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Nanotech: a view from Indonesia

Writing in The Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s leading English language newspaper, is attorney Mohamad Mova Al ‘Afghan. He looks specifically at molecular nanotechnology, which he defines as “the capability to assemble any product than can be designed directly from atoms and molecules.” See the full article, or these excerpts:

“The revolution in manufacturing resulting from MNT may also halt international trade of goods, as comparative advantages among nations in terms of natural resources will become obsolete. At the point where resource scarcity is no longer an issue, the only relevant comparative advantage is probably the ownership of knowledge capital, that is to say, a generation of highly skilled knowledge workers…

“Engineers, network analysts, sociologists, economists, ethicists and anthropologists might also be in high demand in post-MNT societies, taking note of their ability to develop interdisciplinary approaches. Professions relying heavily on statutory regulations such as lawyers might require a rapid unlearning and relearning since the post-MNT regulatory paradigm might be totally different from today’s paradigm.

“Development in the fields of legal systems and ethics would certainly involve radical changes in almost all areas of the law. Ethical questions such as the legitimacy of germ line therapies, induction of nanotech-enabled psychoactive drugs, cognitive enhancement through neurosurgeric procedures and attempts toward longevity would arise, and it is therefore imperative for clerics and ulema today to formulate their ethical positions on such cases…

“In the field of intellectual property, core technologies for MNT can be regarded as a ‘heritage of mankind’. Derivative nanotech design technology can be freed from patent and open-sourced.”

You know you’re not in Kansas anymore when ethical issues are being referred to ulema (Muslim scholars who are arbiters of sharia, Islamic law). —Christine

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