X-Message-Number: 21041
Subject: Nanotech shutdown?
Date: Sat, 1 Feb 2003 20:43:39 -0500

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Shutdown of nanotech irresponsible and dangerous, says CRN

A decision to halt all research and development into nanotechnology would be 
irresponsible and dangerous, according to the non-profit Center for Responsible 
NanotechnologyT, an independent policy research group. This statement comes in 
response to a lengthy report issued by the watchdog group ETC, which recommends 
that governments declare an immediate moratorium on commercial production of new

"ETC's report was wide-ranging, but perhaps too ambitious," says Mike Treder, 
President of CRN. "Going from biotechnology to structural nanotechnology, and 
then all the way to molecular nanotechnology is inappropriate. It is frequently 
a mistake to generalize from one area of technology to another." 

Biotechnology is not the same as nanotechnology. Moreover, molecular 
nanotechnology (MNT) is quite distinct from structural nanotechnology (SNT). The
technologies are so different that they must be analyzed and administered 
separately. In addition, it's too early to recommend specific actions with 
regard to molecular nanotechnology.

"CRN is actively researching MNT policy issues. The first thing we learned is 
that simple solutions won't work," says Chris Phoenix, CRN's Director of 

"We agree with many of the points made by ETC," says Treder. "For example, it is
vital that economic and humanitarian benefits from advanced nanotech accrue to 
all strata of world society. The quickest way to realize those benefits, 
however, is to put more emphasis on research and development, not less."

CRN contends that ETC's report went too far in calling for a complete 
moratorium. An attempted global shutdown of molecular nanotech development would
not assure anyone's safety or security. Rather, it would drive research 
underground and could result in a dangerous and unstable black market.

"We've done our own analysis of the Precautionary Principle and its relevance to
nanotechnology," says Phoenix. "There are ways to apply the Principle and allow
the safe and effective use of nanotech, while still protecting users, 
developers, and innocent bystanders. That's where our research is going."

Mike Treder, President
Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN)

The Big Down (published by ETC) 

Applying the Precautionary Principle to Nanotechnology (published by CRN)

Safe Utilization of Advanced Nanotechnology (published by CRN)


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