In a TechNewsWorld column Sonia Arrison, director of Technology Studies at Pacific Research Institute, calls for strong self-regulation in nanotech:
“The scientific community is well aware of the potential dangers with nano-scale particles. The public will be glad to know that the discussion over proper methods is thriving and developing in tandem with the technology. In addition, concerned groups such as the Foresight Institute in California have released guidelines for self-regulation modeled on the extensive experience in biotechnology where there has been great technical progress and little danger to public safety.
“Nanotechnology holds much promise for advances in a number of areas such as material science and medicine, but the nascent industry faces threats from those who believe government should solve problems before they occur. Nanotech scientists must be free to develop their products, as well as the rules that govern their development, in order to reap the rewards and protect society from potential pitfalls. The best approach is the light regulation that already exists, combined with a strong scientific culture of self-regulation.”
Earlier in the piece she reminds us of Glenn Reynolds’ point that over-regulation can sometimes lead, ironically, to under-regulation. —Christine