On April 28, the Center on Nanotechnology and Society at Illinois Institute of Technology — which has a great nanomachine by Damian Allis featured on its home page currently — will sponsor a one-day event titled NanoWorld: Toward a Policy for the Human Future at the National Press Club. The keynote is by Mihail Roco of NSF, the de facto leader of the U.S. NNI, to the extent it has one. I’m on a panel responding to his keynote.
What Dr. Roco may or may not be aware of is that the Center has strong views on the issue of human enhancement via nanotechnology, a topic advocated in the past by Dr. Roco. Based on the composition of the panel and my experience of Dr. Roco’s recent talks, here is my take on how the keynote and response panel will go: Dr. Roco will give a talk having little or no mention of human enhancement. The other two panelists will attack his earlier support of the topic. I appear to be the moderate on the panel (of course, we all tend to see ourselves as moderate). David Guston of ASU whose work is funded by NNI, is moderating the panel and may not be expecting this whole thing, which may also be true for Dr. Roco. In short, it should be fun.
The rest of the event may be calmer. After lunch there are three Congresspeople on the program, two of whom I’ve met and found to be smart, interesting guys who take their jobs very seriously: Mike Honda and Brad Sherman. Hope to see you there. (I don’t see a way to register online; you’ll need to phone or email them. Not sure of registration fee, if any…) —Christine