I elected to do my term paper on the sociological impact of nanotechnology and biotechnology (commonly called “bionics”) because of the vast potential for advances in medicine, space exploration and technology. These are but a few of the areas which will surely be affected by the development of new and never before imagined processes and engineered materials which have the power to change the way every aspect of one’s life is lived. I will generally focus on the Structural-Functional and Social-Conflict approaches for the majority of the paper, but will touch on some of the aspects as seen by the Symbolic-Interaction approach when considering the implications of the subject on society, as well.
First things first, what exactly are nanotechnology and biotechnology? There has been some less than mild discussion of late about what constitutes legitimate nanotechnology, and suffice it to say that it doesn’t include things like laundry detergents, chemical additives, makeup micro-beads or anything of the like that may be claimed by some companies that are looking for an advantage over their competitors. Also, neither of these growing scientific disciplines includes any of the many terrifying, often alien technologies that swarm and smother, seek and destroy, or otherwise attempt to eradicate the human race from the face of the earth, ad nauseam. Here is a concise definition from The American Heritage Science Dictionary: “Nanotechnology is the science and technology of precisely manipulating the structure of matter at the molecular level. The term nanotechnology embraces many different fields and specialties, including engineering, chemistry, electronics, and medicine, among others, but all are concerned with bringing existing te...
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