Abstract: In 2000 Bill Joy proposed that the best way to prevent technological apocalypse was to “relinquish” emerging bio-, info- and nanotechnologies. His essay introduced many watchdog groups to the dangers that futurists had been warning of for decades. One such group, ETC, has called for a moratorium on all nanotechnological research until all safety issues can be investigated and social impacts ameliorated. In this essay I discuss the differences and similarities of regulating bio- and nanotechnological innovation to the efforts to regulate nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction. I then suggest the creation of a global technology regulatory regime to ensure the safe and equitable diffusion of genetic, molecular and information technologies, and point out the principal political obstacles to implementing such a regime.
Table of Contents
Ethical Choices in Nanotechnology Development (Mihail C. Roco).
1. Introduction: The Nanotechnology Debate.
1.1 What is Nanotechnology and Nanoethics? (Patrick Lin and Fritz Allhoff)
1.2 Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us (Bill Joy).
1.3 On the National Agenda: US Congressional Testimony on the Societal Implications of Nanotechnology (Ray Kurzweil).
2. Background: Nanotechnology in Context.
2.0 Unit Introduction (John Weckert).
2.1 Nanotech’s Promise: Overcoming Humanity’s More Pressing Challenge (Christine Peterson and Jacob Heller).
2.2 Debating Nanotechnologies (Richard A. L. Jones).
2.3 In the Beginning: the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (Neal Lane and Thomas Kalil).
2.4 Science Fiction: A Portal to the Ethics of Nanotechnology (Rosalyn Berne).
3. Issues: Preparing for the Next Revolution.
3.0 Unit Introduction (John Weckert).
3.1 The Nanotechnology (R)evolution (Charlie Tahan).
3.2 Technology Revolutions and the Problem of Prediction (Nick Bostrom).
3.3 Complexity and Uncertainty: A Prudential Approach to Nanotechnology (Jean-Pierre Dupuy).
3.4 The Precautionary Principle in Nanotechnology (John Weckert and James Moor).
4. Issues: Health and Environment.
4.0 Unit Introduction (Jim Moor).
4.1 Nanotechnology and Risk: What are the Issues (Anne Ingeborg Myhr and Roy Dalmo)?
4.2 Personal Choice in the Coming Era of Nanomedicine (Robert A. Freitas).
4.3 Are We Playing God with Nano-Enhancement (Ted Peters).
4.4 Anticipating the Political and Ethical Challenges of Human Nanotechnologies (David Guston, John Parsi, and Justin Tosi).
5. Issues: Democracy and Policy.
5.0 Unit Introduction (Jim Moor).
5.1 Global Technology Regulation and Potentially-Apocalyptic Technological Threats (James Hughes).
5.2 Deliberative Democracy and Nanotechnology, Colin Farrelly.
5.3 Rhetoric of ‘Stakeholding’ (David Berube).
5.4 The Rules of Engagement: Dialogue and Democracy in Creating Nanotechnology Futures (James Wilsdon and Jack Stilgoe).
6. Issues: Broader Societal Impact.
6.0 Unit Introduction (John Weckert).
6.1 Nanotechnology and Privacy: the Instructive Case of RFID, Jeroen van den Hoven.
6.2 Nanotechnology and the Military (Daniel Moore).
6.3 Can Nanoscience be a Catalyst for Educational Reform (Patricia Schank, Joseph Krajcik, and Molly Yunker)?
6.4 The Impact of Nanotechnologies on Developing Countries (Joachim Schummer).
7. Issues: The Distant Future?
7.0 Unit Introduction (Fritz Allhoff).
7.1 Challenges and Pitfalls in Exponential Manufacturing (Mike Treder and Chris Phoenix).
7.2 Nanoethics and the High Frontier (Tihamer Toth-Fejel and Chris Dodsworth).
7.3 Ethics for Artificial Intellects (J. Storrs Hall).
7.4 Nanotechnology and Life Extension (Sebastian Sethe).