New York Times looks at abuse of nanotechnology

from the worth-reading dept.
In the Sept 25, 2001 New York Times, Gina Kolata has an article entitled "When Science Inadvertently Aids an Enemy" in which she looks at both encryption and nanotechnology. Foresight Director Glenn Reynolds and Advisor Ralph Merkle are quoted. Also: "It is a technology whose consequences could be so terrifying that one scientist, Dr. K. Eric Drexler, who saw what it could do, at first thought that he should never tell anyone what he was imagining, for fear that those dreadful abuses might come to pass…With the Asilomar discussions as a model, a group of scientists and others who worried about nanotechnology formed a nonprofit institute, the Foresight Institute based in Los Altos, Calif. Its goal is to prepare society for the transforming powers of new technologies, and, in particular, of nanotechnology…The institute's chairman, Dr. Drexler, originally thought that the best thing to do would be never to disclose nanotechnology's darker possibilities for fear it might give terrorists ideas. But he soon realized that if he could think of these abuses, others could too. So he decided to try to help society prepare for the good uses of the technology and to protect itself against its evil use. Dr. Drexler, Dr. Merkle and others at the Foresight Institute argue that openness is critical toward developing nanotechnology safely." Thanks, Gina.

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