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Grey Goo. Could this be the end of the world? Keep reading…
Nowadays, people are becoming increasingly interested in nanotechnology. Its potential to transform our lives seems almost unlimited. Many people dream of a future in which armies of nanobots will help us cure diseases or clean up the pollution of the planet. But it could also create a small and dangerous army, which could get out of control and put an end to life on earth. Have you heard about Grey Goo?
Grey Goo, is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario –so far- involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all biomass on Earth while building more of themselves, a scenario that has been called ecophagy (“eating the environment”, more literally “eating the habitation”)
Do you think this is complete nonsense? The origin of Grey Goo is not found neither in the nightmares of the author of this post, nor in a work of science fiction, but in one of the most relevant books that have been written on this subject, the work of the “Father of nanotechnology “, K. Eric Drexler, published in 1986: “Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology “.
Okay, maybe now that you know who is the creator of the idea of Grey Goo I’m guessing that you are taking this article more seriously, am I right? . What about going through Drexler’s ideas on the origin and progress of Grey Goo?
As described in his work, Grey Goo would follow a process that goes like this.
Imagine a replicator – which is how Drexler calls a nanobot that has the quality to self-replicate – that could create a copy of itself every 1,000 seconds (about 17 minutes). Furthermore, the nanobots created by the first one, would be able to self-replicate in the same amount of time, creating new nanobots with identical capabilities.
In this scenario, there would be more than 68,000 million nanobots, in just 10 hours.
However, despite the number of nanobots, they would still be very small. Maybe, we could stop them, by throwing a glass of water at them, just maybe.
The problem is that, following this same development; in less than 2 days these nanobots would have a mass larger than Planet Earth…
Have you already bought a ticket for the International Space Station? Calm down! Some authors, including Drexler himself, have speculated about the likelihood of Grey Goo being unleashed, and don’t worry it’s very unlikely. For example, nanobots may have to face significant obstacles in their self-replication process, They would find it difficult to obtain suitable materials.
Despite this, threats such as Grey Goo and those derived from nanotechnology have been taken seriously by institutions as prestigious as the Royal Society, which prepared and published a report on the risks of nanoscience in 2004, in which, among other dangers, analysed the derivatives of self-replicating nanomachines.
However, it seems that the human being will have to deal with other current problems before worrying about these technological problems and Grey Goo. Even nanotechnology itself could generate hazards – for example, through “nanoterrorism” – closer in time and more disturbing than Grey Goo. It seems that, according to experts, regarding Grey Goo at least, we can sleep peacefully. For now…
The idea of Grey Goo is deeply connected with our fear of technology and it’s also connected with everything that we cannot see or control, as well as the fear that a small threat may evolve rapidly and unpredictably and destroy us.
For this reason, there are loads of science fiction books that have been inspired by the idea of Grey Goo. Books, movies or videogames that have been inspired by this topic, have shown us horror stories of how a world faced with an army of self-replicating nanobots would look like. Among others, there are books like “Autofac” by Philip K. Dick, “Prey” by Michael Crichton, “Aristoi” by Walter Jon Williams,
“Akasa-Puspa” by Juan Miguel Aguilera and Javier Redal , or films such as “The day the earth stood still” (the original one and the remake in 2008).
We hope this article has helped you understand all about Grey Goo, did you get scared while reading this article? Don’t worry, it’s quite normal, this topic is very interesting and futuristic but at the same time is quite scary and could actually happen in the future, but don’t worry, we think we will not be able to witness this.
And yourself, what would you do to avoid this? Many examples have been thought to prevent this from happening, such as including a code that would prevent their uncontrolled self-replication. The problem is that, at least in fiction, these terrible nanobots always find a way to overcome any obstacle. Maybe one way to prevent them from spreading would be with good monitoring…
If we could control the activity of those little nanobots before one of them got out of hand, then we would be able to stop other nanobots from being created and then they would not engulf the Planet. Do you think it would be great to control their actions before it is too late? How would you prevent this from happening if were in charge of the entire planet earth? What do you think will happen with this Grey Goo? Do you think this could actually happen? Or is it too fictional? We would love to hear from you, so don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment section down below, and now the question is….
Will Pandora FMS avoid this terrible fate? Okay, at the moment, we’re not dealing with it yet, but in the future who knows…
But, today, what Pandora FMS can actually do for you is to monitor devices, infrastructures, applications, services or business processes. Pandora FMS is flexible monitoring software that fits your business or organization.
Do you want to find out what Pandora FMS can do for you? Click on our website: https://pandorafms.com
Or you can ask us anything you want about Pandora FMS. You can do this by filling the contact form that may be found at the following address: https://pandorafms.com/company/contact/
Our Pandora FMS team will be happy to help you!