The future of nanotechnology and the scope of future nanotechnological applications is almost impossible to predict. Some control over self-assembly processes is possible but manipulation of atoms at the molecular scale is still far from being a reality. Champions of nanotechnology see a future where nanosurgeons perform operations at incredibly precise levels and where nanobots are sent up into the ozone layer to repair it but other nanosceptics urge caution and believe that nanotechnology could increase the divide between rich and poor as well as in extreme cases, cause harm.
The controversy over molecular assembly processes is largely responsible for the apprehension over nanoscience and nanoparticles. Speculation concerning future nanomachines which consume the world leaving only a pile of grey goo have received much media attention as have the potential dangers of nanoparticles being introduced into the body either via inhalation or by ingesting contaminated food or water. However, as yet there is no evidence that either of these issues is of concern and with the scope of new nanotechnologies possible, currently the benefits certainly seem to outweigh the known risks.