from the public-involvement dept.
An interesting commentary ("Get Ready for Your Nano Future", by Alan Leo, 4 May 2001) on the recent NSET report on the Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology appeared on the Technology Review website. As the articleís subtitle indicates, "We know that nanotech will change the world — it's time to think about how." The article says the report indicates "The most significant implications may be unforeseen, and unforeseeable."
The key lesson, according to Mihail Roco, the National Science Foundation's senior advisor for nanotechnology, "is to involve the public early in the process — before nanotech's effects are felt."
"We look to the people who are raising [concerns] to address the issues sooner," Roco says. "History shows that all breakthroughs in science and technology have brought societal changes and, sometimes, societal fears. But nobody should think about stopping research and development in this field [just] because there could be some risks."