BBC Airs Scaremongering Nanotech Documentary

Dr_Barnowl writes "The BBC saw fit to fuel the fires of fear over nanotech in last nights Horizon . While the web content is quite moderate, the prevailing image of nanotech the program presented was a swarm of CGI grey goo flying like a whirling dervish over a blasted desert (an image straight out of Michael Crichton's Prey , interspersed with time-lapse shots of reproducing cells and decaying animals as the commentary spoke of 'our day of reckoning'."

Dr_Barnowl continues

While the more positive aspects of nanotech were mentioned, the emphasis was most heavily placed on the negative aspects, with grey goo leading the way and little snippets like targeted eugenic weapons and espionage devices thrown in for fun. The negative imagery was repeated though much of the programme and one suspects that the whole thing was put in to "sex up" and pad out an otherwise very dry tale about the fake science antics of Hendrick Schön.

It's a shame that such a popular and widely viewed science program has been so one-sided about nanotechnology. With self-replicating systems being made out to be the only path forward in what I suspect was a carefully cut interview with Ray Kurzweil, grey goo was portrayed as virtually inevitable. It would seem that nanotech could rapidly aquire the same status as GMO in the public eye of this country (UK), and very much fuelled by the same green-tinted-spectacles lobby. The programme even aired the infamous Prince Charles/Grey Goo Daily Mail headline I commented on last April. The one that used a blown-up scanning electron micrograph of an ant to make its point. Perhaps we could do with a better library of positive nanotech images for journalistic consumption?

A full transcript is available.

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