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Ethics And Nanotech JøRgensen 26 Nov 2009


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Ethics And Nanotech JøRgensen 26 Nov 2009

  1. 1. Ethics and nanotechnology – aspects of democracy, legitimacy and sustainable development Farm Inn, 26 Nov 2009 Michael Søgaard Jørgensen The Science Shop c/o DTU Management Technical University of Denmark 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark [email_address]
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Nanoethics => nanogovernance </li></ul><ul><li>The nanochallenge </li></ul><ul><li>A model for governance of nanotechnology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deconstructing visions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Systems perspective on nanotechnologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Life cycle assessment of nanotechnologies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organising nanogovernance </li></ul>
  3. 3. From nanoethics to nanogovernance <ul><li>Ethics is about what is right and wrong </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics is about how we find out what is right and wrong </li></ul><ul><li>Today ’governance’ is often used about how issues are managed in a society </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical discussions tend to become about personal commitment and blaming </li></ul><ul><li>… .but the relation between technology and society is much more complex than that </li></ul><ul><li>Nanogovernance </li></ul>
  4. 4. The nanochallenge! <ul><li>Technologies are shaped – not given from nature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We participate as researchers in the shaping </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Co-shaping of technology and society </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technologies are not good or bad: which societal needs are addressed how </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nanotechnologies are not smart and green </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Risks and potentials – shaped and assessed in a life cycle perspective </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Many societal areas addressed with nanotechnologies <ul><li>Nanotechnologies are enabling technologies </li></ul><ul><li>=> claimed to be useful in almost all areas of the society </li></ul><ul><li>=> challenging many social areas </li></ul><ul><li>Research and development of nanotechnologies is a highly competitive area => big funds to compete for </li></ul><ul><li>Increased focus of universities on spin-off companies, patents etc. </li></ul><ul><li>=> confidentiality maybe a hindrance to public insight and scrutiny into the research </li></ul>
  6. 6. Hypes and hopes <ul><li>Nanoresearchers may feel they have to promise fast societal benefits from the research (Norwegian Research Council) </li></ul><ul><li>Hope => hype? </li></ul><ul><li>Some nanoresearchers afraid of public dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>… ..Others interested </li></ul><ul><li>… ..To avoid the same critique as with genetic modification in food and agriculture </li></ul>
  7. 7. Co-shaping of technology and society (1) <ul><li>Few would probably disagree in the development and use of new systems of small sensors combining ICT and nanotechnology </li></ul><ul><li>However.... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NGO’s and researchers would object if the sensors are used to change focus away from pro-active prevention of pollution at the source to clean-up when sensors report problems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If we should believe nanosensors should solve the pollution problem.... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...the lack of data should have been the reason for previous pollution..... </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Co-shaping of technology and society (2) <ul><li>Not a linear development from need to research to innovation to application </li></ul><ul><li>Not good or bad properties of technologies per se </li></ul><ul><li>What agenda(s) are built around a technology by who? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Case: Changing agendas about genetic modified plants <ul><li>GM-researchers and companies pointed to pesticide resistant plants as </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ An efficient agricultural strategy’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NGOs pointed to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the risk of getting locked into a pesticide-dependent track </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the risk of transfer of genetic material coding for pesticide resistance to other related plants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>organic farming and its principles of controlling weeds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Industry called GM ‘an environmental strategy’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Using less pesticides </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Practice: Some farmers use more pesticides with GMO-plants </li></ul>
  10. 10. Some environmental potentials and risks related to nanotechnology <ul><li>Environmental potentials related to nanotechnology </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical synthesis can take place at “normal” pressure and temperature </li></ul><ul><li>Non-toxic catalysts </li></ul><ul><li>Nano-scale design of materials can increase speed and efficiency of processes </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental and health risks related to nanotechnology </li></ul><ul><li>Hazardous solvents used in the manufacturing of C60 molecules </li></ul><ul><li>Most nano-particles are not biodegradable </li></ul><ul><li>Nano-tubes have the same material characteristics as asbestos fibres </li></ul>
  11. 11. The “nanochallenge” in short <ul><li>The interests and the uncertainties are big </li></ul><ul><li>Need for focus on robust development with focus on democracy and legitimacy (Gibbons et al) </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid wasting money on solving (non-)-problems in un-sustainable ways – and thereby take away the focus from other and more legitimate problems and solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid solving problems in a non-sustainable way </li></ul>
  12. 12. A governance model based on integrated design <ul><li>(De)construction of scripts and scenarios in research and development </li></ul><ul><li>Systems approach to nanotechnology </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental assessments based on dialogue and life cycle perspective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>of visions about nanotechnologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>of design processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>of practice applying nanotechnologies </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. (1) Deconstruction of scripts and scenarios in R&D visions <ul><li>A starting point in the problems, which a certain nanotechnology (area) - according to the researchers and/or designers - is supposed to solve. </li></ul><ul><li>The overall questions to ask: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By whom are the addressed problems recognised as problems? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By whom is the suggested technological change recognised as an acceptable solution? </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. OILFRESH (1) <ul><li>Problems addressed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>French fries too fat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heating too long </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oil disposal frequency </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Product </li></ul><ul><li>The OilFresh device is already in use in a number of individual restaurants. </li></ul><ul><li>Future clients : large fast-food chains such as KFC, McDonald’s, and Burger King. </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cut oil cost to half </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces cooking time & temperature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives healthier & better tasting fries </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. OILFRESH (2) <ul><li>The OilFresh catalyst system is based on nanoparticle technology. </li></ul><ul><li>Nanoceramic catalytic pellets are fused together to create a huge surface area on the catalyst surface. </li></ul><ul><li>Extends the fry life of oils by reducing oxidative degradation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students at Nanotechnology and society course, DTU, Jan 2008 </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Sociology of technology: Script and description <ul><li>Script: A kind of knowledge claim that lays out a program of action ’the designer’ (un-)consciously assume will be followed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A manuscript for the role of the technology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>De-scription : the accept / resistance / modification of the inscribed to the script </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is nano frying oil used for promoting healthy fried food? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can consumers manage not to eat more fried food? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Sociology of technology: Enrollment and translation <ul><li>How actors enroll other actors or non-humans into postions that suit their purposes </li></ul><ul><li>How problems are translated to enable a solution with a certain technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fight obesity with nano enhanced frying oil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fight bacterial problems with nano silver </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Should we fight bacteria? “ The Silver Nano Health System is a comprehensive system developed by Samsung to improve your quality of life by eliminating bacteria from the places that count most.....Just as a dirty washer never truly cleans clothes… Samsung has found a solution in the safety of silver , ionizing silver into ions for an effective coating that lets your home appliances remain remarkably free of bacteria and odors. ”
  19. 19. Actor-networks around nano-silver (I) <ul><li>Group discussion: </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the humans and non-humans which Samsung tries to enroll in a network around nano-silver on household equipment? </li></ul><ul><li>What could be the problems with use of nanosilver? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Actor-networks around nano-silver (II) <ul><li>Governmental authorities and researchers are concerned about </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Harming the waste water treatment facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating silver-resistant bacteria => reduce/prevent the use of silver as a anti-microbial agent in the prevention of infections in serious burn-wounds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Swedish governmental institutions are no longer allowed to buy nano-silver products </li></ul><ul><li>Samsung has had to redraw at least one of their products from a country </li></ul>
  21. 21. Actor-networks around nano-silver (III) <ul><li>Technology push from nanotechnology companies – sometimes without knowledge about the product fields they want to sell to </li></ul><ul><li>Technology pull from lowtech companies – e.g. within textiles - without knowledge about the nanotechnology and its working principles </li></ul>
  22. 22. To make a technology ’work’ in a robust way <ul><li>Technological innovations must be supported by a corresponding evolution of social and institutional support and control </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To avoid a widespread use of nanosilver </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To avoid that fast food chains use a product like Oilfresh to promote ’healthy fried food’ => a higher consumption of fried food </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Who should take of these uncertainties and when? </li></ul><ul><li>What (manu)scripts are we as researchers part of (writing)? </li></ul>
  23. 23. Governance model (2): Systems’ approach to nanotechnology <ul><li>Should ensure that focus is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not only on single properties or features, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>for example the tiny dimensions of a nanotechnology , </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but the whole system , which a nanotechnology or a nanotechnology-based product is part of </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Including the need for supporting infrastructures like quality standards, waste (water) management systems etc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. facilities to treat the waste water from households having nano silver products </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Governance model (3): Env. assessment based on dialogue and life cycle perspective <ul><li>A life cycle approach... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>where not only the use of the technology, but also the manufacturing of it, the use and in the post-use phase are described and assessed. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>At the research and innovation stages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A life-cycle screening of possible future applications, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on the MECO-concept (Materials, Energy, Chemicals, Others (Occupational Health and Safety etc.)) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialogue about ‘relevant’ environmental aspects and the possibilities for prevention </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. The principle behind a life cycle inventory of a product <ul><li>The interaction between </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Systems/infrastructures/other products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… .in the different links of the life cycle/product chain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Follow the product through the possible, intended or actual life cycles </li></ul>
  26. 26. Nanospeed badminton racket in life cycle perspective Materials, Energy, Chemicals and Others matrix for the different life cycle stages of a “nanospeed” badminton racket. Nanospeed racket Raw materials Production Use Disposal M aterials Fossil fuels Waste resin E nergy Vacuum pump Melting and curing C hemicals Chlorinated and other solvents Nanoparticles released from waste? O ther aspects, including occupational health and safety Occupational handling of nanoparticles
  27. 27. Motor oil with nanoparticles in life cycle perspective The Materials, Energy, Chemicals and Others matrix for the different life cycle stages of a motor oil. Oil lubricant Raw materials Production Use Disposal M aterials Fossil fuels E nergy Electricity Improved lubrication? C hemicals Release of nanoparticles? Nanoparticles released from waste? O ther aspects, including occupational health and safety Occupational handling of nanoparticles
  28. 28. Environmental potential from a nanotechnology-based product!? (Steinfeldt et al., 2004) CC = Car Coating Steinfelt et al 2004: Globalwarming potential (kg CO2-equivalents per m2 coated surface
  29. 29. Risk = hazard + exposure Use/process (frequency, duration, amount) Source: Poul Bo Larsen <ul><li>The properties making nanomaterials attractive, may be those that also make them hazardous : </li></ul><ul><li>High reactivity => highly reactive in the body </li></ul><ul><li>Organic solvents dissolve fat and dirt => damage the brain </li></ul>
  30. 30. Typology of nanomaterials (Hansen et al 2007)
  31. 31. A general model for qualitative assessment of work environment <ul><li>Assessment of: </li></ul><ul><li>The health impact from the chemical, material etc. </li></ul><ul><li>The level of exposure (how closed is the system, how much handling of the material, exposure during cleaning, accident etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>The duration of exposure (everyday, often, seldom etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Description and maybe qualitative scores (1-3) => scores 1 - 27 </li></ul>
  32. 32. A general model for qualitative assessment of environment <ul><li>Assessment of: </li></ul><ul><li>The environmental impact from the chemical, material etc. </li></ul><ul><li>The level of disemination (how widespread use of the product, how closed is the system, exposure during cleaning, accident etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>The level of exposure (everyday, often, seldom etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Description and maybe qualitative scores (1-3) => scores 1 - 27 </li></ul>
  33. 33. Reactions in lung alveoles from particles and nanoparticles Nanoparticles released into the blood Bigger particles easier digested by macrophages Fine particles Ultrafine particles < 0.1. nm Nano particles, environment and health. From Ecological Council (in Danish)
  34. 34. Environmental strategies <ul><li>Dilution </li></ul><ul><li>End-of-pipe </li></ul><ul><li>Cleaner technology </li></ul><ul><li>Cleaner products </li></ul>
  35. 35. Source reduction: Nanoparticles (1) <ul><li>Product focus: inherently dispersive </li></ul><ul><li>Surface modification: hydrophilic coating reduces inflammatory responses </li></ul><ul><li>Quantum dots: coating of CdSe dots with ZnS or organic compounds reduces cytotoxicity </li></ul>
  36. 36. Source reduction: Nanoparticles (2) <ul><li>Product focus: not inherently dispersive: </li></ul><ul><li>What happens during cleaning, wear, tear and corrosion </li></ul><ul><li>Release as original nanoparticles? </li></ul><ul><li>Release as larger aggregates? </li></ul><ul><li>No comparative studies with non-nano products </li></ul><ul><li>Experience with material design preventing nanoparticle release could be useful </li></ul>
  37. 37. Need for democratic governance <ul><li>Strategies for how and when different actor groups are given a voice in relation to science and technology and how decisions are made on issues of public concern: </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusiveness, democratic control, discursive quality </li></ul>
  38. 38. Aspects of governance <ul><li>Openness vs. relevance of dialogue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How open is the agenda setting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much is the dialogue related to relevant decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inclusion vs. exclusion – of aspects and actors </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>of the problems addressed by nanotechnology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>of the solutions offered by nanotechnology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>of other solutions to the problem </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. : Case: NanoCap ( “Nanotechnology Capacity Building NGOs”) <ul><li>Deepen the understanding of environmental, occupational health and safety risks and ethical aspects of nanotechnology </li></ul><ul><li>A structured discussion is organised between environmental NGOs, trade unions, academic researchers and other stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Earlier project: </li></ul>
  40. 40. Governance as an ongoing process <ul><li>Governance activities may have different types of results: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increasing knowledge of the CSO and/or the scientists (for example about technology, social impact or policy strategies), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing new network relations between CSOs and researchers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing actions, like </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(re)framing a discourse, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>social mobilisation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>getting influence on a research strategy </li></ul></ul></ul>
  41. 41. Room for democracy & legitimacy? <ul><li>Are researchers willing to engage in dialogue about the legitimacy of the problems and the sustainability of the solutions they are researching? </li></ul><ul><li>Are governments willing to discuss research strategies with civil society organisations with focus on problems and not on specific technical solutions? </li></ul>