Gray Goo Or Grey Goo

 

Grey goo is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves-a scenario known as ecophagy ("eating the environment").

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Gray goo refers to out-of-control self-replicating nanorobots threatening and consuming life on Earth while building more of themselves (a scenario known as ecophagy). In a worst-case scenario, all of the matter in the Galaxy could be turned into goo (with "goo" meaning a large mass of replicating nanomachines lacking large-scale structure, which may or may not actually appear goo-like), killing the Galaxy's residents. The disaster could result from an accidental mutation in a self-replicating nanomachine used for other purposes, or possibly from a deliberate doomsday device.

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Gray goo (or, in British spelling, "grey goo") is a term used to describe what life on our planet might become if self-replicating robot s or nanomachine s got out of control and began to use up life forms for their own energy needs in some unstoppable way. The term was first used in K. Eric Drexler in his seminal book about nanotechnology , Engines of Creation . Michael Crichton's Prey is one of several science fiction novels about gray goo catastrophes. The possibility of all of us becoming a lifeless conglomeration of gray goo, whether by accident or by robotic intent, is considered exceedingly unlikely. However, it has been taken seriously enough by one researcher, Robert Freitas, to suggest some public policy recommendations.

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Self-replicating (von Neumann) nanomachines spreading uncontrolably, building copies of themselves using all available material. This is a commonly mentioned nanotechnology disaster scenario, although it is rather unlikely due to energy constraints and elemental abundances. More probable disaster scenarios are the green goo, golden goo and red goo, khaki goo scenarios. As a protection blue goo has been proposed.

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A hypothetical substance composed of sagans of sub-micron-sized self-replicating robots programmed to make copies of themselves out of whatever is available. The image that goes with the term is one of the entire biosphere of Earth being eventually converted to robot goo. This is the simplest of the nanotechnology disaster scenarios, easily refuted by arguments from energy requirements and elemental abundances. Compare blue goo.

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Speculation about the potential dangers of artificial self replicating machines (which have been labeled as "molecular assemblers") has led some to envision apocalyptic scenarios. One scenario suggested danger to life could arise in the form of grey goo which consumes carbon to make more of itself. If unchecked such mechanical replication could potentially consume whole ecoregions or the whole Earth (ecophagy), or it could simply outcompete other natural lifeforms for necessary resources such as carbon, ATP, or UV light (which some nanomotor examples run on). It is worth noting that the ecophagy and 'grey goo' scenarios, like synthetic molecular assemblers, are based upon still-theoretical technologies that have not yet been demonstrated experimentally.

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The name given to free-range self-replicating miniature machines that could, in theory, run out of control and cause severe damage to the biosphere. The actual threat is generally overrated, as we explain here.

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Out-of-control replicating nanotechnology; some calculations indicate that the entire ecosphere could be consumed within weeks or days. One of the primary risks threatening the complete destruction of humanity. [K. Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation, 1986] Perhaps an even more dangerous variant is "red goo", or military nanotechnology.

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See Star Trek scenario.

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Destructive nanobots [AKA: "gray dust"]. Opposite of Blue Goo. See Star Trek scenario. Vast legions of destructive nanites. Typically, created by accident. Left unchecked, they will basically convert everthing they contact into more of themselves, or consume and digest it for energy. Either way, its pretty much bad news. The debate rages on. Check out the first technical analysis of gray goo ever published, in April 2000, by Robert A. Freitas Jr. Also - Self-replicating (von Neumann) nanomachines spreading uncontrolably, building copies of themselves using all available material. This is a commonly mentioned nanotechnology disaster scenario, although it is rather unlikely due to energy constraints and elemental abundances. More probable disaster scenarios are the green goo, golden goo, red goo, khaki goo scenarios. As a protection blue goo has been proposed. [AS]

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Nanotech-disaster scenario in which myriads of self replicating nano-assemblers make uncountable copies of themselves and consume the earth

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Destructive nanobots See Star Trek scenario. Vast legions of destructive nanites. Supposedly created by accident, they are nano-scale or "atomic-precision" robots capable of precise, molecular control over chemical reactions, programmed to make unlimited copies of themselves, and capable of surviving and gathering supplies in a wide range of environmental conditions. Left unchecked, they would basically convert everything they touch into more of themselves, or consume and digest it for energy [ecophagy]. Either way, a gray goo would be bad news

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Destructive nanobots [AKA: "gray dust"]. Opposite of Blue Goo. See Star Trek scenario. Vast legions of destructive nanites. Typically, created by accident. Left unchecked, they will basically convert everthing they contact into more of themselves, or consume and digest it for energy. Either way, its pretty much bad news. The debate rages on. Check out the first technical analysis of gray goo ever published, in April 2000, by Robert A. Freitas Jr. Also - Self-replicating (von Neumann) nanomachines spreading uncontrolably, building copies of themselves using all available material. This is a commonly mentioned nanotechnology disaster scenario, although it is rather unlikely due to energy constraints and elemental abundances. More probable disaster scenarios are the green goo, golden goo, red goo, khaki goo scenarios. As a protection blue goo has been proposed. [AS]

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A scary concept dreamed up by Erik K Drexler whereby tiny assemblers, or molecular machines, that are capable of making copies of themselves, are let loose and proceed to replicate uncontrollably, consuming everything in their path and turning it into a grey goo.

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Self-replicating nanomachines spreading uncontrollably, building copies of themselves using all available material.

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