Aerospace and defense systems developer Sir Charles Shults revealed the positive and negative sides to nanotechnology, as well as the latest advancements in artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Nanotechnology offers the ability to manipulate things at the atomic level and will allow us to construct materials that we've never been able to make before. For instance, a bullet-proof garment that weighs no more than a T-shirt is being developed. Nanotubes are being used to make new capacitors that could be used for lightweight storage/battery systems In medicine, nano particles were recently used to treat Alzheimer's patients, he reported.
Possible misuses of nanotech include weaponry that could be effectively hidden and taken aboard planes. We'll need entirely new systems to detect and discover these weapons, Shults said. He also warned of the "grey goo" syndrome in which nano disassemblers run amok and begin "eating" everything around them. There could also be "targeted viruses" that could used against crops or specific geneotypes.
The advance of intelligent machines could benefit humanity by allowing us to consult with another type of mind, Shults pointed out, yet these machines could one day decide to take over "for our benefit."
First hour guest, Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert Bigelow discussed his company's projects such as the Genesis I spacecraft, which is currently in orbit. The craft, launched from Russia, is unmanned but does contain some life forms such as Madagascar hissing beetles (roaches), he said. Genesis I is in the beginning stage for multiple uses that could include a space hotel and research labs for science and pharmacology, Bigelow explained.
Bumper music from Sunday August 13, 2006