Posts Tagged ‘Nanotech’

Ignorance Is Futile Exclusive:

Nanotechnology poses inherent threats greater than anything we’ve ever faced. This heavily modified Hollywood film shows what such a takeover by tyrants via nanobots could look like.

Currently billions of dollars per year are dumped into nano research by governments and corporations worldwide.

Nanobots that can penetrate past the blood-brain barrier to attach to neurons for mind control are like nothing we’ve ever faced. These could be released into the drinking water supply or administered via vaccine shots.

Even Ray Kurzweil realizes this threat. From a repost from his site:

Another class of terrorist-selective defenses could be keyed to the intentions, rather than to the actions, of potential actors. Future medical nanotechnology should enable intrusive involuntary brain scans of sufficient fidelity to accurately measure and report internal psychological states and motives. But here too there are several difficulties. First, all human beings on Earth would have to be continuously monitored for “terrorist” intentions. This monitoring duty would probably fall to some government (or related institutional) entity, and a corrupt government entity could not be prevented from scanning for “freedom fighter” intentions as well. Such scanning would elevate Brin’s “transparent society” to a new level to intrusiveness—we might call it the “transparent mind”—which would be even more anathematic to civil libertarians and would offer even greater potential for abuse. Second, the amount of data to be processed might be so enormous as to require the intervention of an AI (as in the previous example) to sort it all out, whether the AI was a stand-alone system or embedded in a human/machine hybrid system. Third, it is but a small step from passively monitoring brain states to actively controlling those brain states using nanotechnology-based neural nanorobotics, which would enable the push-button disposal of critics by tyrants. Thus, the freedom fighters would again be disabled along with the terrorists.

It appears quite likely, though perhaps not inevitable, that eventually, somewhere in the world, a tyrant will emerge who is equipped with some of the most sophisticated nanotechnological instrumentalities available. This tyrant would likely employ these advanced technical means to eliminate within his own borders any possibility of freedom fighting or terrorism, both of which he might rationally presume could be directed at him or his vassals. Other technically sophisticated societies might or might not have the will or the means to oppose this tyrant, and still other societies might decide to emulate or join him; therefore, his emergence and ascendancy cannot be ruled out.

Recognizing that global tyranny is a logical end-state of the unchecked spread of nanotechnology-enabled dictatorships that are capable of employing perfect mind  control, those who subscribe to the policy doctrine of preemption might rationally conclude that it is necessary to actively liberate other societies that have already decided to capitulate (“entrust their future”?) to a nanotechnology-enabled autocrat. But might not budding tyrants rationally conclude that any developed nation population that treasures individual freedom above most other moral values should be exterminated preemptively in order to eliminate the most obvious threat to their global ambitions? Consider that humanity may have survived the Cold War because at key moments of crisis, both sides opted for survival over domination. In future conflicts, if either side is significantly less dedicated to survival than to domination, then, like a terrorist, that side will not be deterred from seeking domination at all costs.

Could mere discussion of these issues create a self-fulfilling prophecy? It is true that if potential future tyrants come to believe that people in general are unlikely to have the desire or will to resist them, or that people will be so effectively disarmed of personal weaponry by their well-meaning but overprotective governments that individual armed resistance would become futile, then deterrence of nanotechnology-enabled tyrannies is minimized and the emergence of those regimes may be accelerated. But this should affect only the timing, and not the ultimate fact, of such emergence. If the technology allows it—and it does—then eventually some tyrant will seek to close his iron fist around the throat of humankind. We need to decide what, if anything, we ought to do about this.

His “solution” is for us to deliberately inject ourselves with “defensive” nanobots, which only creates entire new sets of problems.

Of course, there will be great concern regarding who’s controlling the nanobots, and over who the nanobots may be talking to. Organizations such as governments or extremist groups or just clever individuals could put trillions of undetectable nanobots in the water or food supply. These “spy” nanobots could then monitor, influence, and even control our thoughts and actions. We won’t be defenseless, however. Just as we have virus scanning software today, we will make use of patrol nanobots that search for (and destroy) unauthorized nanobots in our brains and bodies.

Congress has acknowledged this issue:

Every exponential curve eventually reaches a point where the growth rate becomes almost infinite. This point is often called the Singularity. If technology continues to advance at exponential rates, what happens after 2020? Technology is likely to continue, but at this stage some observers forecast a period at which scientific advances aggressively assume their own momentum and accelerate at unprecedented levels, enabling products that today seem like science fiction. Beyond the Singularity, human society is incomparably different from what it is today. Several assumptions seem to drive predictions of a Singularity. The first is that continued material demands and competitive pressures will continue to drive technology forward. Second, at some point artificial intelligence advances to a point where computers enhance and accelerate scientific discovery and technological change. In other words, intelligent machines start to produce discoveries that are too complex for humans. Finally, there is an assumption that solutions to most of today’s problems including material scarcity, human health, and environmental degradation can be solved by technology, if not by us, then by the computers we eventually develop.

And:

The NNI is clearly geared toward developing the technology on a broad front, correctly seeing it as the source of tremendous benefits to society. Its mission is not to see whether we should go forward with research and development. It is to go forth boldly, while trying to discover and deal with possible risks.

Another governmental document, “Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance” sheds more light on this:

But it is important to note that there is a melding of human and S&E development here: human development, from individual medical and intellectual development to collective cultures and globalization, is a key goal.
…Four transforming tools have emerged: nanotechnology for hardware, biotechnology for dealing with living systems, information technology for communication and control, and cognition-based technologies to enhance human abilities and collective behavior.
…Far from unnatural, such a collective social system may be compared to a larger form of a biological organism. Biological organisms themselves make use of many structures such as bones and circulatory system. The networked society enabled through NBIC convergence could explore new pathways in societal structures, in an increasingly complex system (Bar-Yam 1997).”

Here’s the real wowzer:

Hive Mind
If we can easily exchange large chunks of knowledge and are connected by high-bandwidth communication paths, the function an d purpose served by individuals becomes unclear. Individuals have served to keep the gene pool stirred up and healthy via s exual reproduction, but this data-handling process would no longer necessarily be linked to individuals. With knowledge no longer encapsulated in individuals, the distinction between individuals and the entirety of humanity would blur. Think Vulcan mind-meld. We would perhaps become more of a hive mind —an enormous, single, intelligent entity.

Yes, that’s from an actual government document.

This is also interesting:

Doug Dorst, a microbiologist and vaccine critic in South Wales, says these advances have an immense appeal to vaccine makers. “Biotech companies and their researchers have quickly moved most funding initiatives towards nanotechnology to increase the potency of their vaccines,” he said. If microorganisms inside of vaccines can be coaxed into targeting or invading specific cells, they could achieve their goal at an accelerated rate over conventional vaccines. “Depending on which side of the vaccine debate you’re on, whether pro or con, nanobots inside vaccine preparations could advance their effectiveness exponentially by either dramatically improving or destroying immunity depending on their design,” he added.Dorst claims that present day nanobot technology could just as easily be used to advance biological weapons as they can to advance human health. “For every fear that biotech propaganda proliferates about deadly diseases and how vaccines prevent them, it is one more lie to incrementally convince the masses that vaccines are effective.”

The worry for Dorst is that one day vaccines “will do what they’ve always been intended for…control of the global populace.”

Here goes some various nanotech advances:

New sensors built using nanotechnology could read and write information directly into the brain.

A Battery-Free Implantable Neural Sensor
A tiny radio chip implanted in a moth harvests power and senses neural activity.If the promise of nanotechnology is to be fulfilled, nanoparticles will have to be able to make something of themselves. An important advance towards this goal has been achieved by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) who have found a simple and yet powerfully robust way to induce nanoparticles to assemble themselves into complex arrays.

Brain implants that can more clearly record signals from surrounding neurons in rats have been created at the University of Michigan.

Team develops DNA switch to interface living organisms with computers.

Enzyme computer could live inside you.

DNA-wrapped carbon nanotubes serve as sensors in living cells.

There’s also the health threats of  nanoparticles themselves:

And on that note here goes a cool video made by my friends over at Transalchemy:

NaturalNews | Feb 12, 2010

by David Gutierrez

Nanoparticles can adhere to the bodies of flying insects, which may then transport the potentially dangerous particles long distances, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Nanotechnology concerns the manipulation and manufacture of particles on the scale of single atoms or molecules. So-called “nanoparticles” are so tiny that they may behave in ways completely different than the same substances on a larger scale.

“Rapid growth in nanomaterial manufacturing is raising concerns about potential adverse effects on the environment,” the researchers write. “Scale is of critical importance in biological function, and we can expect a host of unique interactions between living organisms and engineered nanoparticles that have not been present in the natural environment during our evolutionary history.”

Prior studies have found that a variety of nanoparticles may pose toxic and other harmful effects, moving through cellular membranes and past other bodily defenses with ease. Few studies have looked directly at how the particles affect whole organisms, however.

“Nanoparticle contact with intact organisms in the wild may lead to different biological responses than those observed in laboratory cell-based toxicity assays,” the researchers write. “In nature, the scale and chemistry of nanoparticles coupled with the surface properties, texture, and behaviors of the organisms will influence biologically significant exposure and ultimate toxicity.”

In the current study, researchers exposed both adult and larval fruit flies to carbon nanoparticles just over 1/5,000th the width of a human hair. While larvae were apparently unaffected by consuming food containing the particles, adult flies became incapacitated or died when the particles “adhered extensively to fly surfaces and overwhelmed natural grooming mechanisms.” More notably, the researchers observed the transfer of nanoparticles between contaminated and uncontaminated flies, raising the specter that a spill from a nanoparticle manufacturing facility could easily lead to the spread of nanoparticles throughout the environment.

Currently there is no regulation of nanotechnology in the United States, and nanoparticles are already used in the manufacture of products as varied as sporting equipment, sunscreens and other cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and electronics.

Here’s one I should have posted long ago. It was apparently made in 2006 but managed to slip under my radar until about a year ago. This is probably the best one out there on the whole Transhumanism / AGI type dimension, but I don’t think its too popular amongst their movement with it being the only one I can think of that is balanced and shows both sides of the coin. I did add it the other day to the new “Films to Watch” section in the left panel, but decided to underscore this great film here.

Be sure to check out the parts where the Life Extension advocate screams that you’ll have to kill him in order to stop him from becoming a god.

Film comes in 3 one hour parts:

TechnoCalyps – Part I – TransHuman

TechnoCalyps – Part II – Preparing for the Singularity

TechnoCalyps – Part III – The Digital Messiah

http://change.gov/agenda/technology/:

“America risks being left behind in the global economy: Revolutionary advances in information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology and other fields are reshaping the global economy. Without renewed efforts, the United States risks losing leadership in science, technology and innovation. ” LINK MIRROR

With all of his talk about “change”, is it only me who senses the irony here? The “Revolutionary” advances he’s talking about are Artificial General Intelligence (“information technology”), genetic engineering / synthetic biology & designer babies (“biotechnology”), and too much in terms of nanotechnology to sound-byte like the others. The “other fields” he mentioned is almost certainly the other field he didn’t mention, cognitive sciences.

What he’s likely referring to is “convergence”, and unlike Bush (who once made a similar statement) I get the feeling he understands these things with a far greater degree of clarity. This ‘convergence’ is the unifying merger of these sciences into a vast paradigm shifting new form of science / technology. It’s the fusion of these sciences into one. It’s really hard to even describe. It’s hard enough trying to describe the key component nanotechnology. I think its impossible to even conceptualize the world of nano without watching the following short video presentation:

A 482 page document, titled Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, which is the outcome of a 2001 workshop by the National Science Foundation & Dept. of Commerce explains convergence this way:

The integration and synergy of the four technologies (nano-bio-info-cogno) originate from the nanoscale, where the building blocks of matter are established. This picture symbolizes the confluence of technologies that now offers the promise of improving human lives in many ways, and the realignment of traditional disciplinary boundaries that will be needed to realize this potential. New and more direct pathways towards human goals are envisioned in working habits, in economic activity, and in the humanities.

In the early decades of the twenty-first century, concentrated efforts can unify science based on unity in nature, thereby advancing the combination of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and new humane technologies based in cognitive science. With proper attention to ethical issues and societal needs, converging technologies could determine a tremendous improvement in human abilities, societal outcomes, the nations productivity, and the quality of life. This is a broad, cross-cutting, emerging and timely opportunity of interest to individuals, society and humanity in the long term.

The phrase convergent technologies refers to the synergistic combination of four major NBIC (Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno) provinces of science and technology, each of which is currently progressing at a rapid rate: (a) nanoscience and nanotechnology; (b) biotechnology and biomedicine, including genetic engineering; (c) information technology, including advanced computing and communications; (d) cognitive science, including cognitive neuroscience.

In short, the idea is to create an entire new realm of science, and therefore ‘life’, by unifying these key technology paradigms into one new format. It’s not merely to propose creating new lifeforms via genetic engineering, but rather create cyborgs at the cellular scale. Meaning each cell is in itself a biological nanobot cyborg that is alone artificially intelligent, yet are also meant to function collectively in many cases. Then these are to serve a wide array of uses from neural brain implants to ubiquitous intelligent panels and components on NASA spaceships.

The document mentioned is in effect perhaps the ultimate Transhumanism manifesto in existence, and the list of federal agencies and their collaborators in just that 2002 NBIC document is exhaustive:

White House, National Science Foundation, Department of Commerce, Newt Gingrich, NASA, National Institutes of Health, Hewlet Packard, Institute for Global Futures, National Science and Technology Councils Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science Engineering and Technology (NSET), IBM, Raytheon, Lucent, University of California, Stanford University, Sandia National Labs, Brandeis University, MIT, University of Washington, University of Strathclyde, Tissue Informatics, University of Pennsylvania, University of Louisville, NYU Medical School, University of Calgary, Duke University, University of Texas, UCSB, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Carnegie Melon University, Department of Defense, DARPA, Naval Research Laboratory, Defense For Research, New England Complex Systems Institute, University of Virginia, University of Maryland, Institute of Nanotechnology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Commision on the Future of Aerospace, US Nuclear Regulatory Commision, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, The EPA, Department of Chemistry, Princeton Materials Institute …

One notable name from that list is Newt Gingrich. Newt did a key keynote presentation, and in it he refers to our current era in time as the “Age of Transitions”:

Figure A.2. The Age of Transitions.

We are starting to live through two patterns of change. The first is the enormous computer and communications revolution described above. The second, only now beginning to rise, is the combination of the nanotechnology-biology-information revolution. These two S curves will overlap. It is the overlapping period that we are just beginning to enter, and it is that period that I believe will be an Age of Transitions.

Focusing on computers and communications is only the first step toward understanding the Age of Transitions. While we are still in the early stages of the computer-communications pattern of change, we are already beginning to see a new, even more powerful pattern of change that will be built on a synergistic interaction between three different areas: the nano world, biology, and information.

The sciences have reached a watershed at which they must combine in order to advance most rapidly. The new renaissance must be based on a holistic view of science and technology that envisions new technical possibilities and focuses on people. The unification of science and technology can yield results over the next two decades on the basis of four key principles: material unity at the nanoscale, NBIC transforming tools, hierarchical systems, and improvement of human performance.

If anyone out there underestimates Newt Gingrich I highly recommend you read his lengthy contribution to that document. He goes on:

We are living through two tremendous patterns of scientific-technological change: an overlapping of a computer-communications revolution and a nanotechnology-biology-information revolution. Each alone would be powerful; combined, the two patterns guarantee that we will be in constant transition as one breakthrough or innovation follows another.

One last Newt quote:

Computing is a key element in this revolution.

And that brings us back to Obama, and his new friends at Google. Recent news has Obama popping up in my Google News Gadgets I normally use to monitor whenever Google or DARPA pop up in news articles with the term “artificial intelligence”. In particular interest is Obama’s alliance with Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google. It turns out that Eric not only endorsed Obama before his presidential victory, but he even went as far as to hit the campaign trail with him during the last month. See video here of Eric discussing his endorsement, and here where he was featured in Obama’s 30 minute infomercial. In the time since the election ended, he’s now one of Obama’s special economic advisers. Another Google name, in Obama’s transition team is Sonal Shah.


This is the trailer for my upcoming film, “an unholy alliance”, which chronicles the Google-NASA-DARPA alliance.

The Google-Obama alliance brings context to my assertions of Obama’s initial ‘revolutionary’ technologies statement when you consider the NASA-Google alliance which Google & NASA press releases described the partnership as being focused on “massively distributed computing” and “bio-info-nano convergence“.

Al Gore also comes to mind here considering he’s been on Google’s board of senior advisers since shortly after he “lost” the 2000 election when he also began his “Global Warming” ‘crusade’. Considering the above reasons alone I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we soon hear of Gore becoming Obama’s new “Chief Technology Officer”.

While Obama has been somewhat sketchy about how he intends to deal with NASA funding matters, I think with my above elaborations his following quote on the subject gains new light:

“What direction do we take the space program in? Once we have a sense of what’s going to be most valuable for us in terms of gaining knowledge, then I think we’ll able to adjust the budget so that we’re going all out on what it is that we’ve decided to do.”

Back to Google, and that Converging Technologies doocument, I’d like to point out one more thing. In the same sense that Google’s cofounders want everybody to have Google enabled neural implants, the drafters of the NBIC document also envision what they call the “collective social system“.

Nano Werk:

For nanoelectronics applications like single-electron devices to become practical, everyday items, they need to move from the highly individual and customized fabrication process typically found in laboratories to an automated, high-throughput and industrial-scale production environment. The reason this hasn’t happened yet is that the various nanoscale pattern definition techniques used today – such as e-beam lithography, mechanically controllable break junctions, electromigration, electrodeposition, nanoscale oxidation, and scanning tunneling microscopy – generally are not suitable for large-scale parallel processing. The fabrication of single-electron… nanotechnology article