Future Tense is the citizen’s guide to the future. A partnership among Arizona State University, Slate and the New America Foundation, Future Tense explores emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy.
ow do you regulate something you cannot define? It’s a dilemma that policymakers around the world are struggling with as they try to enact regulations for nanomaterials—that loosely defined group of very small particles with very large implications and applications for everything from self-cleaning windows and mirrors, to better renewable energy materials, to more precise and effective cancer treatments. Yet, the same properties of nanomaterials that enable these beneficial applications, including small size and increased reactivity, may also make these same materials more dangerous inside our bodies or in the environment.