Foresight Institute Co-Founder and Past President Christine Peterson was among four panelists addressing the role of technology in human existence for a Stanford University Continuing Studies series. From a report in The Stanford Daily by Marshall Watkins “Bay Area thinkers ponder ‘life’“:
Christine Peterson, co-founder and president of The Foresight Institute, a public interest group seeking to educate the community on forthcoming technological advances, emphasized the increasingly prominent role that nanotechnology has come to play.
Peterson noted that nanotechnology has the potential to create new materials and make vast advances without the side effects, such as pollution, that would currently ensue. She allowed, however, that the near-invisible and highly sensitive technology might enable intrusions on privacy.
“We need to know what data is collected,” Peterson said, “how it is used and how long it is retained. We have those rights.”
Peterson highlighted the medical benefits of nanotechnology, noting, “The ability to control atoms and molecules would mean that there really isn’t a physical illness [that] we wouldn’t be able to address.”
The report quotes the moderator of the panel, author Piero Scaruffi, as stating that the four panelists were picked because “They discussed life as in the future, rather than life as in the past.” We can certainly expect that life after advanced nanotechnology has been developed will be fundamentally different from life up until that point.