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PLAYING DARPA WITH A NANOVALENTINE’S DAY CARD

You may have missed this one this last Valentine's Day when you were hunting for that special card to send to your special someone, or you may not have seen it.  In fact, you probably couldn't have seen it because it was simply too small to see, but the good folks at phys.org have blown it up for us:

A Cupid made of carbon nanotubules: world's tiniest Valentine

Let's face it, nano-technology was born, in a certain sense, from the advances in integrated circuitry, with more and more tiny circuits being etched into ever smaller amounts of space. The idea of building small machines to insert into humans to repair, or harm, them in a kind of Fantastic Voyage style scenario is no longer the science fiction of the 1960s, it's fast approaching fact. And when Eric Drexler wrote his now classic manifesto of the nanotechnological future, Engines of Creation back in 1986, already IBM had spelled out its name using a few xenon atoms, and AT&T's Bell laboratories had gone them one better, and actually constructed mankind's first artificial atom.

These may, perhaps, be seen as "stunts" but they were necessary steps toward the ability to engineer molecules in a certain way, to perform certain tasks, to create nano-machines. As the article notes about the creator behind this little art work:

"'The funnest part of this project is that what we do, our angle of solving micro-mechanical problems, is so different than what anyone else has done,' Barrett said. 'We're not just making small improvements.'"

While this little Cupid isn't necessary a quantum leap, it does neatly illustrate how far, in a very short period, nanotechnology has come. As the article indicates, filters are one immediate application, and from that, one may think of a multitude of medical applications in dialysis, liver function, so on.
Imagine, too, the delight at DARPA with the growing prospect of nano-engineering those computer-brain interfaces that so delight some transhumanists. One may envision nano-implants to expand the spectrum and magnification abilities of the human eye, and indeed, such experiments have already been performed in rats. Imagine being interfaced with the Internet right inside your skull...
...and, oh yea, don't forget, one guy with such a cyber implant already has had a computer virus casting its shadow over the glorious transhumanist future, and also, don't forget, Senator Joe Lieberman want to have an "internet kill switch."
See you on the flip side.

5 thoughts on “PLAYING DARPA WITH A NANOVALENTINE’S DAY CARD”

  1. So the fool who had a computer chip implanted in his arm got a computer virus. Serves him right when will these reckless jerks ever learn to be carefull. I just wish they would think things out before jumping into these stituations.

  2. I remember reading Drexler’s Engines Of Creation when it came out and talking up a storm abouit it. One news paper editor, of a local weekly rag, pointedly asked me what it could do for him. I told him it could give him custom tennis shoes, that adjusted “in-real-time”. He then started asking more & more questions. Although Drexler addressed the good, the bad and the ugly of it; it was Crichton who really brought it mainstream.
    To imagine where DARPA, and other secretive operations have gone & are going, …
    makes Crichton’s warnings all the more prophetic.
    If anybody’s GRIN(ning); it’s got to be the devil himself.

  3. In the short-lived but well written science-fiction TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a computer called “The Turk” is created by a computer wizard in an effort to win a chess tournament. The device is more powerful by orders of magnitude than any other computer ever seen; it is conscious in a quite material way. The engineer created two of them, one of them innocent, and the other, infected by a computer virus, builds SkyNet, a voracious computer virus with a positively Schumpeterian sense of creative destruction. The two of them are identical, expect for the extra code injected by the virus, and their experience of learning. One entirely evil, another benign, Angel and Devil. Even changing a fan on the computer network supporting the Turk caused changes to his behavior and perception.

    Joseph is well to be concerned that cybernetic interfaces open the door to infection with cybernetic malware. Anti-virus researchers often speak of the problem of social engineering, a topic that Joseph knows well and has commented upon in numerous audio files with GeorgeAnn Hughes (available at The Byte Show Channel on YouTube). In their case, they consider it to be a way to engineer a human to infect their own computer with malware code. Zooming out, if one were to combine cybernetic interfaces with malware and social engineering, a nefarious way to engineer a total control mechanism, a Matrix if you will, could be deployed. Even if benign cybernetic machines were implanted for totally valid purposes, those machines have been reported – as Joseph says – to have been taken over by malware written by nefarious engineers. It is just another stage for the play between good and evil, the tragedy of Genesis played out like a syndicated series throughout human history.

    There is no totally safe computer system and therefore, any machine can be controlled if it is connected to other machines. The news this week reported that two mice who shared an implanted cybernetic wireless connection could share knowledge with one another about a food source. How long until we are met with the benign offering, the “ask”, and then how long until access is sold to the highest bidder, like nodes in a bot net.

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