Introduction and History
Nanotechnology is an emerging material science technology which provides a higher level of control over matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanotechnology's particularly small scale (10-7 to 10-9) improves physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials and systems. For instance, 10 nanometers are about 1000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.
For scientist to be able to control material, devices, and systems on a molecular scale opens up infinite possibilities in the nanotechnology field. Every existing science and technology field will become more advance and complex, especially the computer science field. There are endless possibilities of what nanotechnology can do to the name and make up of the computer, much like the concept of microcomputers that change the industry in the 1970's. A nanocomputers is a computer whose dimensions are nanoscopic. Today's computers are considered microcomputers and run off of micro processors. It will be nearly impossible to predict what nanotechnology will bring to humanity, whether it be good or for the bad.
Companies are responsible for adhering to accepted standards of ethical behavior. Any unethical use of information, software, hardware, or any other resources, either local to the department or externally accessible via research and design, will be treated like any other ethical violation. Ethics violations may also be made throughout product delivery. This paper will discuss the ethics of nanotechnology. The code of ethics will be reviewed in order to distinguish between ethical and unethical behavior. Finally, the effect on society due to this unethical behavior will be discussed along with my personal opinions.
Risks and Benefits
Since many people have different beliefs and prospectives about nanotechnologies and we should analyze the possible risks and benefits. Scientist and companies involved in the advancement of nanotechnologies have to be considerate to the people who will utilize these technologies. People may not know the risk so therefore a two-way process must be implemented. Scientist and the companies supporting the research of nanotechnologies must be able to understand the concerns of the general public as well as take responsibilities of any damages that they may cause to society.
Where will all the money come from to fund all the research? Who will monitor the research and insure that there will be a code of ethics followed? Funds will have to come from both private and public agencies. A code of ethics will have to be written to insure the safety and integrity of research and design. Without a code of ethics there will be no uniformity in anything that is produced or designed. Perhaps nanotechnology could aid in continuing ethical problems that exist in society today i.e. cloning, nano implants, reconstruction of cells.
Scientist at this time have no long term research or been able to carry out only a small number of experiments that show long term effect of certain nanotechnologies. Scientists are really in between whether nanotechnologies are a health risk or whether they will have no effect on the environment. But the more research and technical information we get the better for how nanotechnologies will effect the environment. Nanotechnologies could possibly bring better, cheaper disease diagnostics for people and well as major advancements in all science fields.
The potential risk may include:
Artificial nanotechnologies will be used by terrorists to create massive chemical and biological weapons §
Possible food chain interruption
Lack of knowledge
Nano Implements could adjust human DNA structure
Environmental hazards (waste management)
Effective delivery systems for drug and gene therapies
Body and organ imaging
Improve lasers and magnetic disk heads
Nanobots could travel through...
Cited:  Fritz, S. (ed) (2002) Understanding Nanotechnology. From the editors of Scientific American. Warner Books, New York.
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