As noted yesterday, Chris and I were asked an interesting question during a recent online interview:
If you had the collective attention of every policy maker and stakeholder, what would you tell them about advanced nanotechnologies?
We thought a lot about this, and tried to give a fairly simple and straighforward answer -- although that doesn't mean our advice would be easy to follow!
Here's what we said:
Both the beneficial potential and the grave dangers of molecular manufacturing are poorly understood and have been seriously underestimated. The changes to society will be abrupt, transformative, and probably disruptive. It is important that we learn as soon as possible how quickly key technological breakthroughs could occur, because that is what will trigger this sudden change.
Today the pace of technical advance is far ahead of studying and preparing for the societal and environmental impacts of the technology. Unless this balance is corrected, we will enter the future unable to effectively and responsibly manage the tremendous power being unleashed by nanotechnology. We may have only one chance to get it right.