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Most Common Sci Fi Tropes: Nanotechnology

Today’s post a day question is peculiar to say the least and bizarrely worded yet it gave me an idea for another discussion piece for science fiction. New Scientist has a fascinating article on nanotech, its practical use now, speculation on future technologies and the sort of debate it has generated.


I must admit I am fairly new to nanotech in science fiction, my reading on the subject has been fairly limited and only Alastair Reynolds has dealt with it in such a big way where it is a part of every day life and thus, why The Melding Plague (that I have mentioned previously) was so devastating in Revelation Space. I wouldn’t want to go into it to too much here because his universe is so complex and I wouldn’t want to be the cause of anybody’s brain exploding.

Like any fledgling technology, sensational scare stories are rife in the media, so rife that they are cliché and would be conspicuous by their absence. What is refreshing is that Reynolds dispenses with the ethics of the technology, because it has become such a part of every day life and they would no more be concerned about the ethics of nanotech than we would be concerned about whether travelling by train would cause our bones to shatter (as the anti steam movement claimed in the 19th century).

The potential of tiny computers is limitless and the potential benefits are many, particularly for medical research and the environment. Some of the ideas in the New Scientist article above are a long way off but already we are starting to see investment in nanotechnologies coming to fruition. I look forward to what the fascinating concept might bring in real terms.


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