Promising the World, or Costing the Earth?
1st May, 2003
Nanotechnology has the power to affect every aspect of life on the planet. Here, the Ecologist presents the many claims of its promoters and outlines some of the major developments taking place now or in the near future. In response, some of it’s leading critics analyse the risks that nanotechnology poses in their various fields of expertise.
‘The importance of nanotechnology to the future of mankind cannot be overstated. Nanotech’s promise is clean industries, cures for disease, nearly unlimited energy supplies, a continuance of Moore’s Law and perhaps the end of hunger.’
-Mark Modzelewski, Executive Director of Nanobusiness Alliance.
‘Nanotech accelerates a technofix trend that looks to technology as the solution to the world’s most pressing problems, overriding issues of safety, security and equity. Potential productivity gains through genetic engineering are touted as the answer to hunger, though distribution and access rather than production is the problem. ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) are being promoted as the means to bridge the information divide, when resources and opportunities to use that information are absent.
Now, nanotechnologies will similarly offer governments even broader opportunities to avoid enacting necessary social, political and economic change. Nanotech threatens even further to divert funds, knowledge and political will away from the research necessary...
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