Fearing the Unknown Future

Constantly emerging technologies will always come under harsh criticism. There is legitimate concern for the societal and social implications that these technologies might bring. Even though it might be noteworthy, most of this fear is based on conjecture. We hardly know how far things such as nanotechnology and rapid prototyping will take us. One of the down falls of the human condition is the fearing of the unknown. To push the limits of our existence we must have pioneers men and women at the helm guiding us forward. These new frontiers people or scientist, find beauty in the unknown and wish to conquer it.

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The concept of nanotechnology is a frightening and exciting topic. Some may argue that we are changing our own existence. To that I say the changing of our existence is in fact our existence. I say there is no rule book on how humans should exist. As long as we can come about these changes in a thoughtful and ethical way we will continue to advance. The fact that it might be possible to change matter on an atomic scale is concerning and promising. The text reads “If we rearrange the atoms in sand (and add a few other trace elements) we can make computer chips. If we rearrange the atoms in dirt, water, and air we can make potatoes. . . .” I can think of multiple positive implementations that this will bring about. Think of all the problems that could possibly be eradicated, such as hunger. If we are able to turn un-edible materials into sustenance we could possibly sustain Earth’s population. We could possibly solve future energy problems.  There will always be bad that comes with the good but that is no reason to fear the future.

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The same concept of fearing the future applies to rapid prototyping technologies such as the 3D printer. Most of the attention to 3D printing in the main stream media is negative. They focus on the negative possibilities. It seems when I speak to most people about 3D printing, almost always non UCSD students, the first thing they bring up is the 3D printed gun. These news entities are playing off of human’s fear of the unknown. If we can print a gun what are the other possibilities of the 3D printer? What will the bad people get their hands on next? This way of thinking is shutting out the amazing, positive, revolutionary possibilities of this technology. 3D printing is not made for weapons.  There is a new possible realm of art and artist. We may and are seeing art that wasn’t possible to create before the emergence of this technology.

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Instead of fearing the unknown and focusing on the negative aspects of these technologies we should shift our attention to the great possibilities that may come. If scientists adhered to the fear of the unknown we would not be as far along as we are today.

CONNOR BUSH

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