The Nano-world to Come. Toward the Nanotechnological Society

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It is widely believed that society can only run after scientists’ discoveries and technologists’ inventions; if they speed up, the run-up have to be out of breath and changes resulting therefrom are describable only in terms of a delayed adaptation. However, are we really sure that society remains still the same, while science discovers and technology makes innovations? Is society always and inevitably doomed to be late? Nanotechnologies provide a good opportunity to try to answer these questions.

From the back cover: «Nanotechnologies, together with biotechnologies, neuroscience and informatics, promise to change both our world and ourselves. The possible, stunning and breathtaking effects have to do with molecular electronics and quantum computers, super-efficient solar cells and biosensors. Maybe it is not far the day of nano-drugs and nano-dosage, or the day when nano-robots will be injected in order to “repair” or replace damaged cells one by one. Yet the idea that social change is speeding up thanks to techno-scientific development is deceptive: society is not on late and technoscience is not ahead, because they evolve together. As argued in the book, we still live in a nanotechnological society: what appears as a hypothetical future becomes our feverish present.»

Federico Neresini is professor in Science Technology and Society at the University of Padova. He is author of many essays on national and international journals, and recently edited the Science in Society Facts and Figures (2010, together with Massimiano Bucchi) and Cells and citizens. Biotechnology in the public sphere (Sironi publishing house).