Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Myths of Nanotech Outreach

Steven Currall - professor of Enterprise & the Management of Innovation at University College London - just published an excellent op-ed in Business Week on "Debunking the Nanotech Myths." There's really little to add to what he said. Here are a few highlights and the link to the full article.

Myth 2: Consumers must fully understand nanotechnology to have opinions and attitudes toward it.
To the contrary, consumers will form opinions and attitudes despite having little information about nanotechnology. How are consumers learning about nanotechnology? Most are learning from the popular media such as newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. This means that journalists must present information about nanotechnology in an even-handed and impartial manner.
Myth 5: The best strategy for advancing the burgeoning nanotechnology industry is to first accumulate all evidence on any risks of nanotechnology and then distribute the findings to the public.
We will never know every possible environmental, health, or safety risk. Therefore, governmental and business leaders must simultaneously push for greater understanding of possible risks while at the same time being responsible in exploring how nanotechnology may be used in products that can have dramatic societal benefits.