The convergence among nanotechnology, biotechnology, neuroscience
and computer science will have a revolutionary impact not only on our world,
but our very selves. Such technologies, in fact, "have started to merge with
our minds, our memories, our metabolism, our personalities, our progeny and
perhaps even our souls". Nanotechnology allows us to manipulate matter "one
atom at a time", to perform acts akin to seizing a needle with a mile-wide crane.
And yet it is possible. The language used to discuss such technologies' repercussion
reminds us of "Star Trek": molecular electronics, quantum computers, superefficient
solar cells, biosensors, enhanced men la Oscar Pistorius. Before long we will
be able to use nano-drugs in nano-dosages, or have nano-robots injected into
our bodies in order to repair or replace defective cells. The "fantastic voyage"
depicted in an old film is on the verge of becoming a reality.
Federico Neresini teaches Science, Technology and Society at the University of Padua.
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