FOEA Emerging tech Project

Towards a nano future?

By Gyorgy Scrinis, January 2005

If you believe the hype, the nanotechnology revolution will deliver a future of unprecedented material abundance for everyone, limitless energy, ecological sustainability, improved human health and performance, and smarter, cheaper and more efficient materials and products.

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Defining Nanotechnology out of existence

Q. What is Nanotechnology?

A. It is a breathtaking area of scientific inquiry that is going to redefine life on earth. It is about working with the building blocks of matter – at a nano scale – one billionth of a meter? 

Q. What are the implications of Nantoechnology?

A. It is going to be the basis of the next industrial revolution.

Q. Is there any need for regulation of nanotechnology in order to manage the various health and environmental risks that have been identified by groups like the Royal Society?

A. Oh, well, you see, strictly speaking, Nanotechnology doesn’t really exist… 

In the languate of politics, drivel, gobbledegook and nonsense abound.  Weasel words allow politicians and decisions makers to get out of the tighetest of corners and the language used to describe nanotechnology is no exception. To quote from George Orwell from his classic ‘the politics of language’, written in 1946 –  "This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse."

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