As nanotechnology develops, one important step is the professionalization of the people who work on nanotechnology. A useful step towards professionalization is the development of a code of ethics for the profession.
That's how University of South Carolina student Ashley Shew introduces her "Proposal for a Code of Ethics for Nanotechnology: For Your Perusal & Provocation." I'm not a nanotechnologist, per se, and so my opinion on this should count for little. But it does look to me as if Ashley has made a good start.
Since nanotechnology brings together professionals from diverse fields, developing a code of ethics for nanotechnology is not straightforward. Codes of ethics for engineers tend to stress public safety, while codes of ethics for scientists tend to stress honesty. The proposed code of ethics is the result of my review of the literature on existing codes of ethics, and interviews with professionals. I have developed this proposal in the hope that it will provoke discussion. Values should be discussed, argued, considered. Practitioners in the field of nanotechnology need to be involved in creating their code.
Ashley's proposal is contained in the second issue of News From The Bottom, and it's only one of many interesting articles.
The journal, which solicits papers on nanotechnology from students at all levels, is now accepting submissions for the third issue:
Articles, reviews, and papers of any length will be considered. Your papers are welcomed throughout the summer, with a deadline of August 15th to be considered for the Fall 2005 Issue.
Possible topics for submissions include (but are not limited to) historical aspects, areas of concern, and ethical questions raised by nanotechnology (and its convergence with other technologies). We would particularly encourage papers on ethical concerns and implications for this issue.
We look forward to reading and learning more in News From The Bottom.