The Nanotechnology Revolution
Free Background Stock. Human Biological Invasive Technologies. #Nanotechnology
“Estimates on how long we have to wait for major breakthroughs in nanotechnology vary greatly. Robert Freitas told one interviewer that the kind of nanomedicine he envisions is “at least 10 to 20 years away”; in a different interview he put the number at 40 years. Another nanotech expert says molecular manufacturing is 20 or 30 years away. We’ll have to wait at least ten years before we can ride in “superintelligent” airplanes enhanced with nanotechnology, according to a Boeing executive. An all-purpose nanotech entertainment system could “arrive on the scene around the year 2020,” according to one writer [John Papiewski, “The Companion: A Very Personal Computer,” in Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance, B.C. Crandall, ed.]. The British Ministry of Defense says nanotech won’t hit its stride any earlier than 20 or 30 years from now, but a Canadian expert says it will start to dramatically change our lives in the next 10 to 20 years. Ray Kurzweil, the technologist, predicts in his book The Age of Spiritual Machines that nanotech will be used in manufacturing by 2019 — and that by 2049, smart swarms and nanotech food will be feasible [pp. 278, 280]. The U.S. government projects that the worldwide nanotechnology market will exceed $1 trillion by 2015 [as in this 2001 NSF report], although one group opposed to nanotechnology puts it more ominously: by 2015, the controllers of nanotechnology “will be the ruling force in the world economy” [“The Big Down,” ETC Group, p. 43].
While there have been a few indications of progress in nanotechnology in the past two or three years, the present booming interest in all things “nano” is bound to quicken the pace of discovery. In the U.S., so many states are subsidizing nanotech research that a New York Times reporter whose job was to read governors’ “State of the State” speeches in 2001 found herself asking: “Are there enough nanotechnological researchers to go around?” Governments in Europe and Asia are also putting money into nanotech, including Switzerland, Germany, Britain, China — and even Iran.”