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Talkin' 'bout a (nanotechnological) revolution

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1 Author(s)
Sparrow, R. ; Sch. of Philos. & Bioethics, Monash Univ., Clayton, VIC

It is often claimed that the development of nanotechnology will constitute a "technological revolution" with profound social, economic, and political consequences. The author surveys arguments that might be used to block this analogy and argue that none of them justify drawing a sharp distinction between social change due to technology and change due to other political causes. Two things follow from this discussion: First, we need to reconsider the appropriateness of the language of technological revolution when talking about nanotechnology. The likely impacts of nanotechnology may be less dramatic than is often claimed. Second, if we do decide that the language of revolution is appropriate for nanotechnology, then we should acknowledge that any such revolution should be delayed until the public can make a democratic decision about whether they wish their lives to be transformed in this way.

Published in:

Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:27 ,  Issue: 2 )