Monday, January 08, 2007

Nano as an Enabling Technology and the Threat of Zombies

Nanotechnology, the study of microscopic machinery, is only in its adolescence. At present, experimental computer chips are being made that are no bigger than a molecule! One day robots that small will be able to perform tasks within the human body. These nanobots, or whatever the accepted terms will be, will one day destroy cancer cells, repair damaged tissue, even attack and destroy hostile viruses. Theoretically, there is no reason why they could not be injected by the billions into a recently infected human to identify the Solanum virus [the virus thought to turn a human into a Zombie] and eradicate it from the system. When will this technology be perfected? When will it find its way into the medical profession? When will it be updated for combating Solanum? Only time will tell. (The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead, Max Brooks 2003, p.58)

There it is - nanotechology - a potential weapon (right alongside genetic warfare, radiation, electrocution, and "acid") in the fight against Zombies. Right about now you might be asking yourself why I posted the above passage here at the CNS blog, if you haven't already.

I think the above passage illustrates one of nanotechnology's more useful mechanisms - specifically that it is an enabling technology. Nanotechnology, at best an ambiguous category of potential potentials, may be used to legitimate even more ambiguous/fictitious concepts. As seen above, nano is an as-of-yet unrealized weapon for the as-of-yet unrealized threat of the Undead.

Sure, it's a rather light example. But take the idea of nano as an enabler and apply it elsewhere: for instance, nano will enable alternative launch technologies such as the space elevator; nano will enable new biotechnologies such as drug delivery mechanisms; nano will enable nanobots... and nanobots can do anything, right?



  1. Wow! Great stuff here and a wonderful example of a link between si-fi and nano.

  2. WWait, but doesn't nano just as easily enable the *creation* of zombies? In fact, I'd say nano is the most "realistic" of all the zombie scenarios. After all, couldn't all the mind-brain interfaces that eminent policymakers at the NSF talk about be used to feed very simple impulses into an entire population's consciousness (e.g. "buyyy stufff" or "eeeatt braaains")?