in vehicles, electric motors also have a higher energy conversion efficiency and lower mass than combustion engines. These factors combine to allow for performance specifications that far exceed current technology in every measurable way.

 

ECONOMICS

        It is prudent to consider the possible economic outcomes of the accelerated emergence of this very advanced technology. Even partial realization of the potentials of NT over the coming decades has the potential to forever alter the structure of society, business and economics. NT will affect all aspects of economics: employment, wages, purchasing, etc. Nanotechnology dismantles certainty so effectively that not even death or taxes are safe.

Money        Once nanotechnological developments reach a critical mass of innovation, most vertical industries (ones that are focused on a relatively narrow range of goods and services) will be affected.

        It can easily be seen that some nanotech innovations would have a radical impact on the current economic system. For instance, the cost of manufacturing all physical goods will be greatly reduced. Nanochips may one day make possible computers many times faster than today's best supercomputers, that would fit comfortably in your pocket. This would affect much more than just the computer industry. The markets for plastics and steel may be virtually eliminated thanks to super-strong nanomaterials

        Markets, industries and entire economies are deeply interlinked. Large disruptions like those expected to occur due to NT will have widespread and far-reaching impact, both positive and negative.

        The future economy is expected to be (re)shaped in large part by nanotechnology. The risks of not anticipating and preparing for the resulting changes to the economy are too immense to consider. The world is already being economically reshaped daily due to current innovations. NT will put this situation into overdrive.

        Looking further into the future, advanced technologies such as the molecular assembler (replicator) will, if they become a reality, cause drastic changes to the economic infrastructure.

 

DANGERS

        Nanotechnology poses major risks in terms of both abuse and accidents. It grants us the power to absolutely annihilate ourselves and our beautiful planet. Right now, while the pace of this technological ingression into ever deeper complexity is the slowest it will ever again be, we must get ahead of the release of new NT products with a regulatory system that truly works - and stay ahead of it permanently. Now is the time to begin, not after the first casualties of unregulated NT are seen. We must plan today to meet the challenges of tomorrow or we may find ourselves playing a desperate and difficult game of catch-up.

 

THE FUTURE

The Eschaton        The final frontier, it seems, will not be the vastness of space, but the ultra-miniscule realm of the atoms. As we approach the fundamental physical limits of what can be done with the matter in the Universe, truly magical opportunities await us. Ray Kurzweil has shown that our technology now doubles its capabilities every 12 months. This yearly exponential (inverse of logarithmic) growth in the form of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384, 32768, 65536, 131072, 262144, 524288, 1048576... clearly shows that though the pace begins slowly, there is a massive increase packed into the last few years sampled. We can expect computer processors to be 1000+ times faster than they are today in just ten years, one million times faster in 20 years, and a billion times faster in 30 years. Not only will processing power vastly increase in the coming years, but the volume and mass of physical material required will also shrink significantly. Carry these trends of more power in less size forward at the same exponential pace they have been going since before the first electronic computer, and you eventually run hard up against the atom.

        If we continue to stay on the same track we have been on for the past thousand+ years, we will make a great transition into being a species that has full control over atoms. The world will become a molecular manufacturing power and barring self annihilation, humanity will literally transcend itself. It is hypothesised that this will lead us to ultimately hand the baton of technological progress on to artificially intelligent machines who will in turn create generations of computers successively more intelligent than themselves. This process will continue with greater and greater (exponential) speed, ultimately culminating in what is referred to as a technological singularity. At this point, the human era will be ended, either through obsolescence or a merger with technology. This will give rise to a change at least comparable in scope to the rise of human life on this planet.

Bottom up approach - There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom

Missing Link CyborgTranshumanism + Posthumanism

        Transhumanism refers to a mind with perhaps three or four times the cognitive (computational) capacity of a human. Posthumanism refers to an evolution beyond that of transhumanism.

The Environment

        Technology in its early, imperfect form - the only form we have seen so far - has been a mostly negative force on the environment. Molecular Nanotechnology (MNT) will produce effectively no waste and not involve any cutting, grinding, sanding, melting, forging, or herding of large numbers of unruly atoms. Nanocomputers will ultimately control the direct "printing" of any item via an assembler straight from data using pure feedstock atoms or molecules. MNT will make exactly what it is expected to make - no more, no less - and therefore no pollution. Matter will be used more efficiently by this technology and put to much better use; rather than just taking up mass and space, objects will become multi-functional, intelligent and atomically precice. Our burning of fossil fuels as a crude source of energy has put enough carbon into the atmosphere to be recycled into a vast number of useful products. Atmospheric carbon scrubbing nano-filters could be inexpensively employed to harvest the excess carbon from the air for use as a feedstock material.

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

  Nanomachine       In 50 years, people will look back on the present era with the same viewpoint that we currently reserve for the medieval times - when technology was primitive and people lived short, impoverished lives. Technological progress around the world has been steadily refining its methods to manufacture more precise, less expensive products. Extrapolate these remarkably regular trends forward a few more decades and it becomes quite clear where we are headed: molecular manufacturing.

         NT cannot create matter or transmutate atoms of one kind into atoms of another. NT will make mining materials from earth/space a less expensive and more automated process thereby decreasing the cost of elemental materials across the board. Presumably, the value of a relatively scarce element, for example gold, will drop somewhat over the long run, but not a lot (unless we can inexpensively mine asteroids, or discover an economic way to make gold atoms, etc.) Materials such as diamonds, which are scarce only due to the way their atoms are arranged, not the kind of atoms they are constructed from (carbon in this case), are expected to plummet in value. Current-day manufacturing techniques ensure that costs rise rapidly as the required level of purity of a material goes up. 100% purity is essentially impossible to achieve today. NT should make purity close to 100% the norm. With NT, existing elements gain new uses and more plentiful elements can replace expensive materials in many applications. Iron and steel, for example, are heavy,Dr. Kim Eric Drexler weak, expensive and prone to corrosion. Nanotech could make a very inexpensive alternative form of carbon fiber from nanotubes that is far lighter, stronger, and longer-lasting than steel.

        Nanotechnology is a uniquely interdisciplinary enabling technology. Drawing on the resources and expertise of every other field, nanotech will stretch the limits of what is possible.

Challenges and Choices of the Last Technological Revolution: Engines of Creation by K. ERIC DREXLER

 

CONCLUSION
A Nanotech Future?

        The extent to which molecular nanotechnology has the potential to reshape our world, down to the most fundamental levels of possibility is truly revolutionary, in every sense of the word. Assuming advanced molecular nanotechnology becomes a reality, which it appears is a virtual certainty at this point, it will play a pivotal role in either the survival or extinction of humanity. The power to arrange atoms will ultimately prove far greater than even the power to rip them apart or fuze them together. Based on this conclusion, and the assumption that nanotechnology has already gained an irrevocable presence in every facet of our world, we postulate that staying on top of all current nanoscience breakthroughs and nanotech products should become near priority #1 for all concerned governmental/private powers alike. Ultimately, either governments or private organizations will be relied upon to protect the world against the threats of nanotechnology. Today, national defense is the responsibility of governments, but certain areas such as protection against computer viruses for example, may be more effectively managed privately. Which level of society is charged with controlling such new threats remains to be seen, however we suspect that it will (and should be) somewhat of a division between the two. It may even be necessary to create a new world nanotech organization with the authority to oversee both at an even higher level.

        We hope that this website broadens your awareness of the potential of this technology to transform our world and lives, while serving as an effective guide to our not-so-distant future. May we choose to use our new found power for the betterment of all!


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