* Nano particles would normally tend to clump together, forming larger, less dangerous particles--but nanotechnologists
take pains to prevent clumping by adding special coatings.
: There is tremendous excitement about nanotechnology, which is concerned with building tiny structures in our bodies and every object we deal with.
It has great practical utility, and, if we take a closer look at the well-known technologies that we have been using, in some ways we have been like Moliere's character, nanotechnologists
without knowing it--we have been applying some principles of this paradigm unconsciously.
The degree of structure in the nanometer range has sparked the interest of nanotechnologists
in the processes governing diatom wall formation.
Such aims have raised concerns among people around the world who love freedom and unconquered nature - people who would never be heard if the nanotechnologists
had their way.
Utilizing the ability to manipulate and order atoms precisely, the nanotechnologists
envision a future in which all our tasks and desires--including eternal health--will be carried out by invisible armies of molecular robots.
have barely reached the stage where they can manipulate individual atoms--let alone build tiny robots capable of rearranging the atoms in a single cell.
Just plug the phrase "posthuman" into an Internet search engine and you will quickly find yourself hooked up with roboticists, nanotechnologists
, cyborg wannabes, anti-aging enthusiasts, cloning cultists, plastic surgeons who want to give people wings, William Gibson-reading wireheads chatting about brain downloads, and future-minded Californians storing human heads in cryogenic freezers.
Some will wonder if nanotechnologists
are "playing God" by tinkering so directly with nature.
The striking evidence that life depends on constructive uses of Brownian motion (manifested at the nm scale as random molecular motions) opens new vistas for nanotechnologists
. If cells can make constructive uses of Brownian motion, then it seems reasonable that someday scientists and engineers will similarly find a way to make a constructive use of it in nanotechnology applications.
Founded by nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler, the guidelines ask that nanotechnologists
agree to relinquish the development of physical entities that can self-replicate in a natural environment.
and genetic engineers offer the two lines of defense that always mark these debates: We have safeguards in place, and it's inevitable anyway.