Thursday, May 20, 2004

... and I feel fine

It's the end of the world as we know it on, which examines "some catastrophes, as predicted by Hollywood, science-fiction and the Bible, and their probability." Prey, of course, is examined:

    THE SCENARIO: The menace that stalks Michael Crichton's current thriller, Prey, can't be seen with the naked eye. The novel deals with nanotechnology, the emerging science of molecular engineering, and has swarms of self-replicating microscopic nanorobots devised for the military threatening to colonise the planet.

    HOW LIKELY? The plot evokes the 'grey goo' scenario much dreaded by Prince Charles and others. Rather like the situation with GM crops, the debate is becoming polarised between utopian and dystopian visions.

    Others, however, insist that small is the next big thing, and future developments could include revolutionary medical implants. Professor Alex Zettl, of California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who last year created the world's smallest synthetic motor on an axle 2,000 times shorter than a hair's width, told The Scotsman: 'Social, health and environmental issues need to be addressed but the potential dangers of nanotechnology have been far overblown to the point of being ridiculous.' " More here

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