International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Are We Ready for Nanotechnology? Redefining the Human in Public Policy
Liz Johnson, Paul Youngman

This article analyzes the purported future of nanoscience and technology (NST) as it relates to our understanding of what it is to be human and to the corresponding ethical dilemmas we face in light of this emerging science and technology. The authors contend that NST will be the technology modality that finally forces an explicit reformulation of our relationship with technology and therefore creates a new approach to public policy as a response to this transformative technology. We assert that a clear line dividing humans from their technologies or, more broadly, dividing the organic from the inorganic, has never existed, and that NST will be the technology that finally makes this important distinction clear. We argue, therefore, that public policy needs to be prepared for this new understanding by taking a species-centered approach to what promises to be a fundamental change in our concept of what it means to be human. Such an approach will more effectively address the complexity and purportedly unlimited application of this potentially planet-altering technology.

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