Mexican eco-terrorists declare war on nanotechnology, threaten scientists

Mexican scientists involved in bio- and nanotechnology have become death threat targets over the past two years. It's not the narcos who want them dead, but "a group of bomb-building eco-terrorists with the professed goal of destroying human civilization," reports Wired News. In a manifesto posted on anarchist blog Liberacion Total last month, Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (ITS) took credit for a failed bombing attempt against one researcher, and promises to try again. [Danger Room |]


  1. One has to ask why? If they just let the scientist do his nano-job, he’ll usher in the age of our robot-overlords and they’ll get their wish sooner than with pathetic bombs.

  2. Aren’t bombs technology? Also, if they want to revert back to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, would they consider spears technology… or clothes? It’s hard to see where the line begins and ends. I don’t think they’ve really thought it all through…

  3. The article quotes part of this eco-terrorists manifiesto:

    “Did those who modify and destroy the Earth think their actions wouldn’t have repercussions? That they wouldn’t pay a price? If they thought so, they are mistaken.”

    Uh, dude… the researcher that you tried to destruct is in that very same Earth you wanna protect from destruction. Are you guys trying to launch researchers into space to kill them there with your bombs?

    1.  The Grey Goo hypothesis was never real.  It was only suggested as a tongue-in-cheek scenario.  Only the anti-nanotechnology types actually take it seriously.

      1. Real or not it is just as likely as a computer system turning into a Skynet type of program, or future robots rising up against us (without a centralized command like Skynet).  Honestly grey goo is probably even more likely.  Since you are dealing with things at a nano level, once maker bots are building things in a similar size range, it wouldn’t be hard to program them for killing.  Self replication might be the limiting factor in their wide spread effectiveness.  More then likely you’d end up with something akin to a spreading virus than an expanding mass of nano bots.

        1. A better description: Drexler knew that the popular SF “self-replicating submicroscopic swarm threat” was not a plausible hypothesis at the time he wrote Engines of Creation.  (Essentially due to energy input / resource constraints.)  He was not worrying that the Earth would be turned into sludge or computronium, merely attempting to illustrate some more specific ecological threats.

          As usual, nuance got lost in the press quotes.

          So, yes, falsifiability is the distinguishing criterion – but the hypothesis is “not real” in that Drexler already believed the popular image to be false at the time he proposed it.

          1. “Nasty microscopic things that could wreak havoc on human life” is a plausible scenario but even without getting into the physics an all-encompassing “grey goo” never passed the sniff test. We’ve had self-replicating nanoscale constructs for a long time now: they’re called “proteins.”

  4. Has anybody told the drug cartels that the fall of human civilization will substantially reduce the value of the US market? I have a sneaking suspicion that that might be a quicker solution than going through official channels.

  5. I was hoping the diamond airships, telepresent improv acting, and undersea orgies would be the parts of The Diamond Age that came true, not the anti-nanotech terrorism.

  6. How do you call them “eco-terrorists” when they want to whipe out a whole species. I call that pure stupidity on both ends.

    1. There’s an implied “those things are bad, except when I have them” in that manifesto — just like anti-gun politicians with carry permits, hard-right televangelists with homosexual liaisons, etc. etc. etc. Hypocrisy would be the new black, except it’s not really new at all.

  7. It’s happening! Hugo De Garis’ artilect war is upon us! Anyone else get the memo that the Singularity Institute changed its name to Machine Intelligence Research Institute, btw?

    1. It’s likely that the opening moves of the artilect war would contain this kind of human stupidity, yes, but that would just be the AIs taking advantage of our natural tendency to self-sabotage.

      (MIRI was more of a brand confusion issue than a change of mission – thankfully.)

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