Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Navigating advanced technology transitions: using lessons from nanotechnology

As researchers, developers, policymakers and others grapple with navigating socially beneficial advanced technology transitions — especially those associated with artificial intelligence, DNA-based technologies, and quantum technologies — there are valuable lessons to be drawn from nanotechnology. These lessons underscore an urgent need to foster collaboration, engagement and partnerships across disciplines and sectors, together with bringing together people, communities, and organizations with diverse expertise, as they work together to realize the long-term benefits of transformative technologies.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Feynman, R. P. Eng. Sci. 23, 22–36 (1960).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Drexler E. Engines of creation: The coming era of nanotechnology (Anchor Books: New York, 1986).

  3. NSTC & IWGN. Nanotechnology: Shaping the world, atom by atom (1999).

  4. Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications (NEHI) Working Group. NNI (9 May 2023).

  5. Hansen, S. F., Maynard, A., Baun, A. & Tickner, J. A. Nat. Nanotechnol. 3, 444–447 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Macnaghten, P., Kearnes, M. B. & Wynne, B. Sci. Commun. 27, 268–291 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Kulinowski, K. M. in Nanoscale: Issues and Perspectives for the Nano Century. (eds Cameron, N. & Mitchell, M. E.) 393–411 (John Wiley & Sons, 2007).

  8. Stokes, E. & Bowman, D. M. Eur. J. Risk Regul. 3, 235–241 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Barbara, S. CMAJ 164, 1612 (2001).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Aslam, N. et al. Nat. Rev. Phys. 5, 157–169 (2023).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Blunt, N. S. et al. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 18, 7001–7023 (2022).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. NRL Announces the Washington Metropolitan Quantum Network Research Consortium (DC-QNet). U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (27 June 2022).

  13. Tang, J., LeBel, A., Jain, S. & Huth, A. G. Nat. Neurosci. 26, 858–866 (2023).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Late Lessons From Early Warnings: Science, Precaution, Innovation (EAA, 2013);

  15. Late Lessons From Early Warnings: The Precautionary Principle 1896-2000 (EAA, 2001); (22 July, 2023)

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andrew D. Maynard.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Maynard, A.D., Dudley, S.M. Navigating advanced technology transitions: using lessons from nanotechnology. Nat. Nanotechnol. 18, 1118–1120 (2023).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Find nanotechnology articles, nanomaterial data and patents all in one place. Visit Nano by Nature Research