The Material World Transformed
The digital age has fundamentally transformed humanity’s relationship with information. Through the advent of personal computer, Internet, smart phone, and social media technology, we have access to knowledge, to transactions, and to interpersonal communication that far transcends what was possible a few decades ago. The digitization of information has radically transformed almost every aspect of society — from education to careers, from entertainment to personal relationships, rom child rearing to high finance.
And yet the truly radical digital transformation has yet to come. Information was made digital through systems that arrange and precisely order patterns of electrons. What are the implications of coming systems that can can arrange and precisely order patterns of molecules?
Nanotechnology promises to migrate the benefits of the digital age from information to material goods. The possibilities raised by this migration are enormous — both the benefits and risks. The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology says:
The next Industrial Revolution is right around the corner. Fourth generation nanotechnology — molecular manufacturing — will radically transform the world, and the people, of the early 21st century. Whether that transformation will be peaceful and beneficial or horrendously destructive is unknown. Although nanotechnology carries great promise, unwise or malicious use could seriously threaten the survival of the human race.
A panel of nanotechnology experts outline the opportunities, benefits, and risks that nanotechnology represents.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
7 PM PDT / 10 PM EDT