UK government launches inquiry into risks and potential benefits of nanotechnology

UK government launches inquiry into risks and potential benefits of nanotechnology

Guardian report. “The government today launched an independent study into the benefits and risks of nanotechnology, the science of manipulating ultra-small particles.

The Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering have been commissioned to look at this emerging area of science, engineering and technology to see how it should be regulated as it develops. “

Interesting that public concern is growing. According to an earlier Guardian story, “Nanotechnology research is on the increase – growing in the US from 270m to 378m in the last five years, and in western Europe from 79m to more than 219m. But it is Japan that is really going all out to harness the new science, with a six-fold leap in spending from 75m to 470m.”

A Toronto Thinktank suggests that it may not be entirely daft to worry about the potential pitfalls ahead. Quote: “In a paper published in the Institute of Physics journal Nanotechnology, Canadian researchers, from the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB), claim that although the research into extremely small devices is still in its early stages and most applications may be decades away, it is already arousing alarm about people’s privacy and security.

Hailed as the first major scientific revolution of the 21st century, nanotechnology will make possible invisible microphones, cameras and tracking devices. And although it holds out hope of cheap, pollution-free production, little has been done to assess possible impacts on the environment when nano-materials are released. “

Wonder if any of them have read Michael Crichton’s Prey?