Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!
We no longer build such enduring structures. Everything we build has a limited life cycle and we can only extend that life cycle through intense - and often expensive- maintenance programs. But what if we embraced the 20, 24, 30, 50 or 60 year life cycle of a facility as inevitable and planned, designed, constructed, operated and maintained facilities and infrastructure with a known "end of useful life cycle" built into the DNA of the facility / infrastructure?
Granted, permanency is valued in certain contexts, but we might be very well served by buildings and structures that can be easily dissolved and disposed of in the future. Imagine being able to dissolve steel, concrete and other building materials by sending a message through the building.
The foregoing thoughts have caused me to follow nanotechnology closely. Below I'm quoting from and linking to another nanotechnology article that hints at the future of the building industry. Image directing molecules to re-align on a mass scale in the future, dissolving key components of a building on command.
Precisely arranging these nanoparticles is critical to tailoring the macroscopic properties during nanoparticle assembly. While chemical DNA can be used to induce self-assembly of nanoparticles with a high degree of precision, it only works well for organized arrays that are limited in size – it is impractical for large-scale fabrication. Dr. Xu’s approach is to use block copolymers – long sequences or blocks of one type of monomer molecule bound to blocks of another type of monomer molecule. Like soldiers lining up in formation, the block copolymers assemble at densities of 10 trillion bits per square inch. Dr. Xu's technique promises to revolutionize the data storage industry, eventually leading to the contents of hundreds of DVDs -- or its equivalent -- fitting into a space the size of a thumbnail.
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