As impressive as nanotechnology might be, there are also potential disadvantages of nanotechnology. Some of the problems with nanoscience are practical while others fall under the ethical realm.
Practical problems can include everything from the need for mass produced forms of nanotechnology that may or may not be possible.
Ethical problems can include everything from the potential direction nanotechnology might take to the problems with the possible effects of the products created.
One of the potential disadvantages of nanotechnology includes the potential for mass poisoning over a period of time. While nanoscience can produce all kinds of new and improved products, the particles that are created are so incredibly small that they may very well cause eventual health problems in the consumers that use them.
Since almost everyone uses a product that has been touched by nanotechnology it is possible that the eventual health effects could be large scale.
Mass poisoning could only happen if the coatings that nanotechnology has the potential to produce include poisonous microparticles that can cross over into the brain. There is a barrier between the blood stream and the brain known as the blood—brain barrier.
Coating all of our products with particles that are small enough to cross over this barrier runs the risk of creating a mass poisoning. Fortunately, the scientists that are able to study nanotechnology have already considered this possibility and there are very strict guidelines that will help detract from this potential risk.
Another potential problem with nanotechnology is the lack of our own knowledge. We know that we can create materials with nanotechnology but we still have to stop and understand the impact of the creation of these products will have on the nanoscale.
If we change the structure of material on the nano level without understanding the potential impact on the nanoscale, we risk creating a whole world of materials that have atoms that actually do not fit together cohesively.
There are some potential disadvantages of nanotechnology that fall in the realm of both the practical and the ethical. If nanotechnology can help the human body recover from illness or injury then it is quite possible that nanotechnology can create an altered human state.
We could potentially be able to create a human race that is engineered and altered to become hyper—intelligent and super strong. The serious complications with such issues include the idea that the scientific technology would only be available to those who can afford it. That would mean there would be an underclass of people; the people we are now.
Should nanotechnology actually be able to procure an honest and true molecular manufacturing machine for every household how would the world’s economy survive? What would we do with all those jobs that are lost in the manufacturing fields and how would we calculate monetary concerns when it comes to this type of on demand manufacturing?
There is a host of potential weaponry that could be produced on a molecular level. For any scientist, the potential to engineer diseases and create lethal weaponry that can’t even be seen is an ethical quagmire. Even more distressing is whether or not other countries that have nanotechnology capabilities will create these weapons.
While it sounds as though the disadvantages of nanotechnology will be the end of the world, this is not really the case. With all the good any science can do, there is always the capability of engineering evil potential. There is a system of checks and balances in place to help prevent the mishandling of scientific research and capabilities.
There is also not a great likelihood that most of the potential disadvantages will come to fruition. Rather, it is more likely that the ethical questions and concerns will be addressed as the potential for actual development and practical use comes into play. Most of the concerns that scientists and ethical experts are concerned with will not be a realistic potential for a long time to come.