Map of New Technologies and Nanotechnology
Please find enclosed a report
from Greenpeace Environmental Trust surveying the 'emerging' technologies of
nanotechnology , artificial intelligence and robotics. The report was commissioned
from Imperial College, London. It integrates technological assessment with identification
of the leaders in development and commercialisation efforts, and flags up genuine
concerns, as distinct from hype.
Greenpeace has looked particularly at nanotechnology. We conclude the following:
- Nanotechnology is fundamentally about making new things or making them in
a different way - about uses of resources and creation of wastes. So it will,
sooner or later, have some impact on our environment.
- There is the prospect of valuable new innovations, especially on energy
use, but also concerns over some possible impacts, especially of nanoparticles.
- The first products are relatively mundane like faster computers and diagnostic
Nanotechnology is the first major new technology to potentially impact society
since GMOs became controversial. This leads to insights about new technologies
that can also be applied specifically to nanotechnology:
- The interests of those who govern the new technologies -ownership and control
- determine the use to which new technology is put.
- People ask good & valid questions about new technologies including:
Are there benefits? Do the risks and benefits fall to the same people? With
what certainty? Who takes responsibility for resultant problems?
- These questions can only be properly answered by meaningful public dialogue
environmental and social goals from the start of the R&D process.
- Ignoring concerns could lead to political controversy and market rejection.
Dr Douglas Parr