In a recent Cambridge University conference, researchers revealed there is a 5 percent chance nanoweapons will cause human extinction prior to the year 2100. The prospect of weaponized nanotechnology is fairly new so elaboration is needed. Weaponized nanobots are smaller than a pinhead and can be programmed to perform a variety of lethal functions. These include: injecting toxins, targeted killings, and poisoning water supplies. One of the more disturbing implications of weaponized nanotechnology is the advent of mini-nukes. These nuclear bombs would weigh, at most, five pounds and would be easily concealable in a pocket or purse. Louis Del Monte, a physicist and nanoweapons researcher, believes it is likely terrorists will acquire some forms of weaponized nanotechnology in the late 2020s.
While the prospect of miniature nuclear weapons is frightening, the most dangerous aspect of nanotechnology is the ability of nanobots to self-replicate. If self replicating nanobots were released, they would become autonomous and would kill indiscriminately. In this manner, nanobots would become something like a man-made, robotic virus.
Despite reservations about the development of nanotechnology, Russia, China, and the United States are currently investing billions into the development of nanoweapons. The atomic bomb was the revolutionary weapon that defined the 20th Century. It seems as though nanoweapons will be the defining weapon of the 21st Century.
Interested in learning more? Check out Louis Del Monte’s book “Nanoweapons: A Growing Threat to Humanity“. Does the development of nanoweapons concern you? How should the US confront Russian and Chinese development of nanoweapons? Sound off in the comments.