Nanotechnology Will Reshape Humanity

Suffering doesn't make us better people. We should embrace technology that helps us overcome it.

Nanotechnology--science based on tiny particles--is poised to affect fields as diverse as medicine and international security. Within the next few decades, miniscule machines may deliver cancer-killing drugs to our cells at the same time as terrorists create microweapons invisible to the eye.

With so much potential for both good and evil, nanotechnology has become concern for bioethicists like Nigel Cameron, who said in a Beliefnet interview that nanotech may diminish what it means to be human. It's also a hot topic for transhumanists, people who believe in using technology to overcome human limitations and live dramatically longer, healthier lives. 

George Dvorsky is president of the Toronto Transhumanist Association and a champion of using advanced technologies to enhance human capabilities. Beliefnet asked him to respond, via email, to questions raised by Cameron's critique of nanotechnology applications--and of transhumanists.

What advantages or benefits do you see coming from nanotechnology in the future?

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Molecular nanotechnology is poised to reshape humanity and redefine the human condition. Nanotech will be used to clean the environment, ease the pressure for natural resources, treat diseases and supplement the human body. It may even usher in a post-scarcity economy and help people in developing countries tackle hunger, child mortality, environmental degradation and diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Looking to more futuristic scenarios, molecular nanotechnology may help in the development of new materials (such as diamondoid surfaces), increase human life span to unprecedented levels, augment human capacities, and even assist in the "reanimation" of individuals currently frozen in cryonic stasis.

What problems, crimes, or disadvantages do you foresee?

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Interview with George Dvorsky
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