Volume 1, Issue 1 
1st Quarter, 2006

Global Design for Geoethical Nanotechnology

Natasha Vita-More

This article is adapted from a lecture by Natasha Vita-More, given at the First Annual Conference on Geoethical Nanotechnology on July 20, 2005. Vita-More is President of the Extropy Institute. She is a pioneer in presenting transhumanist philosophy, transhumanist concepts, and life extension ideas through the media. She began doing this on cable television and through live and other multimedia performances in the early 1980s. In this presentation, Vita-More explores the implications of geoethical nanotechnology for cultural diversity and global design.

Editor's Note: Geoethical nanotechnology is nanotechnology that is implemented pursuant to a consensual decision-making process. The specific principles of geoethics require that any new technology that spans a broad geographic area be designed in association with those who will be affected by it. Even more particularly, the geoethical "benefit principle" provides that those likely to be most adversely affected by a technology be part of a design that assures that they benefit the most from it. The geoethical philosophy flows from the observation of Ulrich Beck and others who asserted that risk of harm is the ever-present "pollution" of technology, and the teaching of John Rawls and others that fairness means the rules of a game should be written by those who might be dealt the worst hand in the game. It is never easy to get those who are most excited about a technology and those who may suffer the most from it to agree on the design of how a technology will be implemented. Vita-More's article provides us with useful pathways to help this discourse along. Her article goes beyond the observations of philosophers such as Jurgen Habermas that a "democratic discourse" is needed to achieve a consensus on new socio-technological systems. Vita-More actually lays out concrete media for this democratic discourse, thereby empowering the utility of geoethics as the guiding philosophy for nanotechnological development.

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