The dangers of nanotechnology have been highlighted by Prince Charles this week. While nanotech has the benefits of ultra lightweight materials, superfast microprocessors and atom manipulation few consider its danger scenario. If a single nanobot (robot on nano scale) can reproduce itself out of raw materials through atom manipulation, what if it doesn't stop? If each nanobot reproduced itself and this trend continued it would mean an exponential increase in nanobot population. More nanobots = more raw materials processed. On the atomic scale however raw materials all look the same, a bunch of atoms. So a pile of sand or a human are the same to the nanobot. If rouge nanobots started reproducing they could consume all life on earth. The expected result is grey goo. This grey goo would be everything on earth converted into nanobots. If one rouge nanobot escapes how can you stop it beginning the cycle of destruction. You can't see it, you cant squash it like a bug.
But ultra fast processors would lead the way for the next generation of computing and A.I. Lightweight materials would produce more efficient vehicles and allow contruction of larger buildings. Atom manipulation would allow longer life and cure diseases.
So I ask you, are the benefits of nanotech worth the risk?