Skynet by the backdoor
Programmable materials that can change properties on the fly.
What could possibly go wrong?
Seriously though, this looks very interesting.
Engineers working in Switzerland say they have developed a method of writing data directly into materials, a process that changes the material's physical properties at the same time. The study, published in Nature this week, could lead to the development of materials that possess programmable properties, which have engineering …
Just based on the headline I thought: "Welp, there's the grey goo. Goodbye, world."
But grey goo is somewhat active in its obliteration; this looks like it's setting a passive behavior only that reacts to outside forces (and no power source to amplify its response). In that case, fairly harmless on its own.
However, let's spin up a few decades... someone with malicious intent gets their hands on a reprogram tool and down come the skyscrapers using these materials in their earthquake shock absorption (just for an extreme example). Like any science, we must be cautious.
That sounds closer to a member of Parliament...
On a different note, having a material that can be hacked physically or programmatically sounds mildly fun.
(though only from a safe distance).
I also wonder if it could be used as valves for fluids again for shock absorption on an easily scalable fashion that doesn't require individual pistons etc...
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