Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Mind the Gap Revisited

Nordman, Alfred

Journal Information:
Nature Nanotechnology
Vol. 4, Num. 5


Nordmann and Rip try to reopen the discussion of the gap between the progress of nanotechnology scientifically and its ethical considerations. One of the problems they see immediately is that the science has seen most of its ethical writing coincide with its most visionary applications, combining to create a sort of speculative ethics. The problem here is that the speculative is being privileged to reality, with the outcome being too much time spent on possible ifs and not enough time being spent on here and now ethical issues. The authors ask that ethicists and social scientists both analyze their predictions to concentrate on only the ones that seem most plausible (and hence most useful for consideration) and to give more attention to particular ethical questions inside nanotechnology, rather than general ones that are less meaningful but more attractive.