Education makes consumers fear nanotech

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The more information consumers are given about nanotechnology and other emerging sciences the more "worried and cautious" they become, new research reveals.

A study by researchers at North Carolina State University looked at public attitudes towards nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

The results suggest that educating people about the new technologies makes them more concerned about their potential impact.

Dr Michael D. Cobb, assistant professor of political science, and Dr Patrick Hamlett, associate professor of science, technology and society and political science, put individuals through a forum that provided discussions and educational background on the technologies.

The participants were then asked to fill out the same questionnaire they had been given before the deliberative forum and asked to provide policy recommendations on how to handle the emerging sciences.

Cobb observed that the panellists "became more worried and cautious about the prospective benefits" of the technologies.

Before taking part in the research 82 per cent of the participants were at least 'somewhat certain' that the benefits of the technologies outweighed the risks, but this number dropped to 66 per cent after the forum.
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