Nanotechnology and Social Context
Bulletin of Science, Technology, & Society
Vol. 27, Num. 6
In this article, the author considers how researchers evaluate the social and ethical dimensions of nanotechnology, pointing out the dangers of seeking to examine the potential benefits and problems associated with nanotechnology independently of the social context from which these technologies emerge. In order to effectively evaluate the potential ethical issues raised by nanotechnology, researchers and scholars must be sure to take the characteristic, distinctive features of nanotechnology into account, as they consider how nanotechnology might impact efforts to develop human enhancement technologies, and achieve social justice. The author argues that the current efforts of the United States' National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) are not yet sufficiently comprehensive, and need to be expanded to adequately identify and address questions surrounding the social context of nanotechnology.