Article in Winston-Salem Journal provides a few choice bits

A lengthy article in the Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal ("Small Miracles: Micromachines are being developed that may offer mankind great benefits – or threaten its very existence", by Kevin Begos, 14 April 2002) rehashes much of the mass media shorthand on nanotech weíve seen so often before: "Many researchers, government officials and venture capitalists are saying that over the next few decades, the effect of such inventions on society may dwarf what has happened in the computer or telecommunications revolutions. Skeptics see a dark side to such a future. Humans may well be able to make such products, they say — but may not be able to control them after they're unleashed on the world." We get warmed-over visions of advanced nanotech applications, Bill Joyís worries over human obsolescence, government funding, venture capitalists ñ the usual stew.

Read more for some of the more interesting bits. Some interesting bits:

The article contains extensive and relatively thoughtful quotes from two academics at North Carolina State University: Gerald Iafrate, a professor of engineering, and Denis Gray, a professor of psychology who's involved because even nanotechnology's strongest supporters agree that there are moral and ethical issues to consider. Both are part of a review panel that plans to report to the National Academies of Science this summer on progress and problems in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (see Nanodot post from 30 October 2001).

Neither NCSU professor favors Bill Joyís recommendation for ìrelinquishingî certain types of scientific research: "We don't know what's going to come out of the pipeline, but if you start getting people thinking about (things) now, debating them, and looking at what the implications might be, your chances of not being surprised and not having some bad outcomes are better," Gray said. Iafrate agreed that "the most important things to concern yourself with are ethical issues," but said that doesn't mean that stopping research makes sense. "You know, that's not a practical way to approach investment in science and technology, because one's conjecture about what may happen in 20 or 30 years is never right," he said.

The article also contains a number of quotes from Nobel laureate Richard Smalley of Rice University:

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