Nanotech Database

Article Title:
An Integrated Approach to Oversight Assessment for Emerging Technologies

Kuzma, Jennifer

Journal Information:
Risk Analysis
Vol. 28, Num. 5


This article deals with the issue of governmental oversight in emerging technologies, specifically nanotechnology, and the many safety concerns about untested technology that go along with scientific progress. I order to work around the inherent hesitation the public has with promising new technologies and the impressive breadth of the field, the authors crafted a complex series of multidisciplinary criteria that any new products or applications could be filtered through to determine the level of risk involved and better inform the public. They developed this system using an integrated oversight assessment based around multicriteria decision analysis, which relies on the notion that no single outcome metric can capture the appropriateness or effectiveness of a system, allows for integrating heterogeneous information, and enables incorporation of expert and stakeholder judgments. After going through dozens of criteria to analyze a technologys development, attributes, evolution and outcome, they finally settled on twenty-eight separate criteria under these four categories that could accurately describe and assess oversight systems for emerging technologies and their applications.