Mind the Gap: science and ethics in nanotechnology
Vol. 14, Num. 0
Nanotechnology may be derailed if there is not serious study of its economic, legal and social implications (NE3LS). Nanotechnology, the study, control and use of materials on a nanometer scale, has already generated new products in medicine and electronics, and there is no doubt that nanotechnology will have further impact on other industries. The study of NE3LS issues lags far behind the funding and marketing of nanotechnology. Mnyusiwalla et. al measure the number of citations for ethical studies as compared to general NT citations, and further note that the funds allocated to study NE3LS issues has not been spent. They list the questions that ethical studies should address, including equity, privacy and secuirty, environmental concerns, and human boundaries. There should be, they say, appropriate funding of these studies, large-scale interdisciplinary research platforms, and capacity strengthening (e.g.n established rewards to support research from the undergraduate level upwards.) Developing countries and the public in first world countries should be involved dialogues around the NE3LS issues & questions listed above. The call for a moratorium "should be a wake-up call" for NT.