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Archive for the 'Future Warfare' Category

Heritage Foundation: Conservative on nanotechnology too

Posted by Christine Peterson on September 21st, 2007

The Heritage Foundation portrays itself as a conservative think tank, and by gosh, they are! Specifically, they are conservative on the longer term prospects for nanotechnology: In the more distant future, combining nanocomputers, sensors, and nanomechanical architectures into one system would make possible autonomously targeted and guided projectiles, such as bullets and rockets. Nanotechnology could [...]

Nanotechnology & more at Foresight Vision Weekend, Nov. 3-4

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 16th, 2007

We are very pleased to announce the dates and location of the 2007 Foresight Vision Weekend, to be held November 3-4 in at Yahoo! headquarters here in Silicon Valley. We’ve learned that you demand a highly interactive meeting, so this year we’ll be experimenting with a new format including big chunks of time for the [...]

Nanotechnology risk governance to include weapons

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 13th, 2007

In the postal mail today was the paper copy of a 6-7 July 2006 conference report: “The Risk Governance of Nanotechnology: Recommendations for Managing a Global Issue” (link to PDF) held at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue last summer. This well-run and highly international meeting is the highest profile meeting to include consideration [...]

Looong and thin carbon tubes via nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 30th, 2007

Small Times brings word of advances in making longer carbon nanotubes. The company involved, Nanocomp Technologies, reminds us why these materials are so intriguing: Individual nanotubes have extraordinary properties as they are: Strong – 100 times stronger than steel. Lightweight – 30 percent lighter than aluminum. Conductive – conduct electricity as efficiently as copper, and [...]

Fortune profile on Kurzweil and nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 2nd, 2007

These days Foresight is focused on our Technology Roadmap and policy initiatives such as Open Source Physical Security. But we still have our visionary side, shown in a Fortune profile of Foresight advisor Ray Kurzweil, which also features Foresight director and X PRIZE founder Peter Diamandis: If you went around saying that in a couple [...]

Russia: $1 billion from oil into nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 19th, 2007 reports that nanotechnology is the next big thing in Russia: Russia will pour over $1 billion into equipment for nanotechnology research over the next three years as it uses massive oil and gas export earnings to diversify an economy now heavily dependent on raw materials, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday. “(Nanotechnology) [...]

Open source security for nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 5th, 2007

In the long term, we’ll need effective security techniques for advanced nanotechnology-based systems. This will take a while to figure out, so come help us do it at an upcoming open source conference, Penguicon: Open Source-style Security for the Whole Physical World Christine Peterson, Bruce Schneier One of the biggest problems society faces this century [...]

Batteries will be everywhere with nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on March 19th, 2007

USA Today covers the challenging but environmentally important issue of making batteries: inefficient, nasty things today that need to get a lot better and cheaper. And they will, with nanotech developed by these two MIT professors: [Prof. Angela] Belcher’s virus-assembled batteries are thin, transparent sheets that look like plastic wrap. They could be used to [...]

Defense view of nanotechnology’s potential

Posted by Christine Peterson on March 6th, 2007

Nanowerk covers a February 2007 report from the U.S. Defense Science Board titled 21st Century Strategic Technology Vectors (pdf). Excerpts: DOD must also keep abreast of the most rapidly changing and emerging technologies as a necessary complement to the mission-driven perspective that is the focus of this report. Today these include bio-, info-, and nano-technologies. [...]

Security implications of nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 26th, 2007

Though we do not always agree with Gregor Wolbring, his column on nanotech and the military reminds us of a very difficult potential problem: The start of a nano arms race, and the lack of willingness to regulate potential synthetic biology through the modification of existing treaties or the application of existing treaties or the [...]

Nanotechnology for chemical and biological defense

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 1st, 2007

Long-time nanotechnology trackers have assumed that nanotech will be useful for chemical and biological defense, and sure enough, at least one national government is exploring this issue. See the website for the Nanotechnology Initiative at the Special Projects Office at the Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, which falls under the [...]

Nanotube yarn targeted for nanotechnology exoskeleton

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 26th, 2007

Speigel Online reports that nanotechnology work at the University of Texas is leading toward a nanotech “exoskeleton” for military use: Now the superpower’s military is hoping to profit from the findings of nanotechnologist Ray Baughman from the University of Texas. He has managed to develop chemically grown nanotubes, which are like tiny muscles. The microscopically [...]

Military nanotechnology video is a mixed bag

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 9th, 2007

Somehow we missed the original launch of the 12-minute video describing MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, funded by the U.S. Army. It includes animated sequences depicting combat scenarios and how nanotechnologies could be used in response. Some of these are pretty science-fictiony, which means they have at least some chance of being accurate projections. The [...]

Nanotechnology: eleven 50-year outlooks

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 29th, 2006

The Institute for the Future, in a UK-funded study published on the Stanford website, presents eleven outlooks for nanotechnology over the next 50 years: • Better drug delivery through nanotechnology • Carbon nanotubes and lighter vehicles • The coming nanoshell revolution in oncology • The dream of biochemical nanocomputing • Manufacturing with programmable materials “Advent [...]

Facing up to military nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 4th, 2006

A new book by German physicist Jürgen Altmann of Dortmund University looks at Military Nanotechnology: Potential Applications and Preventive Arms Control (Routledge, 2006). Both near-term and long-term applications are examined. From the abstract: NT applications will likely pervade all areas of the military…By using NT to miniaturise sensors, actuators and propulsion, autonomous systems (robots) could [...]

Israel to pursue nanotechnology weapons

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 17th, 2006

It had to happen somewhere: the first country to publicly state they are planning to use nanotechnology in weapons is…Israel. Before now, to my knowledge, only defensive uses have been discussed in public. From the Sydney Morning Herald: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given the green light for Israel to set up a special office [...]

Nanotechnology DNA sensor promises benefits, possible downsides

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 10th, 2006

We are only in the very early stages of nanotechnology bringing new abilities to DNA reading, but the latest such nanotech advance comes from New Mexico Tech profs Peng Zhang and Snezna Rogelj, described in an article by George Zamora: NM Tech Researchers Develop Nanomaterial Bio-sensor New Mexico Tech researchers have developed a highly sensitive [...]

National security implications of long-term nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on September 8th, 2006

The U.S. Navy’s Thomas Vandermolen looks at defense aspects of advanced nanotech in a footnoted paper over at Nanotechnology Now. He argues against a do-nothing strategy: Given MNT’s tremendous potential for both peaceful and violent applications, controlling it with a “do nothing” strategy is analogous to providing nuclear reactors to every country under the assumption [...]

South Korea to assist North Korea on nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 31st, 2006

From The Chosun Ilbo we learn of a new collaborative effort on nanotechnology between South Korea and…North Korea: South and North Korean scholars are holding a conference on nanotechnology in the North’s Mt. Kumgang resort. For three days from Monday, participants will exchange results of their research and discuss ways to cooperate in improving education [...]

Nanotechnology’s role in national security

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 15th, 2006

Nanotech Takes on Homeland Terror is the title of a piece by Josh Wolfe and Dan van den Bergh over at It describes current and near-term applications for nanotech in detecting biowarfare agents and in protecting soldiers: The DOD believed in nano long before the term was mainstream…Current detection tools using nanotechnology allow high-speed [...]