Science and Technology Innovation Program
Rapidly evolving information and communication technologies, including social media and mobile phones, coupled with new methodologies like crowdsourcing, have placed the collective “wisdom of the crowd” and power of mass collaboration into the hands of average citizens and organizations. STIP’s Commons Lab seeks to advance research and independent policy analysis of these emerging technologies, with an emphasis on their social, legal, and ethical implications. The initiative does not advocate for or against specific technological platforms, rather works to ensure that these technologies are developed and used in a way that maximizes benefits while reducing risks and unintended consequences. Our work often focuses on novel governance options at the “edges” where the crowd and social media operate –between formal and informal organizations and proprietary and open-source models of data ownership and access. For more information, please see: http://www.CommonsLab.wilsoncenter.org.
"Nanoscale science and engineering promise to be as important as the steam engine, the transistor, and the Internet, and have the potential to revolutionize all other technologies" according to Neal Lane, former science advisor to U.S. President Bill Clinton. "But that outcome is not guaranteed."
Today’s bio-economy, where info-, nano-, and biotechnology converge, has the potential to yield great advances in all sectors, including medicine and energy, by using advanced modes of manufacturing at an atomic scale while achieving reproducible results. This creative convergence sounds exciting, but scientific advances and technological innovation do not come without some risks. Policymakers need to adopt a critical perspective on governance approaches regarding the bio-economy, keeping in mind how it affects our intricate sociotechnical system, our regulatory cultures, and the evolving relationships between researchers, funders, industry and the public.
July 2007 - This paper provides an overview of the current state of genomic science and technology, and its relevance for risk assessment and chemical regulation.
View Official Report Release Page The inability of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to carry out its mandate with respect to simple, low-tech products such as children’s jewelry and toy trains bodes poorly for its ability to oversee the safety of complex, high-tech products made using nanotechnology, according to E. Marla Felcher.