Piecing Together the Elephant: Public Engagement on Nanotechnology Challenges
Science and Engineering Ethics
Vol. 15, Num. 4
As Kyle and Dodd looked into the public perception of nanotechnology in Australia in an earlier essay in Science and Engineering Ethics, so Cormick here investigates the intentions and values held by the organizations doing the nanotechnology research itself. Cormicks Australian Office of Nanotechnology has spent years trying to do just this while also bringing those uninterested in nanotechnology into the fold, if only to increase engagement and better understand nanotechnologys role in society. When bringing various interest groups together to try to understand their position and enlist their help in better communicating with the public, Cormick found that the groups clung more tightly than ever to their dogma while the public-minded component found the anti-nanotechnology side too reactionary and simply wanted a better understanding of the relative risks and benefits the field has to offer. The final conclusion was the engaging with the already-engaged was an easy task, as imagined, and that finding a middle ground with which to approach those outside the proverbial loop was a much more difficult prospect.