Carl Wherrett and John Yelovich over at The Motley Fool investor website take on the purveyors of FUD (a derogatory term implying the unreasonable or excessive promotion of fear, uncertainty, and doubt) on nanotechnology:
“We are not advocating simply ignoring basic health and safety concerns as they may relate to nanotech, but we strongly urge investors, scientists, and the public in general to educate themselves.
“Calling for wholesale bans simply because ‘we do not know’ shows a paucity of intent and a desire to block innovations. Those innovations may one day produce a cure for cancer, a solution to the impending energy crisis, and even an elevator to outer space — all through the knowledge gained about manipulating matter at the atomic scale…
“Imagine painting your roof with an organic nanomaterial capable of converting sunlight into enough energy to power all of your household needs. Now imagine that same coating on every residence, in every major city of the industrialized world. There would be no more power stations and all of their attendant pollution. Researchers at two leading U.S. universities have already produced this material and are working on improving its yield! The green lobby should be shouting the loudest over the benefits that nanotechnology may bring in providing us a cleaner, greener world — not to mention a world that’s cheaper for us as consumers.”
We anticipate that this battle will accelerate over time, as nanotech moves from relatively simple materials to devices and then advanced nanosystems. Expect some lulls to occur just after major successes (on energy, or cancer treatments) and expect escalations whenever a nano product or byproduct is found to be harmful (which surely will occur). This tussle will go on for decades. —Christine