Saturday, May 21, 2005

Think globally, act globally

I wrote a recommendation for Daniel Moore, a Ph.D. candidate at Georgia Tech, for the Sam Nunn Security Program fellowship. Fortunately for Daniel, the program overlooked the recommendation from such an obvious security risk as me, and decided to accept him. So, in addition to his Ph.D. work, Daniel will study nanotech issues as they relate to national and international security. Daniel is a blogger, himself, but I'll insist that he funnel all sensitive information over to NanoBot. Here's an excerpt from Daniel's application letter. I think it shows the makings of a truly responsible scientist:

    mooreMilitary applications of nanotechnology have a potential rivaling that of nuclear weapons to radically change the balance of power and the security dilemmas of the world. Furthermore, the development of nanotechnology requires the cooperation of a vast number of scientists located at many different institutions around the world. The security concerns over the development of nanotechnology are many. It behooves both scientists and policy makers to understand all the implications of the technology. As we approach and enter an age in which material, structure, and device are virtually indistinguishable from each other, the contributions and challenges that the sciences and engineering disciplines bring to the security of the world are enormous. It is becoming increasingly obvious that this relationship between science and international security needs to be well understood and enhanced.
What Daniel writes about "material, structure and device" is an excellent point, and carries over to nonmilitary applications, too. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, set up to evaluate systems as either drugs or devices, is having a difficult time with this convergence. What Daniel says about cooperation from scientists around the world also shows the way forward, beyond questions of self-interest. It's already happening, through informal and formal channels, and the difference between technology that's purely Made in America or elsewhere is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Nice work, Daniel. I look forward to learning more about this through you. (That is, if you don't have to shoot me after you tell me.)

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