Nano and Society
Technologies change the world. That’s why we build them. Our goal is to make the world a better place through research. But change does not affect everyone the same way. And not every change is a move in a better direction.
The NNCI believes it is important to think about the impacts of nanotechnologies as we conceive them, develop them, and implement them. In fact, exploring the Societal and Ethical Implications of nanotechnology has been an important part of NSF research in nano for over a decade. Nanotechnology holds great promise but the introduction of any new technology can have significant societal and ethical consequences. The NNCI continues the tradition of thinking about these consequences through “SEI” efforts at a number of its partner universities.
For the most part our scholars don’t tell people what to do or what is “ethical” and what is “not ethical.” Our goal is to coordinate efforts that help all of us make better decisions about the technologies we develop and the ways we use them. The relationship between technology and society is complex. Research, discussions, and training can help all of us – including scientists, engineers, policymakers, and the general public – to better think about, anticipate, and prepare for the changes that nanotechnology can enable.