Livetweets: Nanotechnology – Unplugged


This afternoon I watched the webinar for the Nanotechnology Unplugged discussion from the University of Michigan Risk Science Center. Yes, it is here on campus; yes, I could have walked over, but the room was small and the walk was cold, so watching the webinar was a perfectly delightful solution.

Live tweets are below. The most interesting take home points for me were:
– There is a danger in clustering new technologies in a basket when they aren’t actually closely related in application or development, since this means that when it inevitably happens that something goes wrong with one, we lose out on the entire basket due to misunderstandings of the technology and public reaction.
– The questions of developing policy and guidelines for emerging technologies consistently fail because of our inability to imagine or predict how they will be used and what they might do.

At least that was my understanding. Skim the tweets, and if they intrigue you enough, watch the webinar when it is posted online (probably tomorrow).

#rscnano
wthashtag.com/rscnano
Transcript from February 7, 2011 to February 8, 2011

February 8, 2011
4:06 pm UMRSC: Follow Nanotechnology – Unplugged this afternoon on Twitter – or pose questions – using the #rscnano hashtag: http://tinyurl.com/4ser3sx
6:40 pm pfanderson: Will be livetweeting #rscnano in about 20 minutes, commenting on the #Nanotechnology #Risk #Science webinar. http://is.gd/Zaxbys
6:45 pm pfanderson: Nanotech governance by Parasarathy http://is.gd/7heXlG #rscnano
6:45 pm pfanderson: Nanomaterials safety by Martin Philbert http://is.gd/WPXrw9 #rscnano
6:46 pm pfanderson: A personal perspective on nanotechnology ? Mark Banaszak Holl http://is.gd/7D14C3 #rscnano
7:06 pm UM_SPH: Nanotechnology Unplugged starting at 10 past 2 Meechigan time. #rscnano Anyone tuning in via web?
7:09 pm pfanderson: @UM_SPH I am! Was too cold to walk over. Nano Unplugged, starting now! #rscnano
7:11 pm UM_SPH: Panelists: UM SPH Dean Martin Philbert, Mark Banaszak Holl, and Shobita Parthasarathy. Andrew Maynard. http://www.sph.umich.edu #rscnano
7:11 pm pfanderson: Anyone interested in nanotech or its benefits/dangers check out http://is.gd/Zaxbys #rscnano
7:12 pm pfanderson: Nano possibly the next industrial revolution, tech of the future, risks of the future. #rscnano What are the downsides? Balance?
7:14 pm UM_SPH: Flip side to “the tech of future”: will it be too dangerous to invest in? Need to cut through hype. #rscnano
7:14 pm pfanderson: What is nano really about? Where does hype drop, tech start? BH: Nano=10,000x smaller than a human hair (scale) #rscnano
7:15 pm pfanderson: Banaszak Holl (BH): The impact of the microscope, electron microscopes, nanoscopes, each changed perceptions of the world #rscnano
7:16 pm pfanderson: BH: Soap works off of a nanotech scale. Rose Window in Cathedral uses nanoscale particles fr ~1200AD #rscnano The revolution’s here!
7:16 pm UMRSC: RT @UM_SPH: Flip side to “the tech of future”: will it be too dangerous to invest in? Need to cut through hype. #rscnano
7:17 pm pfanderson: BH: EM scope, new nanoscale tools cheaper than a car, more people have access, faster progress #rscnano “We can make a better soap” (AM)
7:17 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Soap, cell phones, etc show us revolution is already happening at nano level, but we can make/understand more with new nano tools.
7:18 pm pfanderson: BH: Our ability to understand ourselves and our bodies/biology. #rscnano Study the body expliciting at nano scales.
7:19 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Still time to tune in for free online #SPH #nano discussion at http://www.sph.umich.edu/scr/riskcenter/unplugged/nano/
7:19 pm UMRSC: Nanotechnology has already changed our lives #rscnano
7:19 pm pfanderson: AM: If you do something new and different, it brings in new and different risks. #rscnano
7:20 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Philbert: Material-centric modification or creation of new materials has been how we look at nano for a while.
7:20 pm pfanderson: Martin Philbert (MP): can look at risk from the materials side of the question or the biology side of things. #rscnano
7:21 pm pfanderson: MP: We simply don’t fully understand how the body reacts at the nano scale. Same is true for chemicals. How to anticipate damage? #rscnano
7:21 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano: New is biological level for nano, moving into area we don’t fully understand. But same true with chemicals, new molecules we make.
7:22 pm pfanderson: MP: Can you ever prove that something is safe? “It’s the dose that makes the poison.” #rscnano
7:23 pm pfanderson: MP: Regulatory agencies struggle with this all the time. How to define safety and possible harm, risk/benefit balance #rscnano
7:24 pm pfanderson: MP: We understand for many chemicals the acute challenges, but struggle with chronic/environmental exposure #rscnano
7:24 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Can we ever prove something safe? Toxicologists belief it’s all about the dose. We still use platinum to treat cancer.
7:25 pm pfanderson: AM: “what we don’t know, and what to do about it?” #rscnano < CORE question
7:25 pm pfanderson: AM: Does nano give us to tools to solve longstanding problems in a responsible way? #rscnano
7:26 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano We may understand/correct acute toxicity issues w/ nano but what about chronic impact? How to push nanotech forward responsibly?
7:26 pm pfanderson: Shobita Parthasarathy (SP): The challenge of governance is not restricted to nano, but broader, includes all EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES #rscnano
7:28 pm pfanderson: SP: Old paradigms don't deal with new knowledge, inflexibility becomes political. #rscnano What lessons we learned from earlier bio probs?
7:28 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Challenge of governance not unique to nano – emerging technologies all work w/ regulatory framework. Lessons learned from biotech.
7:29 pm pfanderson: SP: Acute vs chronic as important perspective, depends on the folks you bring into the room narrows the question in certain ways #rscnano
7:29 pm UMRSC: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano Challenge of governance not unique to nano – emerging technologies all work w/ regulatory framework. Lessons learned from biotech.
7:30 pm pfanderson: SP: Science based problems versus VALUE-based problems. Who is an expert becomes a different question. #rscnano
7:30 pm pfanderson: SP: In the production of knowledge values are embedded. The whole process of policy making includes both. #rscnano
7:31 pm pfanderson: BH: Scientists and engineers are NOT in a position to dictate policy, few policymakers highly educated in science #rscnano
7:32 pm pfanderson: SP: Pushing importance of scientific advisory committees, MP/AM disagree #rscnano
7:32 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano "Rare thing is ability to define science-based vs value-based issues." Process of policy-making is mix – 8% scientists in Congress!
7:32 pm pfanderson: MP: NO connection between the science and the decisions, which are made despite the science to further re-election #rscnano
7:33 pm pfanderson: MP: example of pain medicines that have been banned for political reasons, not medical. #rscnano
7:34 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano "Scientists aren't working to get reelected." Take off-label drugs – how does society deal w/ risk in general?
7:35 pm pfanderson: SP: Personal values come into play, thinking broadly nds experts who think deeply abt intersection of values/tech/science/policy #rscnano
7:35 pm pfanderson: SP: "we do a very poor job of dealing in a SOBER way of emerging technologies" #rscnano
7:36 pm pfanderson: I like this question from Forsyth Tech: Will multi-disciplinary education be a topic? #rscnano
7:37 pm pfanderson: Q: FDA/EPA regulatory agencies, are they ready for this topic? A: MP-We have dealt with this by de-funding the agencies #rscnano
7:37 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Question from HMP's Lantz: Can FDA, EPA, regulatory deal with values vs. science? Are they ready for nano?
7:37 pm pfanderson: I suspect I misunderstood what was happening there #rscnano
7:38 pm pfanderson: MP: "We are always engineering toward the perfect, and there is no perfect." #rscnano
7:39 pm pfanderson: MP: "In the RL, it is about taking the imperfect info available and making the best decision possible." #rscnano
7:39 pm pfanderson: BH: Using Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring as example of how we STILL struggle with regulatory issue brought up 20 year ago. #rscnano
7:40 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Philbert says scientists believe their answers will become policy. B-Hall says cancer questions of Silent Spring still out there.
7:40 pm pfanderson: A: SP: The world is a complex place. One suite of regs may or may not make a diff. (Stem cell) #rscnano
7:41 pm pfanderson: AM: Can knee-jerk reaction create barrier to developing new tech such that it block the benefits of that tech (cost of not having) #rscnano
7:42 pm UMRSC: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano Question from HMP's Lantz: Can FDA, EPA, regulatory deal with values vs. science? Are they ready for nano?
7:42 pm pfanderson: MP: Safe comes first, effective next. Therapeutic balance is diff for OTC vs cancer Tx. #rscnano
7:43 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Maynard: Knee-jerk reactions creating policy-stifling science? Or does regulation help scientists get good products developed?
7:43 pm pfanderson: BH: What's critical is that we are careful about the exposure, especially uncontrolled exposure. #rscnano MP: Then you get to Deployment
7:44 pm pfanderson: MP: Intended life cycle must continue analysis with disposal, what happens after planned lifespan of the tech. Source apportionment #rscnano
7:44 pm pfanderson: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano "Rare thing is ability to define science-based vs value-based issues." Process of policy-making is mix – 8% scientists in Congress!
7:45 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Is this lovefest for federal regulators? But wait: nano materials in cars go past intended lifecycle – need complex safe analysis.
7:45 pm pfanderson: AM: What about agents that create harm in ways that we have not anticipated? #rscnano
7:46 pm pfanderson: "You're not exposed to the nano materials in the Rose Window unless you suck on the glass for a millenium" #rscnano
7:47 pm pfanderson: BH: We R making things work in a more sophisticated way w/our own biologics. We want that, they'll be more effective, but new risks #rscnano
7:48 pm pfanderson: "The body only has a certain number of ways of responding to harm." #rscnano Imflammatory, necrotic, interrupt heart, etc
7:48 pm pfanderson: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano Is this lovefest for federal regulators? But wait: nano materials in cars go past intended lifecycle – need complex safe analysis.
7:48 pm SameConspiracy: RT @pfanderson: "The body only has a certain number of ways of responding to harm." #rscnano Imflammatory, necrotic, interrupt heart, etc
7:49 pm pfanderson: MP: There is no connection yet btwn quantum analysis and toxicity of a material #rscnano
7:49 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano People get excited w/ serum oxide, #quantum – Docs will see acute side, know when something goes wrong. But chronic, environmental?
7:50 pm pfanderson: Q: Erosion of the precautionary principle. "First do no harm" Does this constrain innovation? Should it? #rscnano
7:50 pm pfanderson: A: Did we really ever HAVE a solid engagement in the "precautionary principle"? (SP) #rscnano
7:50 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Ques from HMP: Jacobson: Is precautionary principle eroding?
7:51 pm pfanderson: SP: The current regulatory cautions we have are based on historic assumptions. #rscnano
7:51 pm pfanderson: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano People get excited w/ serum oxide, #quantum – Docs will see acute side, know when something goes wrong. But chronic, environmental?
7:52 pm pfanderson: AM: What about a civil society that is based more on individual responses? How does this feed into the decisionmaking process? #rscnano
7:53 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Is the problem that traditional way of thinking about risks and benefits not working w/ nano? Patience needed for society's will?
7:53 pm pfanderson: BH: In 1900 only about 10% graduated from high school, peaked at 70% in 60s. #rscnano Small #s have educated understanding of tech risks
7:54 pm pfanderson: SP: But they have instincts about what is worth it, what is too risky, they still contribute value to dialog. #rscnano
7:55 pm pfanderson: SP: Public has other kinds of knowledge BH: Our instincts fail us here because of the scale of the problems. #rscnano
7:56 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Public knowledge & engagement enough to offer value to innovators & policymakers? Are public instincts wrong? Or future market key?
7:56 pm pfanderson: BH: Our instincts fail us mightly. We don't have instincts about cell phones. Instincts were put in place long before. #rscnano
7:56 pm pfanderson: They need an R-master🙂 Super synthesist of information. (Gordon Dickson's book) #rscnano
7:57 pm pfanderson: MP: By talking about it, we've disturbed the system. Heisenberg Principle. Niece: Cellphones not relevant as risk, shampoos are. #rscnano
7:58 pm pfanderson: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano Is the problem that traditional way of thinking about risks and benefits not working w/ nano? Patience needed for society's will?
7:58 pm pfanderson: AM: Questions shape our thoughts, focus on issues that may or may not be most important #rscnano
7:58 pm pfanderson: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano Public knowledge & engagement enough to offer value to innovators & policymakers? Are public instincts wrong? Or future market key?
7:59 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Closing: what's most exciting about #nanoscale science & public health possibilities?
7:59 pm UMRSC: RT @pfanderson: AM: Questions shape our thoughts, focus on issues that may or may not be most important #rscnano
7:59 pm pfanderson: MP: Biggest cause for hope is that nanotech is PLURAL, and all very different. Fear is that lumping them together will tarnish all. #rscnano
8:00 pm pfanderson: BH: *WE* are a wonderful nano machine, I hope we don't ban ourselves. <<I've been thinking that, too. #rscnano
8:00 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Philbert: Need to stop pluralizing all nanotechnologies as entity – when something bad happens, we'll lose out on potential good.
8:00 pm UMRSC: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano Closing: what's most exciting about #nanoscale science & public health possibilities?
8:01 pm UMRSC: RT @pfanderson: MP: Biggest cause for hope is that nanotech is PLURAL, and all very different. Fear is that lumping them together will tarnish all. #rscnano
8:01 pm pfanderson: SP: Concern: How should we engage with e-tech broadly? Will we thinking about that, or simplify by butting of heads/power? #rscnano
8:02 pm UM_SPH: #rscnano Policy shouldn't be war between hype for & fear of emerging technologies. Need less adversarial head-butting on #nanotechnology
8:02 pm UMRSC: #rscnano Comments and questions will remain open until 2/15.
8:03 pm pfanderson: Q: Antje Grobe 2: What kind of participation exercises R running, how toensure results R well perceived in policy making process? #rscnano
8:04 pm UM_SPH: If you missed Nanotechnology Unplugged event, search #rscnano summary on Twitter.
8:04 pm UMRSC: #rscnano Webcast will be available in 24 hours.
8:05 pm pfanderson: Q: Forsyth Tech 2: Use of instinct 4 effect of future impact of disruptive tech, wd B like BBS in 1991 compared 2 our 2011 internet #rscnano
8:06 pm pfanderson: "Webcast will be available on our website 24 hours from webcast. The link is umriskcenter.org under events.” #rscnano
8:06 pm pfanderson: RT @UM_SPH: If you missed Nanotechnology Unplugged event, search #rscnano summary on Twitter.
8:06 pm pfanderson: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano Policy shouldn’t be war between hype for & fear of emerging technologies. Need less adversarial head-butting on #nanotechnology
8:06 pm pfanderson: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano Philbert: Need to stop pluralizing all nanotechnologies as entity – when something bad happens, we’ll lose out on potential good.
8:09 pm pfanderson: RT @UM_SPH: #rscnano Question from HMP’s Lantz: Can FDA, EPA, regulatory deal with values vs. science? Are they ready for nano?
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