The September 4-14 speaking tour is being organized by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ). Please see the abstract below for an explanation of nanotechnology and its significance to our future.
If you are interested in arranging another speaking event or conducting an interview with Mike while he is in your area, please contact him as soon as possible.
Nanotechnology is the name given to a broad field of science and applications. At its most basic level -- called molecular manufacturing -- it involves the precise control of nanoscale structures to make shapes, devices, machines, and, ultimately, powerful products. It is not hyperbole to say that molecular manufacturing represents the next Industrial Revolution, a tool for radically transforming the world of the early 21st century. Whether that transformation is peaceful and beneficial or horrendously destructive is yet to be determined. Although advanced nanotechnology carries great promise, unwise or malicious use could seriously threaten the survival of the human race.
The future of nanotechnology, once the stuff of science fiction, is rapidly approaching reality. We may be less than 15 years away from atomically precise, computer-controlled, inexpensive fabrication of complete products. The social, economic, and geopolitical implications of this technology are staggering. Rapid prototyping will allow product versions to be built and tested in hours. Nanoscale construction will provide direct access to biomedical function at the cellular level. Automated fabrication from the bottom up will allow even the most intricate structures, including sensor arrays, displays, and massive supercomputers, to be built at no extra cost. One of the many possibilities is a system that could watch everyone, everywhere, all the time. Such an infrastructure could store, analyze, and index everything it observes and provide a godlike four-dimensional view to whoever controls the system.
Like electricity or computers before it, nanotechnology will bring greatly improved efficiency and productivity in many areas of human endeavor. In its mature form, it will have significant impact on almost all industries and all parts of society. Personal nanofactories may offer better built, longer lasting, cleaner, safer, and smarter products for the home, for communications, for medicine, for transportation, for agriculture, and for industry in general. However, as a general-purpose technology, nanotech will be dual-use, meaning that in addition to its civilian applications, it will have military uses as well -- making far more powerful weapons and tools of surveillance. Thus, it represents not only wonderful benefits for humanity, but also grave risks.
Without some regulation, advanced nanotechnology could be extremely dangerous -- but desirable to many people. In addition, manufacturing systems probably will be portable and easy to duplicate. This means it will be hard to control the use of the technology. However, overly restrictive policy will encourage uncontrolled release and a rampant black market. The challenges we face are similar to many not yet solved -- but with higher stakes -- and today there are many more questions than answers. Because the transformational impacts of molecular manufacturing could occur quickly and with little warning, obtaining a thorough understanding of these issues is essential and urgent.
Mike Treder, executive director of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN), is a professional writer, speaker, and policy advocate with a background in technology and communications company management. After attending the University of Washington in Seattle, with a major in Biology, Mike's career in the private sector included stints as manager of radio stations in major markets, and with a large telecommunications firm. In 2002, he co-founded CRN, a non-profit research and advocacy organization that promotes public awareness and education, and works for the crafting of effective policy to maximize benefits and reduce dangers.
In addition to his work with CRN, Mike is a consultant to the Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University, serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Lifeboat Foundation, is a Research Fellow with the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, is on the Nanotech Briefs Editorial Advisory Board, is a consultant to the Future Technologies Advisory Group, and is a member of the World Future Society.
Mike has published more than 20 articles and papers, and has been interviewed numerous times by the media. As an accomplished presenter on the societal implications of emerging technologies, he has addressed conferences and groups in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Brazil. Mike lives in New York City.
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (http://CRNano.org), a research and advocacy organization concerned with the major societal and environmental implications of advanced nanotechnology, is headquartered in New York. CRN is an affiliate of World Care, an international, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.
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