Deep in an abandoned underground lab in Russia, a self-improving cybernetic intelligence has decided that he wants to take control of as many humans as possible using nanobots that he created within the lab. His goal is to simply spread the bots all around the atmosphere in a transparent fog. Since they appear semi-transparent, very few people are going to raise suspicion towards these bots, as they don't travel in large, visible masses. The bots then get into the water supply and all over the air, infecting animals and eventually humans. Once they reach the brain, they send out a few electromagnetic signals to not only attract any other bots in the air, but also change the human's behavior a bit to make it easier for more nanobots to enter the system, or spread it to others.

When the time eventually comes, those that have a significant nanobot build-up will have their entire nervous system under the control of the main intelligence.

A few details on the nanobots.

  • They are transparent to the naked eye in large masses, though are a bit visible like glass.
  • -They power themselves with carbohydrates or sugars found all over the environment.
  • They cannot self replicate
  • Each one is 1000 nanometers in length
  • It takes about 3 grams of bots to take control of an entire person, and since not all humans need to be controlled, then there would need to be at least 10,000 tons to transport across the planet.

My two questions are simply as follows:

-Is the idea of firing multiples rockets and blowing it all over the atmosphere an effective method to spreading the nanobots all around the globe without the world reacting in time to figure out whats going on? or is it better to just infect local people and then ship the bots all over the world? Or are there any other better, quicker, and smarter methods?

-Since this isn't a self-replicating virus, how long would it take for the intelligence to infect a significant amount of people with the shipping method?

  • $\begingroup$ What is "a bottlecaps concentration of bots"? Carbohydrates or Sugars are not that much available in nature, unless you suggest that your nanobots will feed off algae and plants. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Aug 14, 2018 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ 10,000lbs of bots at 3g per person lets you infect ~1.5M people worldwide, a paltry 0.02% of the world population. Even with machine-coordinated efforts, I don't really see how this small a group could "take control". What do you consider a "significant amount of people" to infect? $\endgroup$ Aug 14, 2018 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ A rocket being fired into the atmosphere (from Russia no less!) would cause mass panic, potentially starting WWIII. This could be an effective way to destroy most of the world's governments and militaries, making world domination much easier, but would hardly go unnoticed. $\endgroup$
    – Starpilot
    Aug 14, 2018 at 20:29
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    $\begingroup$ 10,000 tons is a HUGE rocket. For comparison, R-36 "Satan" missile has "throw weight" of 8,800 kg, or less than 0.1% of it. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Aug 14, 2018 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ Its a horrible dispersal method, only a very tiny fraction of your bots will land on humans, meaning you need several orders of magnitude more bots. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 14, 2018 at 22:30

4 Answers 4


Easy answer. Medicine.

Nanobots could do anything from cure cancer to trim excess fat cells to repairing damaged nerves and injuries.

If the nanobots help humans, they'll inject them and line up to do it. Not only will they line up, they'll pay you for them and ship them around the world for you.

Once enough have injected them, flick the mind control switch

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Okay, I'll probably get banned for even suggesting the idea, but vaccines. Oooh man, they'd never see it coming! And the irony! $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Aug 15, 2018 at 3:00
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    $\begingroup$ The antivaxxers already think everyone else is mind controlled so nobody should notice anything $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Aug 15, 2018 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Thorne - It's quite a, let's just say "bold", statement to make derogatory assumptions about an entire group of people based on the worst examples you can find. Not that that practice is uncommon, but still, it leads to major fallacies. $\endgroup$
    – Battle
    Aug 15, 2018 at 6:47
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    $\begingroup$ An entire group of people that ignore accepted science and basic math in favor of facebook posts, snake oil salesmen and weird conspiracy theories $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Aug 15, 2018 at 23:35

Rocket launch will be detected, and its landing site investigated. Lack of explosive warhead will naturally suggest chemical or biological weapon, leading to detection of your bots.

I can come up with better ways to deliver and distribute the bots, but they would be useful for real-world WMD, and some evil person might read it here. I am sure OP is not evil :)


Make a drug

If it takes 3 grams to contaminate include it into some new drug.

Many points for this idea :

  • Drugs are not legal so not under surveillance like medecine, this is not even easy to go back to the creator/distributor
  • You are using nano-robots that can control humans, but as it is a drug start with a "drug effect", more concentration, less stress, less fatigue. If you can control human then use it to make them want it
  • Developpement and triggering : yes you don't have to make them controlled as fast as they are infected, you can start the contamination and once you have enough contaminated people, start the control.
  • Drugs are not specifics to a class. Politics, businessmans, workers, engineer, homeless... Everyone can be reached, rich or poor.

I think with a 6 month distribution you can easily take control of a true cartel to deal the nanobots, if you are lucky you can even take advantage on people that may want to take the "business" down.


Something much more like a weather balloon would be much more inconspicuous for your evil computer to launch. These can easy reach to the heights of the upper troposphere, where it would be most beneficial to release the nanobots, as they'll be able then to drift into all the fast-moving air currents at that layer of the atmosphere and will then quickly be distributed across the entire world.


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