Governing Future Technologies

Volume 27 of the series Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook pp 109-127


Digital Matters: Video Games and the Cultural Transcoding of Nanotechnology

  • Colin MilburnAffiliated withDepartment of English, University of California at Davis Email author 

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Virtually everywhere in contemporary discussions about the onrushing era of advanced nanotechnology, visionary scientists and technological forecasters rehearse the claim that reality as such will be rendered digital by this new technoscience. As nanotech theorist John Robert Marlow writes: “The coming Age of Nanotechnology might best be described as the Age of Digital Matter, for it will be a time in which it becomes possible to manipulate the physical world in much the same way that a computer now manipulates the digital ones and zeroes on its hard drive” (Marlow 2004). Masami Hagiya, a professor of molecular programming at the University of Tokyo, suggests that new nanotech methods are leading us into a world where “designing molecules and molecular systems is like programming electronic computers” (Hagiya 2004: 126).