Men, liberals and atheists are more optimistic about nanotechnology than women, lower educated and religious people. Policy makers tend to fit in the first category and hence are expected to be more optimistic than the general public. This is a result of the Nanomeasurement in the recent Dutch Societal Dialogue Nanotechnology.
The nanomeasurement included not only health and environmental risks of nanotechnology but also indirect effects on household, healthcare and the living environment. Whereas most participants indicate that they learned more about nanotechnology, they tend to remain sceptical and hesitant.
The more remote applications were deemed more promising than those closer to the respondent. 65% was enthousiastic about chances of nanotechnology for people in developing countries, whereas 67% did not want nanosensors on milk cartons to indicate freshness. 60% does not want nanotechnology to determine what we eat. 48% is against autonomous robots. Applications with foreseeable health and environmental impacts are more welcome than those with unpredictable effects.
The debate on nanotechnology should continue, according to the organisers of the nanomeasurement.
Between 15 August and 15 November 2010, 4845 people contributed to the nanomeasurement including 1200 who participated from the beginning until the end.