Watching the Advance of Nanotechnology

If you have an eye for long term trends in medicine, you should be watching for progress towards molecular manufacturing and dry nanotechnology. Much of what currently goes on under the heading of nanotechnology in medical and manufacturing industries is simply progress in nanoscale fabrication and application of devices using nanoscale fabrication - good stuff, especially for medical diagnostics, but still a way away from precise molecule-by-molecule mass manufacture.

The level of progress towards dry nanotechnology today determines whether we will see the nanotechnologies of radical life extension arrive in 20 years, 30 years or 50 years. Robert Freitas' respirocytes and other nanorobots form the basis of an entirely new way of thinking about engineering in the human body. There are no theoretical obstacles to building replacements for blood, bone, and even internal cellular components that are hundreds of times more efficient and durable than the biological machinery we currently use - it's just going to be a lot of work.

Nanomedicine will take over enhancing our health and life spans when the gains provided by future regenerative medicine come up short. It's in our interest to see the groundwork for nanotechnology moving ahead as rapidly as possible.

If you'd like to keep track of progress, Responsible Nanotechnology is a good place to start. I may not agree with all of their concerns (or proposed solutions) for the future of technology, but they have their fingers on the pulse and provide good overviews of current trends and advances.

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