In NANO, three hundred years into the future and a discovery on the moon lead humans to create implants that augment them in a variety of ways. From enhanced senses to rapid regeneration, the implants in the NANO series fictitiously show us the steadily growing rate at which humanity joins with technology and the possible consequences waiting for us in such a future.
But how fictitious is it, exactly? How long are we really talking until humans approach a level of technology so advanced that it mirrors or even outdates NANO‘s notions of science “fiction?” The truth is, we might not be as far away as you think! And that’s not even taking into account the possibility of the “Singularity!” (Google it. You know you want to. Scary and exciting all in one.)
Here are some things within the past decade that are quickly threatening to turn NANO‘s science fictional neurotech into science reality!
Nanotech Vision – We’ve all heard of the Google Glass, but did you know that they’re already enhancing this system to incorporate “nanotech” contact lenses? They would work in tandem with a microprojector attached to the eyeglasses to display a near virtual reality overlay onto the world you perceive! This new device may not give you Ihlia’s activated night vision or eagle eyes, but this science fiction author doesn’t think those things are too much of a stretch!
Nanotech Brain Enhancement – In NANO, Ihlia boasts having a nanite unlike any other in the world. She calls it her Cognitive Accelerator, and in the book it allows her to slow down time around her. It doesn’t take the reader long to figure out that she’s actually accelerating the rate at which she processes thoughts. It may seem silly, but research is already going into improving our cognitive functions and repariing our cognitive dysfunctions. Right now talk is of “nanopharmaceuticals,” but how long until those drugs become implants that permanently enhance and regulate brain activity?
Panacea – Most of you know Panacea as the poster-child nanite in the NANO series. Fictitiously, this nanite provides the user with perpetual immunity to disease, cancer, and infection, and allows for the rapid, seamless repair of injuries. Did you know that these technologies are at the forefront of nanomedical research? Already nanotechnology is being researched for a variety of medical purposes ranging from prosthetic coatings to early detection of pathogens, heart attacks, and cancer. In addition, nanotech is being used to save burn victims by accelerating tissue growth!
Holocoms – Holographic computer imagery has been a science fiction staple; it’s seen in lesser known works like The Carpathian Castle and Return From The Stars all the way up to more renowned titles like Star Wars (“Help me Obi Wan Kanobi, you’re my only hope.”) NANO is no exception as holocoms and an information network called the N3 have outdated our conventional understanding of computers. But it seems like recent nanotech developments will help to bring the concept to life! Move over LCD, you’re a nanostone throw away from obsoletion!
The Supersoldier – Let’s not forget the military strides that this kind of technology will bring. As far back as 2002-2003 with MIT opening their Super Soldier Program with backing from DARPA and the military, the idea of a nanotech enhanced Super Soldier has promised to revolutionize the way wars are fought. Recently, the use of unmanned drones and robotic technology have stolen the forefront, but don’t think that nanotech inspired super soldiers are out the door yet! Right now we’re only looking at combat suits like the Talos, but how far of a jump would it be to make the enhancements an integrated part of our biology?
Since as far back as the 1950’s, nanotechnology and the research behind it have promised to completely change the way our society functions. Being able to manipulate the way matter behaves at an atomic and subatomic level opens up doors that are both marvelous and terrifying. We’re talking about a wave of advancement so prominent and groundbreaking that entire research teams are devoted to nothing more than the ethical application of these technologies! Basically figuring out where the line should be drawn to keep humanity from becoming… well, something else!
But like all lines drawn to impede scientific progression, it’s only a matter of time before someone crosses it. When that happens, what will humanity become? Transhumanists, H+ers, and other advocates of synthesizing biology with technology don’t seem to mind. In some radical cases, they even excitedly anticipate it.
One thing is for certain, though. The age of information is approaching its Dusk. As one who believes that a new day will always rise on the horizon of the old, that leaves me to beg the question… what age will Dawn in its wake?
Be sure to check out NANO Archive 01: The City of Fire to join Ihlia as she fights through one possible end such a world might usher in! And be on the lookout for Archive 02. Just like our impending nanotech breakthroughs, it’s coming soon!
Thanks for your continued support,
– Jason Crutchfield