Future PR Problems Start Now

By Published on .

You'd think that people toiling away in fields vaguely reminiscent of sci-fi would be able to look into the not-so-distant future, see potential PR problems and take proactive measures. But not always. As Sam Jaffe points out in this Wired piece, Monsanto, after creating magical genetically enhanced food, seemed a bit surprise when people started shouting about frankenfoods and telling tales about cornstalks walking the land, looking for blood.

But the bigger point of Jaffe's piece is that folks involved with nanotechnology are trying to use the lessons learned from the Monsanto incident. One example is Dupont:

"This summer, Dupont unveiled its Framework for Responsible Nanotechnology, a set of standards and practices for testing nano-products for health and environmental hazards before releasing them commercially. It's a surprising move from a company not exactly synonymous with public health and environmental stewardship. The framework is also unique in that it was drawn up in coordination with Environmental Defense, an non-governmental environmental rights organization."

Not only does the nanotech field have to worry about sci-fi writers warning about gray goo and out-of-control nanorobots, but it also has to deal with marketers slapping the nano label on all sorts of products that aren't really nano. (And you know who you are.)
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