John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


NBIC convergence: risks and conditions for the possibility of other “silent” risks Volume 16, issue 2, March-April 2017


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  • Key words: convergence, interdisciplinarity, acceptance, risks
  • DOI : 10.1684/ers.2017.0970
  • Page(s) : 178-91
  • Published in: 2017

Nanoparticles appear on the ingredient list of many products marketed for numerous technological applications. This paper discusses NBIC convergence (N for nano, B for biology, I for information and C for cognition), an aspect that has already been addressed by ethicists, “riskologists” who thought that the promises made by scientists would soon come to fruition. But after 15 years, NBIC convergence has not kept its technological promise to bring about profound changes for humans. This paper tries to explain this state of affairs, associated especially with a basic inability to make these distinct disciplines work together, through lack of time and financing. Fortunately this highly publicized fear of possible NBIC risks has not prevented studies on toxicological hazards induced by nanoparticles, but the scientific publications related to this anxiety exceed those dealing with the more widely accepted problem of information and communication technology (ICT). The second part of this article illustrates the existence of focus nodes in terms of anticipated risks that hide real risks.