Foresight Guidelines Version 4.0: Self Assessment Scorecards for Safer Nanotechnology Development
Version 4 of the Guidelines, by Neil Jacobstein and Glenn Harlan Reynolds, includes an active format of a set of self-assessment scorecards for nanotechnology professionals, industry organizations, and regulatory agencies. Industry organizations can now assess and score their own degree of compliance with the Guidelines. This moves the dialog from loose recommendations to self assessment of compliance, a procedure widely adopted in industrial quality programs.
The new version of the Guidelines also includes consideration of near term nanomaterials, as well as long term and more advanced forms of molecular nanotechnology and manufacturing. It distinguishes between the eventual development of specialized and non-self-replicating molecular manufacturing machine tools, and self replicating assemblers. It includes a guideline that endorses the position taken by Drexler and Phoenix that molecular manufacturing can be accomplished without self replication or general purpose assemblers, utilizing machine tools and Merkle's schema for convergent assembly. Since development of self-replicating assembler technology is still probable, it remains an important and prudent area for consideration. There are also several new and reworded guidelines.
This session will present the new self assessment scorecards, discuss directions for future revisions of the Guidelines, and solicit suggestions for continuous improvement.