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1st major nanotechnology TV series sounds rather negative

Here at Foresight we try to present a balanced view of nanotechnology, discussing prospective benefits while also acknowledging potential problems. It would be good if the “first major television series to look at the implications of advances in nanotechnology” did the same. But see the description of the upcoming public television series:

Nanotechnology: The Power of Small‘s three programs explore critical questions about nanotechnology’s potential impact on privacy, the environment and human health: Will nanotechnology make you safer, or will it be used to track your every move? Will nanotechnology keep you young, and what happens if you live to be 150? Will nanotechnology help clean up the earth, or will it be the next asbestos?…

In the programs, award-winning National Public Radio correspondent John Hockenberry asks policymakers, scientists, journalists and community leaders to wrestle with difficult but essential issues about nanotechnology’s potential to impact people’s privacy and security, health and environment.

Sounds pretty negative to me. Perhaps the program will be much more balanced than the ad copy. Or perhaps the producers felt that they needed a show to balance the pro-nanotech hype. However, if this is really “the first major television series to look at the implications of advances in nanotechnology”, then they have a responsibility to present a balanced view, not slant it toward potential downsides. The show was funded in part by NSF.

You can attend a reception and Washington DC premiere of the show on April 2 at the Wilson Center. RSVP quickly to If you see the show, please let us know your impressions. We’ll hope for a balanced presentation. —Christine.

7 Responses to “1st major nanotechnology TV series sounds rather negative”

  1. Richard Smith Says:


    I’m already confirmed. See you there?


  2. Michael Anissimov Says:

    I just got a copy of this in the mail, I’ll tell you what I think when I watch it (soon).

  3. Christine Peterson Says:

    Dick — Good to hear you will be there. I can’t make it this time.

    Michael — Looking forward to your review.


  4. Mike Treder Says:

    I was asked by the makers of the program to preview it and posted a review here —

    Fortunately, Christine, it’s not as negative as you might have feared. I found the show to be nicely balanced and quite stimulating. They didn’t cover everything that I wanted to see, but maybe next time.

  5. Christine Peterson Says:

    Thanks, Mike, good to hear. —Christine

  6. Andrew Maynard Says:

    Hi Christine,

    I’ve just posted my comments on the program on the SafeNano blog:

    I’m dreadfully biased as I was a panelist on one of the programs, but I was surprised at how entertaining, well balanced and thought-provoking they were. Of course, it would be great to see a Nova-style show on what nano is and what it can/might do, but Nanotechnology: The Power of Small is pretty good at teasing out some of the more complex challenges society will have to face as nanotechnology matures.

    The whole series can be viewed over the web btw at


  7. mary samples Says:

    have dealt wiith major depression for upward of 40 years..I have been on nearly every medicine available to the public..I am still trying to deal wiith my problem.. I would have an implant in a heart-beat if it would allow me to feel as if I could enjoy having fun with my great-grandchildren.

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