Nano Impacts Meetings

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November 9
Leader: Kathy Eggleson
Title: Laudato Si and the Moral Evaluation of Technological Change

Through the recent encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis entered the word 'nanotechnologies' into the official teaching of the Catholic Church. The Nano Impacts Intellectual Community will discuss a brief portion of the encyclical (paragraphs 101-118) that directly addresses the relationship between humanity and technology.

October 12
Leader: Kathy Eggleson
Title: Nanotechnology Policy: Evolving and Maturing (?)

Dr. Eggleson is one of the panelists at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Science & the Congress panel ‘Nanotechnology Policy: Evolving and Maturing’ held in Washington, D.C. on October 9, 2015. She will discuss the proceedings of this event with the community on October 12.  

September 14
Leader: George Enderle
Title: "Conceptualizing and measuring well-being: The OECD Better Life Index." Full report

April 22 • 7:00 pm • DeBartolo Performing Arts Center
Public screening of "Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement," with director Regan Brashear joining us. Panel discussion and reception following the film.
Complete details.

March 16
Leader:  Kathy Eggleson
Title:  What Thync ye?

We will discuss the potentially profound societal and ethical implications of the mood altering wearable Thync as a real-time emerging technology case.

February 9
Leader: Brett Robinson
Title - Apple Iconography: Marketing the Metaphysics of Media

The convergence of religious fervor and technological aspiration is nowhere more apparent than in the publicity surrounding the Apple computer company and its decadent devices. A survey of Apple’s advertising from the last thirty years reveals a visual language laden with religious metaphor and parody. Brett Robinson provides a semiotic interpretation of Apple’s most iconic publicity images - revealing a discourse that combines technological and theological rhetoric.

January 12
Leader: Kathy Eggleson
Title: Unexpected Societal Impacts of Globalizing Communication Technologies

For our January meeting, we will use a Level 3 (Allenby and Sarewitz) lens—where the contingencies and complexities of technological and human systems preclude prescience—to examine a 2015 snapshot of life with globalized communication technologies.  What have the unexpected benefits and drawbacks been?  How profoundly has society changed in ways attributable to the uses and misuses of these technologies?  Does what we have learned so far inform present and future stewardship?  In 2005, 2006, and 2007, Thomas L. Friedman published versions of The World is Flat:  A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century; it will provide us with a reference point for our discussion.


November 10
Leader: Kathy Eggleson
Topic: We will discuss a now-classic piece by Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,” which was published in Wired magazine in April of 2000. The article is available online from Wired’s archive: In the article, Joy takes a confessional tone as a technology industry insider articulating his concerns related to emerging technologies, citing influences from the Unabomber to the Dalai Lama. Is this article already outdated, or more relevant than ever? Let’s talk about it.

October 27
Andrew Maynard, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Title: Is Responsible Nanotechnology Doomed to Failure?
Public lecture:  11:00a, Hesburgh Center Auditorium
Abstract: For nearly 20 years, nanotechnology has dominated policy and dialogue around emerging technologies. Hailed as the next industrial revolution, nanotechnology has been built on the strength of new science, new engineering, and new products. It has been framed as an essential stimulator of economic growth, and it has been promoted as critical to addressing some of the toughest challenges of our time, from cancer to climate change. Nanotechnology has been sold as a responsible technology in that it will lead to tools that support the sustainable betterment of society, while helping to manage the excesses of less responsible times. But how responsible is the technology in reality? Is it merely a cynical co-opting of an existing trend in science and technology to line the pockets of researchers and entrepreneurs? Or does it hold the seeds of a new, more responsible approach to technology innovation? This lecture will explore both the opportunities and challenges around ensuring the “nanotechnology revolution” leads to sustainable progress, from a technological, economic, environmental, and societal perspective.

September 15
Leaders: Kathy Eggleson and Eileen Botting
Title: Discussion of "Frankenstein" by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Description: We will consider the themes of responsibility for unintended consequences, differences between living and non-living inventions, the role of sociocultural context in technology stewardship, and the contribution of this classic work to the 'mad scientist' archetype. We will also learn more about the author's background (invited expert Prof. Eileen Botting) and discuss the university's 'Operation Frankenstein' project.

April 14
Leaders: Gary Bernstein and Kathy Eggleson (Notre Dame)
Title: Can educated persons with foreknowledge resolve normative questions about emerging technologies?
Description: A Thought Experiment Debate on whether an existing disruptive technology should have been invented at all

March 24
Leader: Robert Latiff, George Mason University, Retired Major General
Title: "Almost Human: The Uneasy Merger of Man and Machine"
Description: A consideration of an emergent weapons technology at Levels I, II, and III per The Techno-Human Condition

February 17
Leader: Klaus Mainzer, Technical University of Munich/ Carl Von Linde Academy
Title: Challenges of Brain-Inspired Computing Developments
Description: A discussion of CNN Philosophy

January 13
Leader: Kathy Eggleson (Notre Dame)
Title: Are our relationships to our communication technologies damaging to our human relationships? 
Description: Discussion of Sherry Turkle’s 20-minute TED talk “Connected, but Alone?” or her book on the same subject, Alone Together

Nano Impacts Meeting Archive