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why nanoethics?




Pandora's Box opened:

"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

physicist Robert Oppenheimer, quoting Hindu scripture upon seeing the world's first atomic explosion he created with the atom bomb.
Nanotechnology: what can go wrong with such a simple idea? 

By moving individual atoms around, we can improve just about everything - from designing stronger, lighter materials to smaller computing chips to more effective drugs to possibly toxin-eating nanomachines to other things we haven't begun to imagine.

But that's exactly the problem.  We haven't imagined enough of the implications of nanotechnology, both good and bad.  And when you're talking about manipulating things on the atomic scale, things can get very bad.  Just ask Robert Oppenheimer - see what he had to say on the left. 

Is nanotechnology capable of such devastations?  Maybe.  It might enable us to have super-human capabilities, creating a new class of persons who can outcompete "normal" people.  It might spawn a new breed of mini-weapons to kill in new ways and potentially used by terrorists.  Maybe it'll be used for the stealthiest surveillance ever, intruding further into our privacy.

Or maybe not.  But by ignoring criticisms, the industry loses a great opportunity.  Learning from biotech mistakes - think "Frankenfoods" - it's better to resolve these dilemmas now, rather than defensively react when they inevitably resurface and send stock prices plummeting
The Warning Bells
Lessons In Biotech
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