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Societal

Implications of
Nanotechnology

Dr. CH. Srinivas


Dept. of Physics,
Univ. College of Science,
Saifabad,
Osmania University

On decompose a human body into its


most basic ingredients
(i) A little tank each of Oxygen, Hydrogen and Nitrogen
(ii) A small loads of Carbon, Calcium, Salt
(iii) Tiny dots of around 20 other chemical elements
Natures own nanotechnology
nature transforms these inexpensive, abundant and non-living
ingredients into self-generating, self-perpetuating, selfrepairing,
self-aware creatures, whose total value is immeasurable.
technologically, we are trying to mimic the natures
nanotechnology.

Science, Technology and society are intrinsically interlinked


and characterized by mutual interdependency
Advances in any discipline inevitably lead to changes
in social relations, meanings and societal patterns.

Nanotechnologies may provide new solutions for the


millions of people in developing countries who lack
access to basic services, such as safe water, reliable
energy, health care and education.
Safe dirking water
Improving food security
Health diagnosis, monitoring
Environmental pollution
Energy
Energy Storage,
Storage, Production
Production

Most human-made nano particles do not appear in


nature, so living organisms may not have appropriate
means to deal with nano waste.
To properly assess the health hazards of engineered
nano particles the whole life cycle of these particles
needs to be evaluated, including their fabrication,
storage and distribution, application and potential
abuse, and disposal.
Systematic identification and assessment of the risks of
a new technology is essential. The potential risks might
arise as a result of the characteristics of the nano
particles themselves, the properties of products
manufactured with nano particles along with the
manufacturing process.

The nano policies and institutions should look at


issues relating to long-term strategic policies,
including intellectual property reforms,
monitoring regulation of research and
developments. Because of its unlimited potential,
nano-scale science and technology requires the
adoption of national and international policies.
However, a better understanding of the
potential benefits and hazards of nano scale
science and technology is essential because it
will provide policymakers with better tools to
take responsible choices.

According to W.F. Ogburn5, there is gap between


technical development of a society and its moral and
legal institutions i.e., cultural lag. It is a social fact that
while scientific and technological development in nano
material manufacturing is leaping ahead, legal regulation
lag behind and open a gap of trust between the people
and public authorities.
The triple helix i.e., academia, government and
industry, needs to be extended to a fourth dimension,
the civil society.
People dealing with the ethical aspects of
nanotechnology argue that this technology aggravate
the division of rich and poor i.e., known as 'nanodivide'

References:
[1] Nanotechnology, Governance, and Public Deliberation:
What Role for the Social Sciences - (Science
Communication
Volume 27 Number 2 December 2005 124 2005 Sage
Publications)
[2] The Royal Society Report on Nanotechnology and Related
Debates in the UK: a Participatory Governance Perspective
(Alison Mohr - Research Fellow), Centre for the Study of
Democracy.
[3] Invernizzi N, Foladori G and Maclurcan D (2008).
"Nanotechnology's Controversial Role for the South".
Science
Technology and Society 13 (1): 123148.
[4] Scrinis G, and Lyons K (2007). "The Emerging NanoCorporate Paradigm and the Transformation of Agri-Food
Systems". International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and
Food 15 (2).
[5] Ogburn, W.F., On Culture and Social Change, The
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1964.
[6] Drexler, K.E., Engines of Creation, Garden City, Anchor
Press/ Doubleaday, New York, 1986.

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