Imagine a world where tiny robots would not only cure all disease, but also provide all of humanity with food, as well as cleaning the depths of the ocean and clear all of the surface of the Earth of pollution.
Oil spills would be be easily dealt with and every human being on the face of the planet would be provided with enough food to enjoy a first world quality of life.
This may very well be the truth if the promise of Nanobots comes to fruition.
Nanobots are tiny, even microscopic robots that are designed in laboratories to deal with a variety of challenges that we face in the modern world.
These tiny robots, designed on the nano scale which is far smaller then most cells in our body are already under development in laboratories across the world. And their applications are as varied as the companies that are preparing to put them into production.
Imagine if you will a fleet of nanobots designed to seek out and destroy cancer cells in the human body. Injected into any site they would have a single purpose – to heal and remove the source of cancer. After they have accomplished their task they would remain – ever vigilant waiting for the sign of cancer and programmed to eliminate disease.
In the case of pollution imagine a swarm of nanobots which, sight unseen would devour oil spills and replicating using the energy they obtained from the oil that they had absorbed. Turning oil spills into harmless gas that would benefit the environment.
However there are those who believe that nanobots present as much of a threat as they do a benefit. Nanobots would be designed to be self replicating, imitating life forms, but not subject to the same limitations.
The idea of the ‘grey goo’ that could carpet our planet is part and parcel of the threat that many see inherent in the idea of nanobots.
Replicating wildly these tiny man made organisms may simply not stop in their task, and even more worryingly they might evolve to live of related substances.
If this was to be the case then a swarm of nanobots could quite easily evolve from dealing with oil spills to consuming all petrochemical products and that might spell the doom of society as it exists in the 21st century.
As with any technology nanobots have great potential, but they also have the potential to do great harm. Science may be a double edged sword – but can we afford to ignore the great potential of these tiny, yet powerful man made organisms.