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« Blog Host's Technical Issues | Main | Richard Smalley: 1943-2005 »

October 28, 2005

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Jessica

I was wondering if wether or not the concept of widespread Nanotechnology is a true, or speculative problem. Where does it exactly come from, and what on earth can be the solution to prevent harm? How can we personally stop any adverse affects from harming humanity, or how can we personally protect ourselves. what exactly can one person do. Writing a congress member, or staying away from certain products, and manufacturing companies, seems infeasible.

Paul UK

Re: Jessica comments

There's a certain amount of residual fear about Nanotechnology currently, mainly because its lexicon is full of polysyllabic technical terms and therefore difficult to understand and is also relatively new in terms of public debate, so there is a low level of general comprehension and a high level of myth associated with it.

At this stage, widespread nanotechnology production is a speculative concept, rather than an actuality: considerable investment is required in both the environment to produce nanotech (labs, equipment, etc) and also the investment in time to be competent in producing nanotech successfully.

One consideration in this story is that the main protagonists are scientists who require ongoing funding grants to continue their work - people listen much more closely to those who stimulate fear, rather than those who suggest we have nothing to worry about, resulting in enhanced funding opportunities for those scientists who can 'protect' society.

In answer to your queries:

what on earth can be the solution to prevent harm?
By the time this technology becomes truly widespread - and we are talking decades here, governments will have a far better idea (and therefore control via legislation) over the implications involved in supply and monitoring of services, materials, finance and so on.

How can we personally stop any adverse affects from harming humanity, or how can we personally protect ourselves.

Mainly through education and subsequent avoidance of risks. A good entry level overview can be found here:

http://www.crnano.org/safe.htm

what exactly can one person do. Writing a congress member, or staying away from certain products, and manufacturing companies, seems infeasible.

You're right. The best way to do anything is to become involved, educate yourself to raise awareness and communicate with others for better understanding. Once this process is started, further Q & A become easier to access and resolve. Don't believe everything thats written in the press, as its not always researched properly and fails to provide a fully comprehensive view.

I hope this helps.

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