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Archive for the 'Ethics' Category

Maximizing benefits, minimizing downsides of nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 11th, 2008

Longtime Nanodot readers and Foresight members know that our goal here at Foresight is to maximize the benefits and minimize the downsides of nanotechnology. Our friends over at the Wilson Center’s Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies share that goal, as shown in their mission statement: The Project is dedicated to helping ensure that as nanotechnologies advance, [...]

World Economic Forum takes on nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 28th, 2008

Nanowerk brings news that the World Economic Forum is both rewarding nanotechnology pioneers and taking a look at potential risks of nanoparticles. Excerpts: Over the past few years, the Global Risk Network team has released an annual report. This years’ report “Global Risks 2008″ (pdf download, 1.6 MB) was published two weeks ago. In it, [...]

Steering nanotechnology to beneficial uses

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 25th, 2008

Sonia Arrison over at TechNewsWorld takes on the issues of genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and steering innovation toward responsible uses: “When we look at cells as machines, it makes them very straightforward in the future to design them for very unique utilities,” Venter told participants at DLD. Of course, Venter has often referred to the possibility [...]

Nanotechnology: a way of understanding ourselves

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 22nd, 2008

We’ve previously pointed out the usefulness of looking at future-oriented fiction as a way of stimulating thinking about nanotechnology. Now Annalee Newitz’s io9 site brings an interview of Kathleen Ann Goonan, who “was writing about nanotech before most people even know it existed.” An excerpt: I think that, for me, nanotech has been a metaphor [...]

Nanotechnology-based surveillance predicted

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 18th, 2008

For many years, Foresight has been pointing out that nanotechnology will be used for surveillance. Now Kevin Mitnick makes a long-term prediction on nanosurveillance. An excerpt: Warrantless Surveillance: The Worst is Yet to Come …Far from censuring the president, most of Congress seems completely unconcerned by the issue of warrantless surveillance. And telecom companies are [...]

Industry, NGOs call for nanotechnology environmental plan

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 16th, 2008

Regular Nanodot readers know that we at Foresight focus more on longer-term nanotechnology, especially atomically-precise manufacturing. Yet, we joined with other nonprofits and industry to call for a better plan to address near-term nanomaterial environmental, health, and safety issues. From today’s joint press release by Environmental Defense and Dupont: (Washington, DC – January 16, 2008) [...]

Human enhancement with or without nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 14th, 2008

The first issue of the journal Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology (free reg req’d) is devoted to the topic of Human Enhancement and includes essays by familiar names (de Grey, Freitas, Wolbring, Cameron) and a number of newer ones. In “Medical Nanorobotics: Breaking the Trance of Futility in Life Extension Research (A Reply to [...]

Debate on radical life extension

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 4th, 2008

One of the Foresight Challenges is “Improving Health and Longevity”, which we take to be a positive goal for nanotechnology and biotech. Not everyone sees it that way, as we find in a recent online debate over at Cato’s online forum called Cato Unbound: Each month, Cato Unbound will present an essay on a big-picture [...]

Foresight nanotechnology theme goes to law school

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 20th, 2007

After 20 years of delivering Foresight’s message, we see it popping up everywhere, most recently in law school: For the first time in history, we know something is coming that carries great potential and possible grave danger. The technology will revolutionize much of how we live in the world. The question becomes, how, as a [...]

Nanotechnology medicine: will it be affordable?

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 17th, 2007

Those of you who subscribe to Foresight’s free Weekly News Digest (sign up using the Join Email List box at upper right of our home page) have seen that practically every week there’s new positive results to report on nanotechnology for drug delivery, especially for cancer. A summary of where to read about these advances [...]

Nanotechnology for surveillance vs. privacy

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 13th, 2007

Nanowerk brings our attention to a story at Forbes.com looking at anticipated developments in sensing and monitoring: At their annual meeting this fall in Montreal, there was little of the traditional talk among the international privacy people about the nuts and bolts of data protection. Instead, there were urgent and distressed discussions about “uberveillance,” “ambient [...]

Lloyds of London takes on nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 12th, 2007

The reinsurance firm Swiss Re is rather farther along on nanotechnology, but Lloyd’s of London is starting to step up to the question of how to insure nanotech. They had a recent conference to launch their new report Nanotechnology: Recent Developments, Risks and Opportunities (PDF). As one would expect, it mainly focuses on nanoparticles, but [...]

Eight nanotechnology scenarios sketch possibilities

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 11th, 2007

CRN has been working on eight scenarios for advanced nanotechtechnology, and they are now available. You can get a quick feel for them by their titles: Scenario 1: Secret Military Development Scenario 2: Positive Expectations Scenario 3: Negative Drivers Scenario 4: Presidential Commission Scenario 5: … And Not a Drop to Drink Scenario 6: A [...]

Nanotechnology: Is decentralized control feasible?

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 4th, 2007

Jamais Cascio offers four nanotechnology policy scenarios over at CRN, looking at options resulting from two axes: centralized vs. decentralized, and precautionary vs. proactionary. His two decentralized scenarios describe some territory similar to that which Foresight is investigating as part of our Decentralized Physical Security project: The third scenario, combining Distributed rule-making and Proactionary technology [...]

Nanotechnology to reduce testing on animals?

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 19th, 2007

Most of us avoid thinking much about the testing of human products on animals to check for safety. It’s distressing and we wish there were another, better way. Nanotech should eventually make such testing entirely obsolete, and the early stages of this process have begun. You can hear the latest in London this May at [...]

Nanotechnology in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 16th, 2007

In their current issue, the folks who usually focus on nuclear war take a look ahead to nanotech war, via a book review by CRN’s Mike Treder of the book Military Nanotechnology: Potential Applications and Preventive Arms Control by Jürgen Altmann. Deeply researched and carefully worded, Military Nanotechnology is an overview of an emerging technology [...]

Russian nanotechnology "weapons": defensive or offensive?

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 14th, 2007

Although it is distressing to read the headline from ITAR-TASS “Russia to design nanotechnology weapons — commander“, when one reads the text, at first these “weapons” sound more like defensive protection than offensive weapons: Principally new weapons based on nanotechnology will be designed in Russia within 15 years for combating radiation, chemical and biological terrorism, [...]

Nanotechnology "Unconference" now open to general public

Posted by Christine Peterson on October 19th, 2007

Registration for Foresight’s Nov. 3-4 Vision Weekend focused on nanotechnology and other advanced technologies — traditionally restricted to Foresight Senior Associates — is being opened to the general public this year as an experiment. Space is limited and participants are advised to register very soon. To warm up for our Sat/Sun afternoon unconference, in the [...]

Vision Weekend Unconference now open to Nanodot readers

Posted by Christine Peterson on October 12th, 2007

This year as an experiment we are opening up a subset of seats at the Nov. 3-4 Foresight Vision Weekend to members of special groups such as Nanodot readers. The event is usually open only to Foresight Senior Associate members: http://www.foresight.org/SrAssoc/2007 I encourage you to check out this event. Since it is an Unconference, you [...]

Foresight Unconference on nanotechnology, advanced software, future technologies

Posted by Christine Peterson on October 3rd, 2007

Registration is now open to new and renewing Senior Associate members; cost for Senior Associate members to attend the meeting is $65. Space is limited. Join us! —Christine 1st Foresight Unconference to Be Held November 3-4 in Silicon Valley Event will explore nanotechnology, advanced software, life extension, future technologies Palo Alto, CA — Foresight Nanotech [...]