Nanofactories: The Scientific Equivalent Of Defecating In a Swimming Pool?

Given the recent discussions of the effect of the Singlarity University, and the difficulty of discussing nanotechnology without getting sidetracked by discussions about life extension, nanofactories and human extension, someone recently commented that these ideas have ‘polluted the well (of nanoscience).’

The problem is that the propagation of these rather odd ideas is continuous, just when you think the last nanobot has been squashed you find another infestation in some corner of the interweb. Once people get it into their heads that nanofactories will be built there is no rational argument that will dissuade them – rather like a bunch of religious fanatics.

It’s a little like attempting to build rather splendid house, or if you subscribe to the nanotech saving humanity idea, a social and cultural centre, only to find that one of your neighbours sneaks in and regularly defecates in your swimming pool. It’s not the end of the world, but you rather wish that they would find something more positive to do. (This is the bit where I usually get challenged to prove whether there is any evidence that nanofactories will not work, and have to fish around for a suitable metaphor for attempting to prove a negative…)

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