Several recent research studies have highlighted the uncertainties about the health and environmental risks associated with nanotechnology. Now the insurance industry is taking notice of those uncertainties: major Swiss reinsurer (insurance for the insurance companies) Swiss Re has issued a report suggesting that insurance companies may want to take a second look at covering products manufactured using nanotechnology until more is known about any possible side effects.
The recommendation is in line with Europe’s traditional “wait and see” approach regarding the adoption of potentially risky new technologies (genetically modified crops, anyone?) versus the headlong rush into new fields more typical in the U.S. As Swiss Re points out in an analysis on their website, “The insurance industry is concerned because scientific evaluations of potential risks for human health and the environment are few and remain inconclusive.”
The company isn’t looking to stymie progress in the field, though; the report goes on to say, “The only way to prevent a polarized debate about nanotechnology, which may slow down future research and economic growth in this field, is to find a common approach to lessen the uncertainty and to provide some answers for pressing questions concerning potential nanotoxicity and pollution issues.” Good advice for anyone in the field, scientist, businessperson, or insurer.
Five poems about the mind
Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution
As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.
I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.
We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.
Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?
The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.