11 technologies that are going to kill us all

7. Nanobots

Wouldn't it be awful if we made self-replicating nanobots to clean up oil spills and we mucked up their programming, accidentally causing them to devour all carbon-based life forms instead of just oil? Say hello to grey goo, the idea that self-replicating microscopic organisms could end up destroying us all. The theory scared the willies out of everyone in the 1980s and 1990s, but these days the focus is less on doomsday scenarios and more on everyday risks: there are concerns that some nanoparticles could prove to be dangerous to humans, so for example cadmium selenide "quantum dots", which may help detect diseases, might also cause cadmium poisoning.

8. Artificial Intelligence

We've all seen the Terminator movies, so we know how this works: one day artificial intelligence will be smarter than humans, and when that happens the AI will quickly realise that the best way to protect the planet is to get rid of the meatbags. According to futurist Ray Kurzweil, the singularity - the moment machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence - is due around 2045. If he's right then we'll probably be toast by 2050.

9. Cyber-attacks

Malware took on a terrifying new dimension with the arrival of Stuxnet, a worm designed to target specific machines in Iranian nuclear facilities. Stuxnet targeted SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, and SCADA systems are used for all kinds of everyday things such as controlling electricity substations, monitoring oil and gas pipelines, monitoring water supplies, controlling traffic lights and so on - and that means Stuxnet's successors could well target our SCADA systems with potentially lethal consequences. So far SCADA cyberattacks remain the stuff of Bruce Willis movies, but that doesn't mean there isn't a genuine risk - especially when many systems aren't completely isolated from the wider internet.

10. Big Dog

Boston Dynamics' legendary Big Dog has been given a robot arm. Officially the arm is to help soldiers pick up and carry heavy things, so it's strange to see the company's promotional video showing Big Dog chucking breeze blocks while dancing and shouting "destroy all humans!" Okay, not that last bit - but we dare you to watch the video without spending the next week dreaming of Big Dog chasing you through a forest.

11. Google Glass

Bong! Skid! Aaaagh! If its driverless cars don't get us, Google's head-mounted goggles surely will. Once those babies start running ads, unscrupulous marketers will try every trick in the book to get your attention. That's bad enough if you're trying to concentrate on reading or other similarly cerebral activities, but imagine the carnage if you're wielding a chainsaw, off-roading on a bike or performing major surgery.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.