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Irresponsible Nanotechnology


Mike Treder
By Mike Treder
Responsible Nanotechnology

Posted: Nov 15, 2006

In my travels around the country and around the world, you’d be surprised how many people ask, “Is there such a thing as irresponsible nanotechnology?”

My usual answer is something about the need for responsible use of powerful technologies, and the attendant possibility of dangerously irresponsible users. Putting all that into the name of an organization is a bit unwieldy, but perhaps it’s good that these questions get asked.

In any case, this is an opportunity to repeat what we’ve said before about CRN’s definition of responsible nanotechnology:

First, that we take effective precautions to forestall a new arms race.

Second, that we do what is necessary to prevent a monopoly on the technology by one nation, one bloc of nations, or one multinational corporation.

Third, that we seek appropriate ways to share the tremendous benefits of the technology as widely as possible; we should not allow a ‘nano-divide’.

Fourth, that we recognize the possibilities for both positive and negative impacts on the environment from molecular manufacturing, and that we adopt sensible global regulations on its use.

Fifth, that we understand and take precautions to avert the risk of severe economic disruption, social chaos, and consequent human suffering.


Mike Treder is a former Managing Director of the IEET.
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