Re: NANFA-- High Tech Tracking

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Tue, 08 Apr 2003 18:42:36 -0400

I have been following the nanotechnology field for some years and
understand pretty well the concerns that people will have and even share
them to an extent. They really are legitimate and safegaurds will have
to be worked out to prevent what people in the feild and some science
fiction writers have termed the "grey goo problem".

Some of this is probably a little far fetched. The potential for both
good and evil of all new technologies is usually overstated. We have yet
to build a self-reproducing nanite and maybe we really don't want to.
Actually what I had in mind was something that could be mass
manufactured under controlled conditions that couldn't self-reproduce
and very target specific- able to wipe out or even sterilize gobies or
zebra mussels in a specific area outside their native range and then
self-destruct. Self-limiting and still much safer than chemicals or

As for the potential for malicious use- we would have to gaurd against
it like we already do for bioterrorism. It will also be very important
that all institutions and individuals who are working with this stuff be
able to operate openly under public scrutiny as opposed to being forced
underground by a ban or supression agreement- and even more essential
that we have a fully accountable government in power that respects human
life and individual freedom when this technology becomes reality.

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