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Hazards of Nanotechnology

  1. Oct 19, 2004 #1
    Much is being talked about nanotechnology. I want to know is there any hazards in the products of the nanotechnology.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2004 #2
    Only in its application, but there are hazards in the application of every technology. There is nothing inherently dangerous about nanotechnology, and nanotech will revolutionize everything we know.

    Medicine is one particular example, billions of nanoscopic robots repairing the human body autonomously, self-reproducing, self-maintaining.

    Of course there is the danger of nano-weaponry, the same medical nanobots could be turned into nano-viruses, spreading on their own through any medium, no way to protect against them, etc. The ultimate "biological" weapon.

    So nanotech has enormous potential to revolutionize our world, but like any new technology, if it is used unethically, particularly as a weapon, then it could be very very dangerous.
  4. Oct 19, 2004 #3


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    There is some evidence that Buckyballs(CO_60) have undesirable biological properties. Decorating them with sidechains seems to eliminate the problem though.
  5. Oct 19, 2004 #4
    Should just be [tex] C_{60} [/tex]. What kind of properties? I'm curious.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2004
  6. Oct 19, 2004 #5


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    You are right. Where did that Oxygen come from. :redface:
    Probably was thinking of the OH hydroxyl sidechains they mentioned at the sametime.

    Abstract said dilute (ppb) solutions tended to kill cultured cells.
    Specific mechanism unknown.
    Speculation -> BBs in solution tend to clump generating free radicals.
    Also said that there did not appear to be any DNA damage, so probably not carcinogenic.
  7. Oct 25, 2004 #6


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    One of the danger is here is that this could be done accidentally. Self-reproducing nanobots, like viruses, may not always copy themselves perfectly. The Nano's could "mutate", and the mechanism which regulates their self-reproduction might malfunction. The result; a swarm of nanobots in the bloodstream performing no other function than reproducing themselves. The self-maintenance feature would make a nanobot virus even harder to kill.
  8. Oct 26, 2004 #7

    This is true, that hadn't occurred to me yet.
  9. Oct 26, 2004 #8


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    You make sure you have a way to turn them off, and make sure they double-check their work.

    Also, you could use some sort of one-time treatment where the nanobots couldn't reproduce.
  10. Oct 26, 2004 #9
    I'll be running for my life is Microsoft ever gets their nose into this!
  11. Oct 26, 2004 #10
    Nanotechnology seems to me to be a technology with the potential for terrible consequences. Not really for any kind of virus threat or the likes, but for the possibility of a "technological singularity". Nanobots could perform so many functions that, combined with computer technology, humans would become evolutionarily useless. Not that it should come as any suprise considering that most species last only 100,000 years.
  12. Oct 26, 2004 #11


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    Humans aren't exactly 'most species'

    I'm not really worried about any technological singularity... there are limits to ressources and fabrication time that should stop that from happening.

    Although it could be pretty cool.
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