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SCI/TECH: Dilemmas in Nanotechnology

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posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 08:24 AM
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Nanotechnology is promoted as the "Next Industrial Revolution," raising concerns about a public backlash that could hurt the industry. In yesterday's edition of "The Scientist," Patrick Lin outlines several issues including regulation, environment and health safety, war, terrorism, and privacy. He cautions that a number of social and ethical questions need to be considered now.

 



www.the-scientist.com
As the biotechnology industry recently discovered, ignoring public policy and social issues - namely, possible heath and environmental hazards from genetically modified foods - invites a public backlash that crippled progress and sent corporate stocks plummeting. If nanotechnology is billed as the "Next Industrial Revolution", then it also must raise a host of important social and ethical questions that we need to consider now.

Regulation: Do we have a right to research, or is some too dangerous to publish or conduct, such as a recently published recipe for making the 1918 killer influenza virus?
Environmental and Health: How much safety must we prove in nanomaterials, before introducing them into the marketplace or environment?
Society: How will nanosensors evolve our concept of privacy, particularly if they are ubiquitous (such as "smart dust") and virtually invisible?
Politics and Markets: How will nanotechnology affect global security and the distribution of power, if it can radically change the face of war and terrorism?
Personal: Will we lose our personal identity as we become more integrated with our technologies, when human and machine become one, as the "theory of Singularity" predicts?
Religious and Moral: Are we "playing God" by developing nanotech, and is that bad?



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



Nanotechnology has the ability to remake the world. Most likely, it already has - in ways we have yet to learn about. Out-of-control black ops military budgets leap to mind.

"Will we develop monster technologies before cage technologies, or after? Some monsters, once loosed, cannot be caged," Drexler wrote in his 1986 book Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, the first book about nanotech.

"Science will and must continue to move forward, but at the same time, we must be prepared to face what we unleash," The Scientist cautions researchers.

We too, will face whatever science may unleash. Lin's questions are well worth our consideration.

###

Nanotechnology: The development and use of devices that have a size of only a few nanometres. ...Such devices would act faster than larger components. ...In 2003, a number of nanotech enhanced consumer items went on sale.
Also Known As: Nano Machines, micromachines, micro machines, nanotech, nanobots
Also see: Medical nanotechnology
Molecular nanotechnology
What is Smart Dust?

Nanomaterials may have the power to save millions of lives, if scientists can manage the potential risks
Preparing for Nanotech
Nanotechnology experts say legal, ethical issues loom

On ATS:

NEVER MIND "THE CHIP"- SMART DUST IS COMING
US Leader in Nanotechnology Research
Nanotechnology and Homeland Security: New Weapons for New Wars
MILITARY APPLICATIONS OF WEATHER MODIFICATION
Military Cloaking/Invisable Camo
Big Brother Could Soon Be Watching You
Nanobot Swarm To Go To Mars?
Nano-machines to replace biological/chemical weapons?
The New Military

Measure your Nanotechnology I.Q.
Hydrogen Energy Breakthrough with Nanotechnology
Tiny Computers Go Where No Computer Has Gone Before
Nanotech Breakthrough of the Decade
See the Future of Nanotech...on your Hand
Self-Assembled Spider Silk spun in Insect Cells

Prophets of the Transhumanist Revolution

Also see: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Says Shadow XIX, "Some of the projects they are working on now that we know about. Morphing Aircraft Structures, MetaMaterils, Exoskeletons, Nanotechnology, all manners of Robotics, Optical stealth and a host of other stuff. ...I can just imagine what projects are classified."



[edit on 6-12-2005 by soficrow]




posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 01:41 PM
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Informative. Yes, nanotech will be a big player in the years to come, right now it is very hard to see exactly how big of an impact it will make on our everyday lives, but I am sure it will be monumental. If anyone is interested in seeing where we might be headed, check out this report:

*Broadband only*

NBIC

This report will open your eyes! Even without radical nanotechnology i.e. molecular manufacturing the next ten years should be exciting! You ready?



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 01:45 PM
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It seems that Nanotechnology has the potential to do ...well, anything. We are truly becoming Gods. Who knows what will come from this field in 20-30 years.



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 01:52 PM
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Some interesting stuff and great links here: Buckyballs Could Deform Human DNA

And from Grady:




Tiny Trouble: Nanoscale materials damage fish brains


In the field of nanotechnology, small might be better, but it's not necessarily safe. Biologists have found that a type of nanomaterial called buckyballs can damage brain cells in fish. ...Nanoscale materials are already used as pigments in cosmetics and sunscreens, and many more nanomaterials could reach consumers in the next decade or so. The exceptionally small size of these materials, whose dimensions may be only a few ten-thousandths of the width of a human hair, endows them with unique chemical and physical properties. However, their small size could also permit them to interact with living cells in unanticipated, potentially hazardous ways.

"There are so many positive things that can come of nanotechnology, so we need to be looking at the toxicity of these things," says biologist Eva Oberdörster at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Since buckyballs are currently being manufactured in large quantities, she and her colleagues looked for potential environmental effects of these soccer ball-shape carbon molecules.

To determine the molecules' toxicity, Oberdörster first tested the buckyballs on water fleas. The researchers added buckyballs to water tanks containing the small crustaceans. Over 48 hours, the team observed rising mortality with increased concentrations. They then calculated that at 800 parts per billion, 50 percent of the water fleas would die.

That makes the buckyballs "moderately toxic," says Oberdörster, slightly more toxic than nickel yet less toxic than chemicals such as benzopyrene, which is found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust.




As sardion cautions - we don't want debate to polarize, or to destroy the possible benefits. At the same time, we do need to take a good look at the present and possible dangers of nanotechnology - and protect ourselves.


.



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 02:21 PM
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Certain molecular sciences will receive more press and more attention than others simply because someone tells someone else what to read and what to care about.

In fact, there is no such thing as 'right to research', but rather 'ability to research'. Do we have the right to research god? Sure we do, but we cannot because we do not have the ability.

Many of the questions are just economic questions, nothing more. Let a group of people with a bachelors in yapping deal with that crap.



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 02:23 PM
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I guess I may as well chime in about molecular manufacturing. Once molecular manufacturing is developed we will unfortunatly no longer be considered the human race, however what emerges from humanities ashes will be a race millions of times more advanced.

Colonization of space will only take a few years, as automated ships employing mm will be able to set a planet up for human habitation in a matter of monthes. Our solar system will be completely utilized and transhumanity will spread out beyond.. possibly with FTL technology to other solar systems. Within a matter of decades we will be on many many worlds.

Those alive today(and who are going to live another 20 years) should feel lucky that they are going to see the beginning of a completely new era.

BTW, Frosty, we research god everytime we do science. If everything pans out for the holographic universe theories, we may infact be researching ourselves.

[edit on 6-12-2005 by Sigma]



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 02:53 PM
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Originally posted by Sigma
I guess I may as well chime in about molecular manufacturing. Once molecular manufacturing is developed we will unfortunatly no longer be considered the human race, however what emerges from humanities ashes will be a race millions of times more advanced.


I don't think that is a desirable scenario, the destruction of the Human race that is. Some will not want to participate and those people have to be protected as i see it as a duty to protect "endangered species" so to speak. Ironic ain't it
We have to work as hard as possible to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.

Look at the last technological transition it almost destroyed us(and still could). We need to take heed of the past to make sure our future is secure.

[edit on 6-12-2005 by sardion2000]



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 03:00 PM
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Yep. I think those people who don't accept this revolution will be looked upon, as many do the Amish, as a curiosity of a bygone era, one that most be respected however.



posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 08:09 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000

Look at the last technological transition it almost destroyed us(and still could). We need to take heed of the past to make sure our future is secure.



Good observation.


It's easy to focus on the promises, and forget the dangers and economic barriers. Like, who gets to choose who benefits? And how? If you don't have your own stash of cash I mean.






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