A small, brave new world …
Technology has historically served as an impetus for profound changes throughout human civilization. From the advent of farming to the internet, the past is replete with examples of the transformative power of applying the mind to its environment.
In the modern day, the next transformative advancement appears focused upon extending the control and accessibility the internet gave us over information to the realm of matter … one atom at a time.
The possibilities nanotechnology will enable are currently predicted to be literally endless. From futuristic disease-isolating biomarkers, to reparable, super-strong chains of carbon nanotubes, this scientific field is advancing at a rate that may be outpacing public awareness.
While it is clear that advertisers are capitalizing upon public awareness of this “diminutive” trend, and policymakers are starting to pay attention to the potential health risks, the discussion of potential future abuse seems limited in scope.
The US military has made the development and mastery of this technology a high priority. This, when viewed in light of the increasing levels of (and efforts towards) militarization of our society, especially at the highest echelons of executive power, indicate that the wariness seen today needs to be extended beyond the standard policy formulations of risk, especially as we approach the realization of these tools of infinite potential. Without an eye to the greatest possible abuses, future defensive mechanisms and regulatory structures designed to preserve the notion of freedom currently enjoyed by many US citizens may prove woefully inadequate for their purpose.