So, what is nanotechnology? It can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it really.
In basic terms, this is a side of science that’s given over to the study of tiny robots whose aim in life is to replicate what they’re told to. Think of them like the cells in a human body. We’re made up of literally trillions of these and it could be said they’re the very essence of life.
Nanotechnology uses a similar theory in that scientists are working on how to manipulate “cells” or, more to the point, molecules and atoms. When you think about the possibilities if this type of science is to be successful, they’re literally endless. Imagine being able to eradicate the need for organ replacement or cure world hunger?
If you’re still confused about how this can be done, remember that everything around us is made up of molecules. It includes the materials we use to build houses to the food we eat, and everything in-between.
Is it All Too Small?
To give you an idea of just how mind boggling this area of science is, you should understand just how small the atoms scientists are working with are. Atoms cannot be seen with the naked eye, if they could we would live in a very different world.
That said, there are microscopes available that will reveal an atom to us mere humans. Not the simple ones, of course, but advanced new microscopy allows us to see more details every year. We can now even see molecules inside the cells.
About 30 years ago, the first microscopes arrived that could allow us to view nanoscale molecules and when this happened, nanotechnology really started to become a serious undertaking in the scientific world.
To understand the scope of atoms we’re dealing with think about a marble for a moment: If you were to have one a “nanometer” in size this would equate to a marble the size of earth – that’s how miniscule scientific technologies have become.
It’s a Fact: we Do use Nanotechnology
It’s worth mentioning that manipulating molecules has been around for a lot longer than you might think. The next time you look at a stained-glass window, think about how it was produced. Tiny crystals in the glass were manipulated by heating and cooling which resulted in the color becoming apparent in the glass (the very basic concept of nanotechnology).
Before we get ahead of ourselves, and state that people who existed centuries ago were aware of this type of science, they weren’t. The science world today has just recognized how creating stained glass was done, and how it can be applied to this type of technology.
Whilst there are plenty of scientists (and non-scientists) who insist this technology is still in its early stages, there are products to be found everywhere that have been produced using nanotechnology. Take clothes for instance: There are non-stain shirts and exercise clothing that keeps you warm or cold depending on the climate. Surely all of this proves nanoscience is fact?
It’s Fiction: Nanotechnology will Never Take off
There’s no doubt about it, there are real scientists working on this technology and they’re deadly serious about bringing it into every-day life. After all, that’s why we have water repellent pants.
On the flipside however, we have the skeptics who believe this is the stuff of science fiction, or do they? One man by the name of Ray Kurzweil who is responsible for inventing the first reading machine for the blind believes we will one day either become robots or at the very least, be fused with them.
A shocking statement indeed, but if nanoscience does take off this is a very real possibility as his book – The Age of Spiritual Machines states. When looking at the fictional end of the scale, we see examples all over the film industry and mostly this science isn’t used in a good way. I Robot for instance features nanobots called nanites which are used to eradicate artificial intelligence.
Nanotechnology: Fact or Fiction?
It remains to be seen if this type of science will indeed change the world as we know it, let alone the humans that live in it. After all, nanoscience has been around for far longer than many of us imagine and we are yet to see it make a real impact. As with all things new in technology, there will always be a reason to resist something that could have a truly radical impact on us and the world we live in.
Perhaps as time moves on, our understanding of these microscopic “bots” will grow and before we unleash them onto the world. The fact remains however, that there will always be people out there who have nothing but ill-gain on their minds and this is where the danger lies. Artificial intelligence whichever way we dress it up, will always have originated from the human brain.