Overview

In order to achieve social acceptance of innovative technology such as molecular robotics, recognition, discussion and presentation of problematics issues must be made as early as possible. The recognition should cover important concerns from the viewpoints of social and human sciences, even if they are scientific fiction issues such as “human cyborg” now. The discussion should be made on the important concerns from the viewpoints of both technical aspect and social aspect especially for development potential of molecular robotics. The presentation should be based on true understanding accumulated by the recognition and the discussion.

Elimination of potential disturbance about molecular robotics is necessary condition for social acceptance as an emerging innovative technology. “Dual use” is one of such potential disturbance issues related to molecular robots. What is important in here is not to decide promotion or prohibition but to define the guideline for the development; which levels or conditions are permitted or required for some specific targets, respectively.

In order to achieve true understanding of molecular robotics, establishment of community which consists of social science and engineering including ethics, legal, economy and education as well as natural science and engineering who are developing molecular robots. It should be noted that social acceptance of innovative technology requires the contribution from the community of social science and engineering.

Molecular robotics has not yet been established but an emerging new field overlapping with bio-chemistry, bio-physics, control theory, informatics. In an emerging field, technology centric establishment may commonly occurs. Such establishment may contribute to the production of artifacts but would not contribute to forecasting the social impact of the products. In order to solve this problem, we are trying to analyze  the molecular robotics technology from the human centric point of view.

In this project, we promote the analysis and assessment of molecular robot technologies through the organization of workshop and symposium related to molecular robot ethics. We also plan to publish a report on molecular robot ethics in near future.