Nanotechnology: risk, ethics and law by Geoffrey Hunt, Michael Mehta

By Geoffrey Hunt, Michael Mehta

Nanotechnology - expertise on the molecular point - is held out by means of many because the Holy Grail for making a trillion greenback economic system and fixing difficulties from curing melanoma to reprocessing waste into items and development superfast desktops. but, as with GMOs, many view nanotech as a excessive hazard genie in a bottle that after uncorked has the aptitude to reason unpredictable, maybe irreversible, environmental and public healthiness failures. With the race to deliver items to marketplace, there's urgent have to take inventory of the placement and to have an entire public debate approximately this new technological frontier. together with contributions via popular figures equivalent to Roland Clift, ok. Eric Drexler and Arpad Pusztai, this is often the 1st international evaluate of the country of nanotech and society in Europe, the us, Japan and Canada, studying the ethics, the environmental and public future health hazards, and the governance and rules of this so much promising, and in all likelihood most deadly, of all applied sciences.

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C. and Bainbridge, W. S. , Smith, G. Simmons, M. (eds), Chapman & Hall/CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL Wolbring, G. (2002) ‘Science and technology and the triple D (Disease, Disability, Defect)’ in Roco, M. C. and Bainbridge, W. S. (eds) Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science, Arlington, VA, National Science Foundation, pp232–243 3 Nanotechnology: From Feynman to Funding K. Eric Drexler The revolutionary Feynman vision of a powerful and general nanotechnology – based on nanomachines that build with atom-by-atom control – promises great opportunities and, if abused, great dangers.

The actual situation has been quite different. No NNI-sponsored meeting has yet included a talk on implementing the Feynman vision, and the most prominent scientist advising the NNI has (sometimes) declared the Feynman thesis to be false (Smalley, 2001). Understanding this perverse situation requires a brief review of history, ideas and fears. 28 Nanotechnology Vision obscured The problem started with the word. In labelling the Feynman vision ‘nanotechnology’ (Drexler, 1986), the author chose a word with roots that let it fit any nanoscale technology, no matter how old or mundane.

One would expect that the NNI, funded through appeals to the Feynman vision, would focus on research supporting this strategic goal. The goal of atom-by-atom control would motivate studies of nanomachines able to guide molecular assembly. Leading scientists advising the NNI would examine assemblers and competing approaches to their design and implementation, generating road maps and milestones. In the course of a broad marshalling of resources, at least one NNI-sponsored meeting would have invited at least one talk on prospects for implementing the Feynman vision.

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