8/12/2005

The Gray-Goo Problem

in just 10 hours an unchecked self-replicating auto-assembler would spawn 68 billion offspring; in less than two days the auto-assemblers would outweigh the earth

2003: THE 3rd ANNUAL YEAR IN IDEAS; Gray-Goo Problem, The
By LAWRENCE OSBORNE (NYT) 422 words
Published: December 14, 2003

...No less a figure than Prince Charles, having read the report, publicly announced that he was distressed by something called the gray-goo problem, in which a swarm of millions of rapidly self-replicating microscopic robots, in a ravenous quest for fuel, would consume the entire biosphere until nothing remained but an immense, sludgelike robotic mass.

How would it happen? As Eric Drexler, a former researcher at M.I.T., predicted in his 1986 book, ''Engines of Creation,'' in the future we will be able to enlist nanobots to build things for us.. In order to build the product on a human scale, these auto-assemblers would have to be able to reproduce themselves -- also using raw material from the natural world -- in massive numbers.

Gray goo is what would happen if one of the auto-assemblers went haywire and the self-replication never stopped. According to Drexler's calculations, in just 10 hours an unchecked self-replicating auto-assembler would spawn 68 billion offspring; in less than two days the auto-assemblers would outweigh the earth

.. an equally worrisome but more immediate danger [is] the green-goo problem. Green goo is roughly the same as gray goo, only it involves the re-engineering of living things [that] would eat and reproduce as nature intended, but they would be technologically enhanced -- with unforeseeable consequences


2003: THE 3rd ANNUAL YEAR IN IDEAS; Gray-Goo Problem, The

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home