A World of Abundance

nanoHow will the world change when we can manipulate all atoms like Lego blocks?

Futurist, filmmaker and National Geographic Brain Games host Jason Silva released a video about nanotechnology, exploring some of the eventual possibilities of a science that will give us “new construction kits for our reality.”

We’ve embedded his one-minute speech below, but here’s a good quote:

“With nanotechnology, all ideas of scarcity disappear. Everything is made of atoms. We can turn anything into everything with nanotechnology. This idea, the full flourishing of such things, means that we move into a world of abundance. We move into a world of infinite resource. Even scarcity is contextual and technology is a resource-liberating mechanism.”

The great theoretical physicist Richard P. Feynman speculated about the unnamed field of nanotechnology in a 1959 speech called “Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” He shared this inspiring thought:

But I am not afraid to consider the final question as to whether, ultimately—in the great future—we can arrange the atoms the way we want; the very atoms, all the way down! What would happen if we could arrange the atoms one by one the way we want them (within reason, of course; you can’t put them so that they are chemically unstable, for example). Up to now, we have been content to dig in the ground to find minerals … What would the properties of materials be if we could really arrange the atoms the way we want them?

The idea has already spawned an entire fictional bookshelf, but there are many stories yet to be told–especially about “the world of abundance” that Silva predicted.

If you want more inspiration, K. Eric Drexler’s Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology explored this topic in the 1980s. You can find his work online on his personal site.

In the photo embedded above, you can see “a nanoscale-level coating of zinc oxide on top of a copper plate holds the potential to dramatically increase heat transfer characteristics and lead to a revolution in heating and cooling technology.” The photo comes from experts at Oregon State University.

Watch Silva’s wonder-filled video below…

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