I was asked by the makers of a new public television special on nanotechnology -- "The Power of Small" -- to preview it and give them a reaction.
- PRIVACY: Watching You Watching Me
Safer societies or no more secrets?
- HEALTH: Forever Young
Longer lives? But who decides?
- ENVIRONMENT: Clean, Green, and Unseen
Cleaner world or potential pollution?
"Nanotechnology: The Power of Small" is coming to public television stations nationwide (U.S.) in April 2008. I previewed all three parts a few days ago and was quite impressed.
Imagine yourself sitting in an audience at a university symposium and watching a large and diverse panel of experts from science, business, and activist groups debate the merits of advanced nanotechnology. That's exactly the experience you'll have in viewing this program.
Unlike many so-called science specials on TV these days, "The Power of Small" takes its subject seriously and treats its audience as intelligent, discriminating adults. Thankfully, there are no flashy graphics, no distracting camera tricks or special effects; just smart, thoughtful people led by a capable moderator discussing provocative issues.
My only real complaint is that the main topics chosen -- privacy, health, and the environment -- while important in their own right, did not include issues around the potential militarization of nanotechnology and consequent geopolitical impacts. Another subject brought up only fleetingly, but worthy of much broader discussion, is the possibility of severe economic disruption from an abrupt revolution in manufacturing. Perhaps these will be considered in future editions of the program if this first series is successful.
Look for the show on public TV next month. Or, if you're so inclined, you can watch it now in small (5 to 15 minute) segments online. If you do see it, let us know what you think.