In Richtung einer grünen Nanotechnologie

Das Aufkommen der Nanotechnologie – jenes Technologiezweigs, der Objekte Molekül für Molekül oder tatsächlich Atom für Atom errichten will – hat futuristische Bilder sich selbst vermehrender „Nanobots“ heraufbeschworen, die Operationen durchführen oder unseren Planeten in eine Masse von „Grey Goo“ (grauem Schleim) verwandeln, während sie alles um sich herum verzehren.

Diese beiden Szenarien folgen einem bekannten Schema: Technologischer Fortschritt, wie etwa die Entwicklung der Atomkraft, genetisch veränderter Organismen, der Informationstechnologien und der synthetischen organischen Chemie, wird zunächst als Allheilmittel angesehen, dann aber – wenn Folgen, häufig im Bereich der Umwelt, sichtbar werden – als drohender Weltuntergang. Selbst bei der Wasseraufbereitung – dem wichtigsten technologischen Fortschritt aller Zeiten für die Verlängerung menschlichen Lebens – erweist sich, dass diese Krebs erregende Nebenprodukte erzeugt. Der Zyklus von fundamentaler Entdeckung, technologischer Entwicklung, Erkenntnis unerwünschter Folgen und öffentlicher Ablehnung scheint nicht aufzubrechen.

Wird es bei der Nanotechnologie anders sein? Neben der frühen Euphorie und dem Medienrummel, wie sie die Einführung neuer Technologien normalerweise begleiten, gab es bei der Nanotechnologie auch Projektionen über die von ihr möglicherweise ausgehenden Umweltrisiken – und zwar lange vor ihrer Kommerzialisierung im großen Stil. Dass derartige Fragen zu einem Zeitpunkt gestellt werden, zu dem sich die Nanotechnologie noch in den Kinderschuhen befindet, könnte zu besseren, sichereren Produkten und geringeren langfristigen Haftungspflichten für die Industrie führen.

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