Will Gray Goo Cause The End Of Civilization?

Posted: Mar 6 2017, 6:27pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Will Gray Goo Cause The End of Civilization?
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When you think about the end of the world, what stands out to you - climate change? Nuclear war? The robots take over? One theory takes on that last one and turns it on its head. One theory states that a bunch of microscopic robots will band together to form a sort of gray goo that will take over the planet, destroying anything in its path.

Don't laugh, they have some science behind them.

The Gray Goo

"Gray Goo" was first mentioned by Eric Drexler in a 1986 book. It one section of the book, according to Wikipedia, Drexler speculated that self-reproducing "nanobots" could use natural resources and replicate themselves. In a sense, it sounds like bacterial replication. They would use everything natural and degradable to live - including humans.

Some people, including Singularity Weblog, attributes the idea to a mathematician Von Neumann. Whoever created it, the idea is still there and goes beyond science fiction.

But could it really happen?

Replication of Nanorobots

It is believed that the robots would replicate discretely and then combine together to create whatever they want, sort of like termites replicate. They would be able to replicate very quickly and grow extremely large in a short amount of time, according to the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology.

The science isn't there quite yet, but you do have to think about how much more advanced AI is than we are. AI might not have the ability yet either, but they are starting to get the ability to learn more, and that could be something they could learn.

What could we do if the Gray Goo starts attacking?

So let's say that it actually happens. Nanobots in the form of gray goo do start attacking us - what can we do? While you shouldn't start planning now, here are some things that people have discovered:

Electromagnetic Pulse

One way we could stop the invasion of nanorobots is to produce a strong enough electromagnetic pulse that would stop them. It would probably do some pretty severe damage to our infrastructure and ruin a bunch of our information as well, but it is a way to do it.

Stop Producing Better AI

One simple thing we could do, according to Phys.org, is just to stop creating AI that is getting better and smarter. Of course, that would prevent us from making some of the breakthroughs we have made, but it could keep us safe as well.

For the most part, we are safe and this is just a really silly theory that won't come to pass - or so we hope.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.

 

 

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