Many newspapers and magazines are talking about nanotechnology and its promises for our future. Of course, there is money in it: $2 billion are spent in research worldwide.
But where is nanotechnology today? Business 2.0 answers the question.
Nanotechnology focuses on the miniature, but one thing about it is massive: the hype. Boosters have long panted about a coming age of tiny machines that will enhance human intelligence, cure disease, wipe out poverty -- and create fortunes. The National Nanotechnology Initiative, a federally backed research program, has forecast that nanotech will spawn a $1 trillion market by 2015 [Roland's note: I love this kind of numbers]. The froth has sparked an inevitable backlash: Some doubters now dismiss nanotech as sci-fi fantasy and a business bust in waiting.
What's the real story? Simply this: What is happening in nanotech is indeed revolutionary, but it's happening on a level far removed from products and markets. It's happening on the level of a fundamental understanding of how the universe operates at the scale of atoms and molecules, where Mother Nature does some of her most clever work.
But breakthroughs won't come overnight. Nanotech is where electricity was shortly after Edison harnessed it, when people were trying to figure out uses for the miraculous juice.
The wilder imaginings of some nanotech fans are likely to stay in the realm of science fiction for a long time, maybe forever. But in the real world, the front edge of the nanotech wave is here, and it's gaining momentum. It will affect almost every aspect of our lives. And it will happen sooner than most people think.
Source: Tim Harper, Business 2.0, July 2002 Issue
5:50:29 PM Permalink