Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Study Shows Increased Education on Nanotech, Human Enhancement Increases Public Concerns

Abstract:
"The First National Citizens' Technology Forum on Converging Technologies and Human Enhancement: Adapting the Danish Consensus Conference in the USA"

Authors: Dr. Michael D. Cobb and Dr. Patrick Hamlett, North Carolina State University

Presented: June 27, 2008, at the 10th Conference on Public Communication of Science and Technology, Malmo, Sweden

Many people believe that informed citizen input should influence public policies about modern science and technology, but several prominent academics warn against relying on citizen deliberations to promote public engagement in policy-making. These scholars contend that citizens do not enjoy the process of deliberating and individual and collective opinions developed during group deliberation are often worse than if deliberation had never taken place. Following the Danish practice known as "Consensus Conferences," we tested this skeptical perspective about citizen capacities by holding Citizen Technology Forums (CTF) in six cities in the United States throughout March 2008. Volunteer participants became informed about human enhancement technologies and they generated written reports about their concerns and recommendations regarding the development trajectory of these technologies. We find that participants dramatically increased their factual understanding about human enhancement technologies and they reported feeling more internally efficacious and trusting of others after deliberating; however, they also became more wary of the potential risks and benefits of these technologies and more concerned about potential inequities in the distribution of these benefits.

Study Shows Increased Education on Nanotech, Human Enhancement Increases Public Concerns

Raleigh, NC | Posted on July 16th, 2008

Educating the public about nanotechnology and other complex but emerging technologies causes people to become more "worried and cautious" about the new technologies' prospective benefits, according to a recent study by researchers at North Carolina State University.

A new study by researchers at North Carolina State University on public attitudes towards nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies shows that educating people about the new technologies results in those people becoming more concerned about the potential impact of the technologies.

The researchers, Dr. Michael D. Cobb, assistant professor of political science, and Dr. Patrick Hamlett, associate professor of science, technology and society and political science, gave questionnaires to study participants around the country to determine their position on emerging technologies with "human enhancement" applications - such as using nanotechnology to improve therapies for injuries and degenerative diseases. Nanotechnology is generally defined as technology that uses substances having a size of 100 nanometers or less (thousands of times thinner than a human hair), and is expected to have widespread uses in medicine, consumer products and industrial processes.

Cobb and Hamlett then put the participants through a deliberative forum in March 2008 that provided structured discussions and educational background on the technologies. The participants were then asked to fill out the same questionnaire they had been given before the deliberative forum and asked to provide policy recommendations on how to handle the emerging science.

In a recent presentation to the 10th Conference on Public Communication of Science, in Malmo, Sweden, Cobb noted that, compared to their pre-deliberation opinions, panelists "became more worried and cautious about the prospective benefits" of the human enhancement technologies. Prior to the deliberation, 82 percent of the participants were at least somewhat certain that the benefits of the technologies outweighed the risks - but that number dropped to 66 percent after the deliberation.

Cobb and Hamlett conducted the study, called the 2008 National Citizens' Forum on Human Enhancement, under a subcontract from the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University. The study was conducted at sites in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

Cobb says the study is also important because it shows that deliberative forums are a viable tool for encouraging informed public engagement in the development of governmental policies. This is significant because there have been questions in the past about whether "ordinary citizens" are able to engage in useful deliberation - or whether collective opinions developed during group deliberation are worse than if the deliberation had never taken place.

The driver for the study was to develop a format for informed interaction about the trajectories of science and technology policies as those policies are being developed, Cobb says, so that the public's concerns are incorporated into the policy development process.

- shipman -

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Dr. Michael Cobb
(919) 513-3709

Matt Shipman
News Services
(919) 515-3470

Copyright © North Carolina State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Conductive Inks: booming to $2.8 billion by 2024 April 17th, 2014

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

INSCX™ exchange to present Exchange trade reporting mechanism for engineered nanomaterials (NMs) to UK regulation agencies, insurers and upstream/downstream users April 17th, 2014

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Academic/Education

Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

First annual science week highlights STEM pipeline and partnerships: UB, SUNY Buffalo State and ECC team up with the City of Buffalo and its schools for April 7-11 events April 3rd, 2014

Global 450 consortium announces new general manager of internal operations: TSMC’s Cheng-Chung Chien Receives Unanimous Support, Brings History of Innovation and Efficiency to Global Consortium of Companies Driving Industry Transition to 450mm Wafer Technology March 26th, 2014

NanoTecNexus to Host "Chemistry of Wine" Fundraiser in Support of STEM Education - Collaborations Key to Success - March 20th, 2014

Announcements

More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale April 17th, 2014

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

INSCX™ exchange to present Exchange trade reporting mechanism for engineered nanomaterials (NMs) to UK regulation agencies, insurers and upstream/downstream users April 17th, 2014

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Artificial Intelligence

Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

Synaptic transistor learns while it computes: First of its kind, brain-inspired device looks toward highly efficient and fast parallel computing November 11th, 2013

Synaptic transistor learns while it computes: First of its kind, brain-inspired device looks toward highly efficient and fast parallel computing November 2nd, 2013

New center to better understand human intelligence, build smarter machines: NSF awards $25 million to MIT-based center to advance brain understanding September 9th, 2013

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE