Nanoethics: fact, fiction and forecasting

David Horner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBN

Abstract

Computer Ethics has, as one of its aspirations, that of reducing the probability of the unforeseen and undesirable effects of computer technologies (Rogerson, 2002). The social control of information and communication technology, it is argued, depends on our ability precisely to foresee such undesirable and often unintended effects. We should strive, therefore, to sharpen our forecasting tools. In a recent paper I argued a highly sceptical case that such efforts to accurately predict the future consequences of advances in computer technologies were largely futile (Horner 2003). This claim proved controversial and was greeted itself with a high degree of scepticism. What seems to me a truism seems to others a heresy. The proponents of 'futurism' are reluctant to abandon a commitment to anticipating 'the shape of things to come' as a base for policy formation and the social control of technology. Intuitively it seems perverse perhaps to deny knowledge of the future given that we seem to operate with such knowledge with our every planned action. In this paper I wish to address some of the arguments that seem to sustain a belief in the power and usefulness of prediction in the context of recent anxieties about 'the coming era of nanotechnology'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Seventh International Conference, Challenges for the Citizen of the Information Society, Ethicomp 2004
EditorsT.W. Bynum, N. Pouloudi, S. Rogerson, T. Spyrou
Place of PublicationSyros, Greece
PublisherUniversity of the Aegean
Pages941-950
Number of pages10
Volume1
ISBN (Print)9607475259
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventProceedings of the Seventh International Conference, Challenges for the Citizen of the Information Society, Ethicomp 2004 - Syros, Greece, 14th-16th April 2004
Duration: 1 Jan 2004 → …

Conference

ConferenceProceedings of the Seventh International Conference, Challenges for the Citizen of the Information Society, Ethicomp 2004
Period1/01/04 → …

Fingerprint

Fiction
Social Control
Nanoethics
Computer Technology
Computer Ethics
Prediction
Nanotechnology
Wishes
Skepticism
Usefulness
Heresy
Shape of Things
Futurism
Information and Communication Technology
Anxiety
Aspiration

Cite this

Horner, D. (2004). Nanoethics: fact, fiction and forecasting. In T. W. Bynum, N. Pouloudi, S. Rogerson, & T. Spyrou (Eds.), Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference, Challenges for the Citizen of the Information Society, Ethicomp 2004 (Vol. 1, pp. 941-950). Syros, Greece: University of the Aegean.
Horner, David. / Nanoethics: fact, fiction and forecasting. Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference, Challenges for the Citizen of the Information Society, Ethicomp 2004. editor / T.W. Bynum ; N. Pouloudi ; S. Rogerson ; T. Spyrou. Vol. 1 Syros, Greece : University of the Aegean, 2004. pp. 941-950
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Horner, D 2004, Nanoethics: fact, fiction and forecasting. in TW Bynum, N Pouloudi, S Rogerson & T Spyrou (eds), Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference, Challenges for the Citizen of the Information Society, Ethicomp 2004. vol. 1, University of the Aegean, Syros, Greece, pp. 941-950, Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference, Challenges for the Citizen of the Information Society, Ethicomp 2004, 1/01/04.

Nanoethics: fact, fiction and forecasting. / Horner, David.

Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference, Challenges for the Citizen of the Information Society, Ethicomp 2004. ed. / T.W. Bynum; N. Pouloudi; S. Rogerson; T. Spyrou. Vol. 1 Syros, Greece : University of the Aegean, 2004. p. 941-950.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBN

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T1 - Nanoethics: fact, fiction and forecasting

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AB - Computer Ethics has, as one of its aspirations, that of reducing the probability of the unforeseen and undesirable effects of computer technologies (Rogerson, 2002). The social control of information and communication technology, it is argued, depends on our ability precisely to foresee such undesirable and often unintended effects. We should strive, therefore, to sharpen our forecasting tools. In a recent paper I argued a highly sceptical case that such efforts to accurately predict the future consequences of advances in computer technologies were largely futile (Horner 2003). This claim proved controversial and was greeted itself with a high degree of scepticism. What seems to me a truism seems to others a heresy. The proponents of 'futurism' are reluctant to abandon a commitment to anticipating 'the shape of things to come' as a base for policy formation and the social control of technology. Intuitively it seems perverse perhaps to deny knowledge of the future given that we seem to operate with such knowledge with our every planned action. In this paper I wish to address some of the arguments that seem to sustain a belief in the power and usefulness of prediction in the context of recent anxieties about 'the coming era of nanotechnology'.

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Horner D. Nanoethics: fact, fiction and forecasting. In Bynum TW, Pouloudi N, Rogerson S, Spyrou T, editors, Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference, Challenges for the Citizen of the Information Society, Ethicomp 2004. Vol. 1. Syros, Greece: University of the Aegean. 2004. p. 941-950