Building a Safe Nanotechnology Future

Nanotechnology provides seemingly endless opportunities, from manufacturing tremendously powerful yet incredibly small computers to developing new sustainable energy sources and devising personalized cures for cancer. But we must wake up to the need for research on the possible environmental, health, and safety impact of future nanotechnology applications.

We are living – according to some – on the brink of a nanotechnology revolution, where matter is engineered at a scale thousands of times smaller than the eye can see, and familiar materials behave in unexpected ways. This revolution, if successful, will turn our world upside down.

Nanotechnology gives us increasing control over the material world, providing opportunities to enhance existing technologies and develop new ones. The opportunities seem endless, from building stronger, lighter materials and manufacturing tremendously powerful yet incredibly small computers, to developing new sustainable energy sources and devising personalized cures for cancer.

More than 500 manufacturer-identified nanotechnology consumer products are now on the market, from cosmetics to car parts to tableware. By 2014 an estimated $2.6 trillion in manufactured goods around the world (or 15% of total global output) will use this technology, building on the research of scientists in some 100 nations around the world. If current projections are right, nanotechnology has the potential to have an impact on nearly every industry and virtually every aspect of our lives.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/dXZpvNb;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now