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Archive for the 'Abuse of Advanced Technology' Category

Nanotechnology risk governance to include weapons

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 13th, 2007

In the postal mail today was the paper copy of a 6-7 July 2006 conference report: “The Risk Governance of Nanotechnology: Recommendations for Managing a Global Issue” (link to PDF) held at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue last summer. This well-run and highly international meeting is the highest profile meeting to include consideration [...]

Nanotechnology podcast: near, mid, and long term

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 10th, 2007

Here at Foresight we like to present a balanced picture of nanotechnology, pushing for the benefits and heading off downsides. To do this, it’s necessary to discuss those nanotech downsides especially when someone asks about them. Earth & Sky asked me, and put the audio on the web: Upcoming, said Peterson, are issues of privacy [...]

Challenges of US/China nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 21st, 2007

Just received from Steffen Foss Hansen is a paper by his colleague Evan Michelson at the Wilson Center on the tough issue of “Nanotechnology Policy: An Analysis of Transnational Governance Issues Facing the United States and China.” An excerpt: Due to the rapid pace of R&D, discoveries in nanotechnology could come in great, discontinuous leaps [...]

Food workers worried about nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 4th, 2007

Nanowerk brings to our attention a resolution on nanotechnology by a labor group for food and agricultural workers claiming to represent 12 million people. It has a number of sections, but here’s an example: To demand that national and international patent offices, like the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), decline to register all patent applications [...]

Nanotechnology will read smell records

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 24th, 2007

Keith Powers brings to our attention a claim that the German government has started collecting the chemical profiles of individuals, to be used for political purposes. From The Register in the UK: German police are compiling a Stasi-style “scent bank” database of potentially violent crusty protesters against global capitalism, according to reports. An article in [...]

Nanotechnology for drug detection

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 18th, 2007

I tell audiences that the day is coming when nanotechnology will be able to tell what they ate or smoked. That day is coming closer, according to Nanowerk News: To this day, fingerprints are just the thing when a perpetrator needs to be arrested or a person needs to be identified. British scientists working with [...]

Russia: $1 billion from oil into nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 19th, 2007 reports that nanotechnology is the next big thing in Russia: Russia will pour over $1 billion into equipment for nanotechnology research over the next three years as it uses massive oil and gas export earnings to diversify an economy now heavily dependent on raw materials, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday. “(Nanotechnology) [...]

Security implications of nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 26th, 2007

Though we do not always agree with Gregor Wolbring, his column on nanotech and the military reminds us of a very difficult potential problem: The start of a nano arms race, and the lack of willingness to regulate potential synthetic biology through the modification of existing treaties or the application of existing treaties or the [...]

Facing up to military nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 4th, 2006

A new book by German physicist Jürgen Altmann of Dortmund University looks at Military Nanotechnology: Potential Applications and Preventive Arms Control (Routledge, 2006). Both near-term and long-term applications are examined. From the abstract: NT applications will likely pervade all areas of the military…By using NT to miniaturise sensors, actuators and propulsion, autonomous systems (robots) could [...]

Nanotechnology surveillance & privacy: an interview

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 1st, 2006

Earth & Sky interviewed yours truly on the topic of nanotechnology surveillance and nanoprivacy. It looks as though there are both a transcript and a couple of podcasts (1, 2). Excerpts: Nanotechnology will produce new sensors that can analyze chemical signals in our environment. And of course, we as individuals send off chemical signals that [...]

Israel to pursue nanotechnology weapons

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 17th, 2006

It had to happen somewhere: the first country to publicly state they are planning to use nanotechnology in weapons is…Israel. Before now, to my knowledge, only defensive uses have been discussed in public. From the Sydney Morning Herald: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given the green light for Israel to set up a special office [...]

National security implications of long-term nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on September 8th, 2006

The U.S. Navy’s Thomas Vandermolen looks at defense aspects of advanced nanotech in a footnoted paper over at Nanotechnology Now. He argues against a do-nothing strategy: Given MNT’s tremendous potential for both peaceful and violent applications, controlling it with a “do nothing” strategy is analogous to providing nuclear reactors to every country under the assumption [...]

Nanotechnology sensors raise privacy issues

Posted by Christine Peterson on September 6th, 2006

The popular NSF-funded Earth & Sky radio series — “illuminating pathways to a vibrant and sustainable future for over six million people daily” — has been focusing on nanotech for quite a while now (see list). Most recently is an interview (description and download) looking at the question of nanotechnology-based sensors and privacy: As technology [...]

South Korea to assist North Korea on nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 31st, 2006

From The Chosun Ilbo we learn of a new collaborative effort on nanotechnology between South Korea and…North Korea: South and North Korean scholars are holding a conference on nanotechnology in the North’s Mt. Kumgang resort. For three days from Monday, participants will exchange results of their research and discuss ways to cooperate in improving education [...]

Nanotechnology’s role in national security

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 15th, 2006

Nanotech Takes on Homeland Terror is the title of a piece by Josh Wolfe and Dan van den Bergh over at It describes current and near-term applications for nanotech in detecting biowarfare agents and in protecting soldiers: The DOD believed in nano long before the term was mainstream…Current detection tools using nanotechnology allow high-speed [...]

Church of Scotland wants nanotechnology to respect certain limits drawn from…the arts?

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 7th, 2006

Rocky Rawstern of Nanotechnology Now brings our attention to an article in The Scotsman on the views of Dr. Donald Bruce, head of the Church of Scotland’s Society, Religion and Technology Project. While there is much that we would agree with in Dr. Bruce’s position — for example, a concern about nanotechnology possibly leading to [...]

Bill Joy suggests insurance as risk reduction mechanism for nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 26th, 2006

In an essay on reprinted from New Scientist, Bill Joy — whose Wired essay titled Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us touched off a big controversy — suggests insurance as a mechanism to reduce risk from powerful technologies including nanotech: We could use the very strong force of markets. Rather than regulate things, we [...]

New nanotech export controls opposed

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 17th, 2006

The leading semiconductor equipment industry association has taken a strong stand (one-page pdf) against new U.S. nanotech export controls: “SEMI is concerned about possible new export controls on nanotechnology products and cautions against further controls until this technology is better defined. “Nanotechnology should not be controlled simply because it is nanotechnology. This label is often [...]

Eleven new nanotech essays from CRN

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 8th, 2006

Another batch of eleven essays on molecular manufacturing brought to you by CRN: “Nanoethics and Technological Revolutions: A Précis” – Nick Bostrom “From The Enlightenment to N-Lightenment” – Michael Buerger “What Price Freedom?” – Robert A. Freitas Jr. “The (Needed) New Economics of Abundance” – Steve Burgess “Economic Impact of the Personal Nanofactory” – Robert [...]

Foresight nanotech R&D guidelines: new version released

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 6th, 2006

Now in its sixth revision, the lastest version of the Foresight Guidelines for Responsible Nanotechnology Development was released today (HTML or 116 KB PDF), just in time for a presentation this morning by Foresight Research Associate Dr. David Forrest to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ meeting for nanotechnology stakeholders. Excerpt: “Version [...]