The UK seems to be making a habit of the use of comedians and actors at the launch of nanotech reports, and this weeks release of the Nanologue project’s final report this week was no exception. Rather than simply reading out a list of conclusions and recommendations, Nanologue hired a few actors to communicate the various nanotech scenarios envisaged by the project, which did an excellent job of communicating the projects visions for the future of nanotech for the fifty or so of us at the launch in London’s Science Museum.
The three scenarios envisaged by the team were well thought out and played out by the actors, but also a little disturbing. The first envisaged a future where a disaster at a nanoparticle producer had provoked an anti nanotech backlash, the second where regulation was so tight as to make innovation almost impossible, and the third where everything moves much faster than expected, leading to major benefits but leaving politicians and regulators floundering in the wake of the technologies.
As always, the future will be a complex mixture of perhaps all three, but projects such as Nanologue do at least manage to communicate to non scientists (which after all is most of the population) some of the risks and benefits of nanotechnologies.