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The social and economic challenges of nanotechnology

By csep - Posted on 25 August 2010

TitleThe social and economic challenges of nanotechnology
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsWood, Stephen, Jones Richard, and Geldart Alison
Corporate AuthorsEconomic and Social Research Council
Pagination63 p.
PublisherEconomic and Social Research Center
Place PublishedSwindon, UK
TypeSpecial Report
Publication Languageeng

Authors assess the possible social and economic impact of nanotechnology by breaking it up by time scale, short term impacts that will come from incremental advances in fields such as the material sciences, medium term impacts that have the potential to overcome current barriers, such as finding better treatment or a cure for cancer, and long term impacts where entirely new applications for nanotechnology may emerge. Article discusses the debate surrounding longer term and short-term impact of nanotechnologies, and calls for individuals in the social sciences to focus on three themes: the governance of technological change; social learning and the evaluation of risk and opportunity under uncertainty; and the role of new technology in ameliorating or accentuating inequity and economic divides. Authors argue that a program for research designed to address these themes must be built on existing research and develop new, inter-disciplinary work that includes the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering.