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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
Abstract of "Ethical Challenges in Nanotechnology"
Malay Kumar Banerjee
Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur, Howrah 711 103 India
The hidden potential in nanotechnology to cause a paradigm shift in the quality of human lives is already identified. Needless to say that, as in any other technology, nanotechnology is also not void of risk. The excitement in technology discovery quite often delays the process of risk assessment of the concerned technology. While people think of the new form of lives in the nanoregime, it becomes of paramount importance to adequately address the issues of boundary conditions that define the domain that the discoverable technology should be given to dwell within. Unless the intellectualism of human beings is integrated aright with nature's wisdom, the very purpose of the discovery gets defeated. The greatest challenge before the scientist and technologist is to secure the power of balancethat is, the ability to define dos and don'ts. Taking resort to nanobiotechnology for health care and food security by way of gene therapy or genetic modification of food items is not yet time tested and hence the risk of genetic pollution deserves special attention. When the distant genetic barrier is overcome through artificial mutations, the interaction of the new form of organic material, thus produced, with its surrounding environment is required to be appropriately understood in order that the disastrous consequences can be avoided. Equally important, the invisible nanoparticles can bring about immense environment hazards. The present deliberation attempts to analyze the situation on the basis of social ethics and not on the basis of the poorly defined term "morality." The ethical responsibilities of both the technology developers and the technology recipients have been tried to be identified on a futuristic basis. The role of political advocacy in this regard in a country and its compatibility with those of other countries are also highlighted.
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