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Experts Explore the Dilemma of Regulating Nanotech and Other New Technologies
David Rejeski call them DTPs, "damn tough problems," that arise as new fields such as nanotechnology and synthetic biology emerge from labs around the world with consequences difficult to predict.
Too often, governments—and the public at large—can be caught flat-footed, unable to fully comprehend the risks and benefits of a rapidly emerging technology, Rejeski and others told a 30 April session of the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy. Traditional methods of risk assessment may not be up to the task. They urged adoption of what is being called "anticipatory governance," an approach that emphasizes preparation more than prediction.
For while it may be impossible to fully predict the potential consequences of a new technology, said Rejeski, the head of the Foresight and Governance Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C., there are ways for regulators to better anticipate possible impacts and more fully engage the public in the evaluation process.
To learn more about the Forum's discussion of how to regulate emerging technologies, read the full story.