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The independent voice of the global moving industry

Thoughts about little things

Jan 16, 2018

The start of the new year has us all looking towards the future.  Some might be contemplating a new venture, others might be planning retirement or wondering how to hold the business together for another year.  But I started thinking at a much smaller level.  

You see I recently heard a report by James Burke, the scientist and octogenarian broadcaster, about nano technology.  That’s technology using atomic-sized particles.  Nano technology is not science fiction, it’s current technology.  Nano particles are used to create self-cleaning windows, clothes that don’t need washing, cosmetics, new materials and all kinds of other intriguing things.  

But James let his mind wander into a world where nano manufacturing was the norm not the exception.  In theory, if it were ever possible to manipulate elements at the atomic level, it must be possible to make anything.  What’s more, the elements needed are all around us in the air, sea and ground – for nothing. Solar power too to provide the energy. If you put two atoms of hydrogen with one of oxygen you will end up with water.  In the same way, if you put the right bits together at an elemental level, you could make a cheese sandwich, a table, a pint of beer or a pair of shoes.  

To do this you’ll need a nano factory which should be able to construct anything you want – including another nano factory.  That done, it’s easy to ship them anywhere in the world and make more nano factories (or maybe just beam them around).  Just as we all have personal computers now, in the future perhaps we’ll have little factories in our garden sheds to make stuff.  

Sounds wonderful but, faced with the ability to make anything we like, from nothing, what do we all do?  People become useless, money is irrelevant, unbridled abundance gives us everything for free and nobody has any purpose in life.  At least there’ll be no crime, as everyone will have everything anyway.  But it will be the end of the moving industry, that’s for sure.  

But it is just fantasy isn’t it?  Well, no, not quite.  The thing is, it’s already been done.  The technology is in its very early stages of development but the principles have been established and the process works.  And we thought the Internet was a game-changer! The future will be stranger than we can ever imagine. 

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