Andre Georges

The Nanotechnology Manifesto

Definition: Nano-Mano : Street derivative for The Nanotechnology Manifesto. A document consisting of the ethical practices necessary for Nanotechnology Research, with regards to self-sustaining coexistence with all the inhabitants of the Planet Earth.

In response to a semester long investigation of human interaction with Robotics and its connected technology, (in my case, nanotechnology), I felt compelled to write a series of guidelines that would educate the general public about its far-reaching applications. For introductory purposes I chose a succinct definition from the Internet:

Molecular nanotechnology (MNT) is an emerging technology
that has the potential to redefine the sources of power
in the world and to change the structure of the international
system, thus influencing the business of states, from
how they live and trade to how they conduct war. It is
therefore prudent for us to examine this new technology,
and study its potential to reshape the world around us.

Molecular Nanotechnology and the World System


The primary positive contributions of nanotechnology to society are:

    • providing food on a global level,
    • reducing the chance of war over natural resources,
    • providing abundant energy to sustain life,

replenish our degraded environment.

The primary concerns are:

    • catastrophic misuse in warfare
    • self-replication spiraling out of control
    • destabilization of Nations due to level playing field
    • invisible weapons used for Genocide
    • gray and black goo, doomsday scenarios

Thomas McCarthy, the author of Molecular Nanotechnology and the World, whom I previously quoted, sheds light on the dangers of Governmental destabilization in the following synopsis.

Imagine no longer needing to depend on oil rich countries any longer, and the flip side, other countries not needing our products.

McCarthy calls the process responsible for this scenario, molecular nanotechnology, MNT for short. His claim is that the instability and unrest resulting from what should be considered the assets of MNT are likely to lead to international war.

Let us revisit Thomas Hobbe’s Leviathan, McCarthy states, and imagine that Hobbe’s individual, who is in "perpetual and restless desire" for power, has now become the state. Each state will have the option of ruthlessly wiping out entire competing states with the sophisticated invisible weapons made possible by MNT. Global positioning satellites will make precise strikes geographically feasible.

Not a building, not a city, but an entire Nation. This would bring about a world that Hobbes termed the "natural state", where "life is brutish and Short". Genocide would become the preferred method of war.

This would be a radical departure from traditional warfare, that of recognizable territorial or ethnic boundaries. It would be an issue of scale. After all, if Hitler had had this choice, we could imagine how long it would have taken him to implement it.

This fear of independent strength of the underdog may be enough to push through mandates for a World Government in order to punish international lawlessness. Justice would now have to be doled out effectively on an International level, something that, given the example of NATO, is not even close to happening.

It would have to be voluntary, and transcend monumental existing differences among Nations.

It is more likely that the world would transform into states of ‘Autarky’, from the Greek word meaning self-sufficiency. If we could avoid total annihilation, we would become states without interdependency.

Isolationism may be the best solution.

McCarthy suggests that we are able to experience the future now in MUD rooms and chat rooms on the Internet, which are considered costless communities.

To wrap up the bleak outlook of Mr. McCarthy, it seems we will have to choose between World Government and Isolationism.

Consider also the fact that population will mushroom due to available age extension and excellent health, barring any substantial attitude changes about procreation, forcing us as to expand beyond our atmosphere.

To colonize other planets is the ultimate Isolationism.

Bearing all that in mind, I now propose a set of ethical guidelines for Nanotechnology:

Ethical Guidelines For Nanotechnology

  1. Nanotech shall not self replicate beyond prescribed guidelines.
  2. Above all else, not to be used in times of war.
  3. Oversight committee mandatory to remove chance of misuse.
  4. Available to all walks of life, not subject to racial, ethnic or monetary constraints.
  5. Because of nanotech’s immense potential for mass destruction, it is imperative that it be only directed for positive use.
  6. The inevitable conundrum, in order to protect from malevolent attack, there must be research and global monitoring on an ongoing basis to preempt such an attack.
  7. The previous concern (6) requires the production and violation of positive use only initiatives, therefore, creating a similar tension experienced in the nuclear armament period, except nanotech makes nuclear look local in terms of destructive potential.
  8. We must extrapolate to the best of our abilities, the doomsday scenarios, with the hope that no one would risk complete annihilation in order to rule the world.

I include an existing set of guidelines as well from The Natural Step, an organization that originated in Sweden and was founded by Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt, an Oncologist who examined molecular damage done to humans by environmental toxins. He set about to change business practice in Sweden, and with the help of the King Of Sweden, not mention a battery of fifty scientists, managed to get these four guidelines delivered to every household in Sweden. He has had terrific success there, as well as having moved around the globe with his ideas. They state:

1 Substances from the Earth’s crust must not systematically increase in nature.

According to the first law of thermodynamics, all mass and energy is conserved in an isolated system. Our atmosphere is a closed system, and all conversion from solid to gas, for instance, is just redistributed throughout our atmosphere. In the case of toxins, it means we are spreading around this poison to our detriment.

2 Substances produced by Society must not systematically increase in Nature.

Society must find ways to reduce dependence on human-made substances such as DDT, PCB’s and freon. The second law of Thermodynamics dictates that all matter spreads spontaneously. Dispersion of these Human-made goods is inevitable and should be phased out.

3 The physical basis for the productivity and diversity of Nature must not systematically be diminished.

We need to respect our biodiversity and natural systems, for they replenish the Earth and ensure our prosperity. We consume energy in structures of nature, such as gasoline or food, they each have a limited abundance on the planet that we need to allow time to replenish.

4 We must be fair and efficient in meeting basic human needs.

Considering the human enterprise as a whole, effectively dictates our balancing the shares of prosperity to include everybody. The affluent must share more and we all must be more efficient in our allocations of energy producing goods. An example of how to achieve this is through the example of the relationship of plants on this planet to the Sun. In this case, the Earth is an open system with photosynthesis being the mode of replenishment, that supplies virtually all increases in energy on Earth.

In conclusion, I see great opportunities in the field

of Nanotechnology, if we can keep it directed for positive
use only. It promises to achieve all the needs we have
towards a prosperous life in the future. The energy from the
Sun has not been enough for our greedy industrial way of
life to date. The Federal Government will not even fund
research towards Solar Energy. Nanotechnology could make
tremendously efficient solar gain panels. It would be clean
and sustainable energy. We could feed the hungry. Of course,
from what I understand, this is already feasible given our
modern methods, we just choose not to for various political
reasons and pure laziness.

Nanotechnology will force the hand of true equality and
justice among all fellow humans, regardless of history. We
will have to decide if we have the courage as a civilization
to truly get along together. Otherwise the urge to remove
any obstacles, as we see in Yugoslavia today with their
Kosovor ethnic cleansing, may be just to great to overcome.

Http// Links to Nanotechnology:

Doomsday principle


book Reference:

Drexler Eric K. and Chris Peterson with Gayle Pergamit.

Unbounding The Future, The Nanotechnology Revolution: Quill William Morrow. New York. 1991