‘Nanotechnology’ is the new frontier of science and technology in Europe and around the world, working at the scale of individual molecules. Top scientists as well as policymakers worldwide praise the benefits it would bring to the entire society and economy. Nanotechnology is becoming ever more deeply embedded in today’s life, so it is a critical moment for communicating, so that potential opportunities and drawbacks for the whole society are properly explored and elucidated.
The big issue is that we are now moving away from the idea that nanotechnology is just an enabling technology, or merely a method, or a process, or a means of controlling matter at the atomic level. What we are saying now is that nanotechnology is taking the form of a socio-political project whose trajectories extend into all spheres of life: from the cultural and ethical, all the way to the social, industrial and economical life. Furthermore, nanotechnologies generate a lot of different opinions and potential conflicts among the people who might use it.