There has been a heated debate around nanotechnology for twenty years. The reason is simple: scientists still do not know how to control their development and protect humanity from the danger of destruction.
Gray goo is a hypothetical scenario of the apocalypse, in which the world will be destroyed by nanorobots capable of self-reproduction, which for some reason have entered the biosphere and got out of control. In the opinion of scientists and ordinary people who are afraid of this phenomenon, such nanorobots will begin to multiply endlessly, using everything that they can reach as a material for creating their copies, i.e. actually devouring all life around.
Self-replicating machines were first described by the mathematician John von Neumann and are therefore sometimes called von Neumann machines. And the term "gray goo" was first used in 1986 by the pioneer of nanotechnology Eric Drexler in his book "Creation Machines".
The complexity of the situation lies in the fact that this hypothetical "Gray Goo" is extremely difficult to destroy, because just one surviving replicator is enough to gradually, increasing exponentially, the number of nanorobots making up the "Gray Slime" to grow to the scale of the entire planet. If such a robot enters the World Ocean, then it is not at all clear how to catch and destroy it.
While "Gray Goo" remains only a theoretical threat, much less likely than many others, however, with the further development of technology and the increase in the number of production sites for nanorobots, the likelihood of their leaks will increase. At present, scientists are very carefully and not actively, but nevertheless, they are beginning to discuss complexes of measures aimed at limiting the reproduction of replicators left without control.
However, despite the devastating articles and calls to organize control in this area, it should be noted that the replicants themselves have not yet been created. A report from the Royal Society of London, published on July 29, 2004, argues that the possibility of creating self-replicating machines is so far in the future that it should not attract the attention of regulators of science and technology.