Utility Fog
The Downside


I don't know about anyone else but for me this is pretty scary stuff! I will refer to a timely article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat by Bill Joy (Sunday, April 23, 2000) that states that while we want the benefits of these technologies we also have a responsibility for the future of our species. His article refers to GNR, Genetic-engineering, Nanotechnolgy, and Robotics. The author of the PD article suggests that:

  • Scientists, technologists, corporate heads take a "Hippocratic Oath" to avoid weapons of mass destruction.
  • An international body be created to examine the ethical issues and dangers of the new technology. The United States already had such an office, the Office of Technology Assessment, which was recently abolished.
  • We make companies take more responsibility for the consequences of their research and development by imposing a stricter notion of liability.
  • International controls be imposed on knowledge and technologies that have great potential but are judged to be too dangerous to be made commercially available.
  • We relinquish pursuit of knowledge and development of technologies that are so dangerous it would be better that they never be made available.

These technologies are being presently being persued commercially amongst intense competition and with the help of the accelerated power of computers. NASA Ames is working on it, there is a whole new company dedicated to it called Zyvex, they are teaching it at major universities all over the world. Our government is granting funds for research on it.

Molecular Conductive Pipe I have tried to put all this information into a nutshell, so to speak. I know it is very technical and might be hard to follow for some, myself included! The most helpful website is Bill Spence's Nanotechnology Magazine that has links to every possible site on this subject. I also want to thank him for referring me to the following archives (he suggested the Dec. 1999 issue) Nano Magazine - Back Issues which you can download in PDF format, and for his permission to use any of the pictures that appear on his site.

Would I like to live for a couple hundred years? You bet! But only after we solve the problems inherent in this technology.

Introduction | Background | Basics
Nano-Computing | Utility Fog | Nano-Medicine
The Downside | Comments | Sources
Valerie Brownrigg
Telecommunications Class
Santa Rosa Junior College
Section 5294
Spring 2000