Who do you think said this?
The challenge of achieving the goals and managing the risks of nanotechnology requires more than just brilliant molecular engineering. In addition to scientific and technical ingenuity, other disciplines and talents will be vitally important. Chemists, political scientists, physicists, lawyers, engineers, economists, sociologists, medical doctors, ecologists, and ethicists will need to work together to ask and answer the right questions.
No single approach will solve all problems or address all needs. There are numerous severe risks—including several different kinds of risk—which cannot all be prevented with the same approach. Simple solutions won’t work.
The only answer is a collective answer, and that will demand an unprecedented collaboration—a network of leaders in business, government, academia, and NGOs. It will require participation from people of many nations, cultures, languages, and belief systems.
That's from a speech I gave at the 2004 International Congress of Nanotechnology.
Now compare the above to another speech, which I had not read before I gave mine...
Scientists and engineers on the front lines of research, development and commercialization—along with business leaders and public officials—must play a central role in addressing the societal and ethical issues. But we need a holistic approach that also embraces ethicists, philosophers, theologians, historians, consumer advocates, and others in a public dialogue.
We must work closely with educators and the media to ensure all Americans have the knowledge they need—accurate, complete and balanced—to make reasoned judgments on these issues. And this dialogue must extend across the Atlantic and across the Pacific to ensure that nanotechnology advances quickly and responsibly. Technology knows no borders.
That's U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce Philip J. Bond in a speech at the 2003 World Nano-Economic Congress in Washington, DC.
Clearly, Mr. Bond and CRN are thinking in the same direction. Here is something he said in his keynote address at the December 2003 NSET Workshop on Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology...
To keep technology moving forward, we must prevent fear from taking hold among the public. So we can’t afford to wait to deal with these things. We need to wrestle with them. The first thing we need to do is to sort legitimate concerns from the imaginary ones, those that are based on science from those based in science fiction.
Aha! So we must sort science fact from science fiction.
We couldn't agree more. That's why CRN has published briefing papers explaining the truth about "gray goo" and "nanobots." We're committed to researching and educating people about the real risks and benefits of nanotechnology.
One of the basics of effective policy formulation is clear definition of terms. Broad, vague, and misleading definitions have a seriously negative effect on the ability of the public and of policy makers to understand what nanotechnology is and what should be done about it.
When big business, big investment advisors, and big environmental groups make announcements about studies needed to understand nanotech risks and they fail to address the disruptive and transformative implications pointed out by CRN and others, we are all at risk of being unprepared.
We'll wrap up this series tomorrow.