Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Nanobots: Possible only when convenient

This Christian Science Monitor story, A tiny robot swarm - fiction no longer, weaves the concept of nanobots in with quotes from U.S. nanotech chief Mihail Roco, along with nanotube tennis rackets -- all mixed into the same nanotech pool, leaving the impression that each segment is in agreement with the other.

antsWhat's notable here is that no government spokesman even used the word "nanobot," so the CS Monitor writer filled in what he considered the blanks by adding the word, himself: "so-called nanobots," "shrink to nanobot size." He even inserts the word, himself, into a quote by a NASA official: "In a similar way, undamaged units in a [nanobot] swarm will join together, allowing it to tolerate extensive damage and still carry on its mission."

Here's the point: The American public believes that the U.S. is funding development of nanotechnology -- that is, the image of nanotechnology that they have gathered through press reports and other media, like the cartoon characters mentioned in the CS Monitor story.

The NASA swarm project described in this report sounds really cool. It's an experiment in how to get robots to act together. It has nothing to do with nanotechnology. The idea that this experiment will, as the story says, "shrink to nanobot size" is a complete fiction if the government's nanotech program continues the way it has. They have gone through great pains to tell the public that "nanobots" can never exist.

However, when they want to appeal to the public's imagination through stories about projects like this one, they are more than willing to let the "nanobots" loose.

Unless, of course, somebody brings up the possible dangers involving nanosized robots running amok -- then they "harumph" and deride it all as a bunch of fiction once again.

NanoBot Backgrounder
NanoBots are Needed
NanoBot Soup
'Bots get loose while professor is away

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