Nanoethics conference: Day 1

Very quick summary from the first full day of the University of South Carolina nanoethics conference: many calls for greater and earlier ("upstream") participation by social scientists and ethicists in nanotechnology R&D decisions, repeated evidence of continued confusion between molecular manufacturing and gray goo, much concern about the possibility of human enhancement, a few admissions that ethicists may have a conflict of interest in taking funds from agencies tasked with developing the technology they are questioning. Repeated assertions that the public does not trust scientists — in Europe. Audience mostly academic/gov't social scientists/ethicists with very strong European presence, almost no Asian presence, very few nanoscientists/nanotechnologists. Fun discussions in the hallways; as is so often the case (including at meetings I put together), many of the best parts of the conference take place informally. Some of the most interesting talks will be on Days 2 and 3.–CP

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