Chapter 8. The Final Frontier

Previous chapters in this book have shown that nanoconvergence can achieve real but moderate improvements in most fields of technology, and can support continued economic growth and the betterment of human welfare, if applied wisely. However, we have not decided whether nano is truly revolutionary or merely the next step in the consolidation of human technical knowledge and capabilities. To see beyond the next decade or two, and to envision truly revolutionary changes in the conditions of human life, we need a perspective that is both lofty and realistic. This chapter accomplishes that goal by examining the preeminent example of technological transcendence—the possibility that nano-enabled space travel will allow ...

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