Why the Rush to Implement Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology which uses tiny, man-made particles is already being used heavily, especially in the electronics industry, but it would seem that many branches of industry, including medicine, are starting to deploy nanotechnologies. There’s lots of information available on the Internet or in popular science magazines for those who wish to pursue the subject. I merely wish to raise the point that we’ve worked our collective selves into a mental state akin to an optimistic fatalism. If something is possible and bears the promise of some good results, we assume it will be done, it must be done. We sometimes consider the possible downside risks but mostly in a cursory manner. This remains true even as we deal with the fallout from the deployment of previous technologies. Those problems include a variety of problems: technological, political, social, and economic.

Now we’re developing nanotechnology in which molecules and atoms are manipulated into forms they wouldn’t be likely to take on in nature. This can be very good but there’s also a likelihood that some anticipated and unanticipated dangers will be realized. The dangers might be small, but what is the reason to rush in implementing this technology that we risk the possibility of serious damage to the environment or to human health?

Some scientists are beginning to realize there might be problems. These two stories, Unknown risks Safety of nanotechnology products is no small concern and Nanoparticles In Sewage Could Escape Into Bodies Of Water, give some background on some possible problems.

Why the rush to implement technologies when we’re just starting to learn the problems which we need to avoid or at least mitigate?

Explore posts in the same categories: environmental issues, Moral issues, technology

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