Nanotechnology - technology at the molecular level - is held out by many as the Holy Grail for creating a trillion dollar economy and solving problems from curing cancer to reprocessing waste into products and building superfast computers. Yet, as with GMOs, many view nanotech as a high risk genie in a bottle that once uncorked has the potential to cause unpredictable, perhaps irreversible, environmental and public health disasters. With the race to bring products to market, there is pressing need to take stock of the situation and to have a full public debate about this new technological frontier. Including contributions by renowned figures such as Roland Clift, K. Eric Drexler and Arpad Pusztai, this is the first global overview of the state of nanotech and society in Europe, the USA, Japan and Canada, examining the ethics, the environmental and public health risks, and the governance and regulation of this most promising, and potentially most dangerous, of all technologies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Challenge of Nanotechnologies * Part I Introducing Nanotechnology * Nanotechnology: From 'Wow' to 'Yuck'? * Nanotechnology: From Feynman to Funding * Microsystems and Nanoscience for Biomedical * Applications: A View to the Future * Nanotechnoscience and Complex Systems: The Case for Nanology * Part II Regional Developments * Nanotechnologies and Society in Japan * Nanotechnologies and Society in the USA * Nanotechnologies and Society in Europe * Nanotechnologies and Society in Canada * Part III Benefits and Risks * From Biotechnology to Nanotechnology: What Can We Learn from Earlier Technologies? * Getting Nanotechnology Right the First Time * Risk Management and Regulation in an Emerging Technology * Nanotechnology and Nanoparticle Toxicity: A Case for Precaution * The Future of Nanotechnology in Food Science and Nutrition: Can Science Predict its Safety? Part IV Ethics and Public Understanding * The Global Ethics of Nanotechnology * Going Public: Risk, Trust and Public Understanding of Nanotechnologies * Dwarfing the Social? Nanotechnology Lessons from the Biotechnology Front * Part V Law and Regulation * Nanotechnologies and the Law of Patents: A Collision Course * Nanotechnologies and Civil Liability * Nanotechnologies and the Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Human Subjects * Nanotechnologies and Corporate Criminal Liability * Part VI Conclusion * What Makes Nanotechnologies Special? *