AAAS examines impacts of nanotechnology

from the it's-about-time dept.
Although the editors of Science have generally taken a dim view of the prospects for advanced nanotechnology, somebody at American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is taking the potential ethical and socioeconomic impacts seriously. The debate over genetics, nanotech and robotics (GNR) technologies sparked by Bill Joy's notorious article in Wired last year formed a major section in the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Yearbook 2001, which is a retrospective look back at 2000.

In addition to the full text of Joyís article from Wired ("Why the Future Doesnít Need Us," April 2000), a special section of the Yearbook on "Technologyís Impact on Society" includes responses by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid from The Industry Standard ("A Response to Bill Joy and the Doom-and-Gloom Technofuturists," 13 April 2000); a piece by Michael Dertouzos of MIT that appeared in Technology Review magazine ("Not by Reason Alone," September/October 2000); and an paper by Michael M. Crow and Daniel Sarewitz of Columbia University on "Nanotechnology and Societal Transformation" that was presented at the National Science and Technology Council Workshop on Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology held in September 2000.

The full AAAS Yearbook, as well as these individual items, are available online as Adobe Acrobat PDF files. There are also some interesting sections on the genetic modification of foods, and the impacts of information technologies.

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