Date: December 2004
What effect do you think nano-technology will have on
everyday Americans within the next 10 years? Where do you think it will
have the largest impact? Do you think any nano-technology will be so
sensitive that it will not be permitted to export that technology?
This technology is advancing so quickly that it is difficult to predict
what areas of technology it will have the largest impact earliest. The
second part of your question is the most significant, because of the
intellectual arrogance it assumes (I do not mean you personally, but
rather current public/political perceptions.)
It assumes that the U.S. controls this technology and is the only
country that is able to make strides in nanotechnology (FALSE). Many
counties have the expertise to do so. It assumes we can/should control
exchange of scientific information. This runs counter to the spirit of
scientific research: The free exchange of ideas judged by competent peers,
regardless of nationality.
Unfortunately, we see these assumptions operating in the U.S. in other
areas now. Examples: Importation of drugs from other countries assumes other
countries do not have the expertise to manufacture quality pharmaceuticals
(FALSE). It assumes that domestic drug companies do not produce drugs in
other countries and import them into the U.S. (FALSE). The attempt to stifle
stem cell research. That research is going to take place, whether or not the
U.S. government chooses to fund it. Either we compete in this area or face
another "Sputnik" syndrome. Scientists researching this area just will not
to the U.S.; our scientists who wish to do research in this area will simply
move to other countries. In either case it is a lose/lose proposition.
This is not a happy time for research in the U.S. Scientific decisions
are being made on the basis of political agendas, not the merits,
significance, or importance of the science. Witness the proposal to send a
manned mission to Mars, when simultaneously repair of the Hubble telescope
is quashed because it is considered too risky!!!
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Update: June 2012