Parallel Minds, 165–168


Ariadne’s Thread


It is undeniable that, from the moment we started using technology—that is, probably long before we became human—we entered into a labyrinth whose complexity becomes greater and greater the deeper we reach. I like to imagine the path we have walked together in these pages as a passage through some corridor within this labyrinth: not a linear tale of progress, but a winding road full of surprises, blind alleys, mistakes, and unexpected discoveries. After all, no science, let alone a young and applied science such as materials science or nanotechnology, has a simple story to tell; often, those who decide to write about science are forced to choose what to include and what to exclude, finding themselves spinning a yarn even when there was not one there before.

The labyrinth is populated by monsters: hybrid creatures that we produced more or less consciously in our wonderful and unexpected encounters with matter. Some of these monsters, like those I have introduced within these pages, offer us the opportunity to forge new and fruitful alliances with the matter around us, positively modifying our environment and our culture. Others, far more threatening, jeopardise the possibility of our building a future for our species.…