EU NanoRoadMap to cover MNT, nanofactories

From Cordis News: “The objective of the NanoRoadMap (NRM) project, funded under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) is to carry out a long term (ten year) forecasting exercise to provide coherent scenarios and technology roadmaps for nanotechnology applications in three important industrial fields: materials; health and medical services; and energy…

“But these enormous benefits are coupled with potential dangers: molecular nanotechnology will allow the rapid prototyping and inexpensive manufacture of a wide variety of powerful products with the potential to disrupt many aspects of society and politics. In the military field, minute but powerful weapons and surveillance devices are a possibility, as is environmental damage provoked by the extensive use of inexpensive products.

“The control of these technologies could lead to abusive market restrictions, or create a demand for a black market almost impossible to stop as, due to the reduced size, small nanofactories could easily be smuggled, and potentially dangerous. This means that, in order to gain public favour, in addition to technological aspects, attention must be paid to any societal implications deriving from the surge of nanotechnology.”

If this EU project does actually take a serious look at these issues, this will be a first for a government-funded project, to my knowledge. —Christine

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