Anti-Nanotech Terrorists Are Bombing Professors Because They Think Nanotechnology Will End the World

Illustration for article titled Anti-Nanotech Terrorists Are Bombing Professors Because They Think Nanotechnology Will End the World

Of all the things people could go terrorist for—oppressive governments, etc.—there's a group that chose anti-nanotechnology. I wish I was kidding. They call themselves the "Individuals Tending to Savagery" and have attacked two professors in Mexico with bombs.

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The group has taken credit for two bomb attacks on Mexican robotics researchers who also focus on nanotechnology. They sent the homemade bomb through the mail and addressed it to the specific professor (with threats of prosecution if someone else was to open it). The 'Individuals Tending to Savagery' aka the Idiots (my shorthand for them) believe that "nanoparticles could reproduce uncontrollably and form a 'gray goo' that would snuff out life on Earth." They believe nanotechnology has dangers to 'native species' and ties it to the natural disasters that have been happening recently.

Basically, these dudes are either so terribly afraid of change (good or bad) that they're willing to kill people who want to advance technology and make life better or they're just a bunch of idiots who heard some batshit crazy fictional theory about nanotechnology and how it'll ruin the world. Or maybe both. Either way, I think they're too stupid to even be terrorists. [Washington Post, ieee spectrum]

DISCUSSION

ezrashapiro
ezrashapiro

I think they're idiots too. That said, a simple search on Google for "nano particles gray goo" [www.google.co.il] yielded interesting results, like [www.thenewatlantis.com]

"In time, Drexler backed away from the gray goo scenario, reasoning that no one would design a self-replicating assembler capable of surviving in nature. "Consider cars," he wrote in 1990. "To work, they require gasoline, oil, brake fluid, and so forth. No mere accident could enable a car to forage in the wild and refuel from tree sap ... It would be likewise with simple replicators designed to work in vats of assembler fluid"—no right-minded engineer would create replicators that could exist in the wild.

But a terrorist might. Or an enemy nation. Biosphere-destroying self-replicators may not arise as the result of an inadvertent scientific slip-up, but they might be designed intentionally by those seeking to bring destruction or wreak havoc."