Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology, Cognitive Science

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What Does Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology, Cognitive Science Mean?

Nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science (NBIC) are a set of technologies sometimes referred to as “converging technologies for improving human performance.”


They are considered to be interrelated fields of study that often overlap and impact each other.

Techopedia Explains Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology, Cognitive Science

Various research groups look at the implications of developing these technologies in tandem. For example, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Commerce have looked at combining these four fields in order to improve the application of technology to human cognition, human health, and even community and social applications.

Each type of technology involved in NBIC plays a role in the bigger picture:

  • Nanotechnology is important because organic structures develop from the nanoscale.
  • Biotechnology involves the application of advanced technology to biological organisms.
  • Information technology represents a specific sector of these types of applications.
  • Cognitive science applies in various ways to IT-related research and the pursuit of items such as technologies that map the brain.

Proponents of this kind of development argue that using converging technologies, or NBIC principles, can enable the human populations of the future to be stronger, healthier and more capable overall. These ideas often relate to the idea of “singularity” which posits the emergence of artificial intelligence, and a point where technologies approach the human mind in terms of simulation, collaboration or other outcomes.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.