Robots will dominate, and the countdown is underway.

The division between the two parties will become so heated that assassinations and intrigue will culminate with a war unlike any the world has ever seen. The number of fatalities will be so high that the event will be referred to as "gigadeath."

Hugo de Garis's 2005 book, The Artilect War: Cosmists vs. Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines, reads a lot like the premise for a sci-fi summer blockbuster. But de Garis isn't just musing.

"I will try to persuade you that it is not science fiction, and that strong reasons exist to compel humanity to believe," he says in the introduction of The Artilect War.

This may or may not be science fiction, but the book's author is a professor at Utah State University who heads its "Artificial Brain Project." Take a look at de Garis' website and see what some of the boosters of transhumanism think lies ahead.

And news has just come in of what must be the first product recall for a nanotechnology product. ("Nano" means tiny—a nanometer is one billionth of a meter—and this cleaning product used minute particles that may have caused lung damage. It is not clear what caused the problem, and it could have been something else.) According to the report in the Washington Post,

At least 77 people reported severe respiratory problems over a one-week period at the end of March—including six who were hospitalized with pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs—after using a "Magic Nano" bathroom cleansing product, according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin.

Safety issues are big worries with this emerging technology, as are longer-term concerns about ...

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Life Matters
Nigel M. de S. Cameron is now president and CEO of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies. His "Life Matters" column, a commentary on bioethics issues, ran from 2005 to 2006.
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