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January 25th, 2011

Unethical Nanotechnology

Abstract:
Nanotechnology has been my own field of research for 12 years now. It is one of the, if not the most important emerging technology, and it is widely believed to be the vital ingredient for many of transhumanism's most desired transformations, be it slowing down aging, computer to brain network-neuron interfaces, or the development of ever faster (quantum) computers. Nano is still the big buzz word and I am afraid to be the uninvited party-pooper.

I do not so much take issue with the more apocalyptic dangers, such as horror scenarios of self-reproducing nanotechnology turning the whole planet into a gray soup of nanobots, or the total lack of co-evolution of our Pleistocene bodies with non-organic nanostructures. The more general problem in which people interested in the ethics of emergent technologies are surely interested in is that nanotechnology is widely acknowledged to be potentially dangerous, and so the discussion needs to address oversight. For example: Can one trust the nanotechnological field to be effectively self-monitoring, self-regulating?

by Sascha Vongehr

Source:
ieet.org

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