Opposition to transgenic plants: lessons for nanotech

from the don't-ignore-scared-folks dept.
BryanBruns writes "The Washington Post has a good story on biotechnology for trees. We talk about how long it may be until nanotech appears, but here is an industry investing in advances that won't pay off for decades. As with other transgenic plants, there is some fierce opposition, scaring off some scientists and companies, and some direct action to destroy test plots.

All this again raises the question of how to improve the quality of public discussion about new technologies. In terms of public relations strategy, focusing on the benefits from nanomedicine and taking safety very seriously may be the best way to go. However, there ought to be ways to improve the whole process of considering new technologies. Science courts don't seem to have taken off, and there is a need for policy recommendations, not just agreement on facts. Maybe deliberative democracy approaches such as citizen's juries are worth trying, for nano and other technologies."

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