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Crime Technology

Terrorist Target Mexican Nanotechnology Professors 234

An anonymous reader writes "A Mexican terrorist organization sent an explosive device to an ITESM professor due to his research in nanotechnology. ITS or Individuals with Wild Tendencies in english, is a group that claims to be against the 'nanotechnology revolution' in fear of a nanomachine take over that will mean the end of civilization. The group has published on their website that they plan to target individuals in this research field to ensure the survival of mankind. Mexican authorities are investigating the case."
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Terrorist Target Mexican Nanotechnology Professors

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  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:48PM (#37051702)
    I reject the notion that "anything man does is unnatural".

    Even if nanotechnology led to a significant change in our species and others, it's just as natural as anything else that happens in the universe. I wish these Luddites would realize that we don't need to stop where we are.
  • by EdZ ( 755139 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:54PM (#37051722)
    Grey Goo is both an incredible difficult thing to make, and a very pointless thing to make. You'd be much better off with a very efficient nanodevice for performing a specific task paired with a very efficient nanodevice for making those nanodevices (but not itself). Easier and simpler.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:57PM (#37051738)

    But the public needs to become aware of the very real danger that nanotechnology, biotechnology, and AI pose.

    Bullshit. This is real life, not a movie. The tech will likely never be as capable or sophisticated as the magic masquerading as technology in Sci-Fi.

    It is indeed very, very likely that humanity will not survive this century.

    If nanotech is your biggest fear then you are so far out of reality that it's laughable. An eventual nuclear war between any of India/Pakistan, Iran/Israel, North Korea/Somebody is far more likely to be the biggest threat this century, and unlike nanotech, actually behaves the way it appears on video.

  • by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:09PM (#37051804) Journal

    I think that bombing people is horrible. But the public needs to become aware of the very real danger that nanotechnology, biotechnology, and AI pose. It is indeed very, very likely that humanity will not survive this century.

    Your statement is both pathetic and sad. It's pathetic in that such profound ignorance actually exists and promotes itself. It's sad in that there are probably many ignorant victims who will actually swallow its fearful and intrinsically defeatist message.

  • by DurendalMac ( 736637 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:51PM (#37052008)
    And the belief that it is a very real threat is an incredibly overactive imagination. People are well aware of the POSSIBLE risks, even as small as they are. Stop reading a bunch of science fiction and start looking at science facts. You may as well bomb the LHC because it could collapse the universe or create time travel possibilities.
  • by RsG ( 809189 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @11:41PM (#37052244)

    If a trivial sequence of proteins allowed for the kind of replication you're talking about, the world would already have ended. There's been living things fucking around with differing types of biochemistry for the past few billion years; if the self-replicating apocalypse could be achieved trivially, it would have. Some would say that's exactly what did happen.

    What you and all the other "grey goo" crowd are overlooking is that it isn't enough to build a machine capable of self-replication. Living things do that already. The "grey goo" scenario already happened around three billion years ago when photosynthesis first arose and organisms began harvesting solar energy. You, the person reading this right now, are a form of naturally occurring self-replicating carbon based machinery. And you've had a few billenia of evolution to optimize the "self-replicating" part.

    We could build self-replicating nanotechnology tomorrow, deliberately release it into the environment and it would do... nothing. If it were carbon based, it'd probably become something's dinner.

    No, to end the world in a goopocalypse, we'd need to build self-replicating machines that are vastly more rapid and efficient than living organisms. Our goo would have to be better at being grey goo than the existing green goo. The competition has a three and a half billion year head start and are very good at making more of themselves.

    I'm going to bold this part for anyone skimming this (admittedly long) post: To end the world with nanotechnology requires self-replicating machines (which we don't have) that are better at reproducing themselves than existing organisms . I'm not going to say it's impossible, but I am going to say with absolute certainty that it won't happen in the twenty-first century. We'll be lucky to even have self-replicating machines in a hundred years. "Grey goo" today is about as likely as a renaissance inventor building a thermonuclear weapon.

  • by RsG ( 809189 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @12:00AM (#37052332)

    You misunderstand; if a "bad solution" as you call it, did arise, it would become the new normal.

    Life exists to procreate. A life form that manages to cover the entire planet in it's own self-replicating mass is an evolutionary success. It won't die out; if its replication created an unfavourable environment for its own survival, it may die back, but it will persist.

    I'm not talking hypotheticals here either. What I've just described is exactly what happened around three billion years ago.

    Photosynthesis arose. Living things used sunlight to split CO2, and spewed toxic oxygen into the biosphere, killing the competition. This "green goo" was so successful, that it diversified, evolved into new niches and took over the world. We call them "plants".

    This isn't a unique incident - there are whole eras of living organisms wiped out by competition from something better adapting at making more of itself. And it isn't a coincidence that what I've just described sounds an awful lot like "grey goo"; the people who proposed a grey goo scenario were familiar with the evolution of plant life.

    I don't disagree with you that grey goo is possible; where I disagree is that you seem to think it's easy. Show me a self-replicating machine, and I'll be seriously impressed. Show me a self-replicating nanomachine, I'll be even more impressed. Nobody has that technology yet, and I'd be amazed to see it in my lifetime.

    What I won't live to see, and neither will you, is a self-replicating nanomachine that can out-compete living things. Sorry, but your grey goo fears are a couple hundred years too early, and I'm not sure they'll ever be realized.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.