Responsible innovation in molecular robotics in Japan

Go Yoshizawa, Rinie van Est, Daisuke Yoshinaga, Mikihito Tanaka, Ryuma Shineha, Akihiko Konagaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Over the last decade Japanese researchers have taken the lead in the emerging discipline of molecular robotics. This new technology aims to produce artificial molecular systems that can adapt to changes in the environment, self-organize and evolve. This paper explores the question of how to stimulate responsible research and innovation in the field of molecular robotics technologies. For this, we first draw lessons from earlier societal responses in Japan to emerging technologies, such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, synthetic biology and genomic research. Next we describe various real-time technology assessment (TA) activities on molecular robotics in Japan to depict the state-of-the-art of the academic and public debate on the social aspects of molecular robotics. Lessons from earlier societal responses to emerging technologies demonstrated three potential challenges: finding and involving the ‘right’ experts and stakeholders, keeping regulations up to date, and getting scientists and citizens involved in science communication. A literature review, ‘future workshop’ and scenario workshop raised a number of ethical, social, political and cultural issues, and addressed desirable and undesirable scenarios for the next few decades. Twitter text mining analysis indicates that the level of attention, knowledge and awareness about molecular robots among a broader audience is still very limited. In conclusion, we identify four activities crucial to enable responsible innovation in molecular robotics—getting to grips with the speed of the development of molecular robotics, monitoring related technical trends, the establishment of a more stable TA knowledge base, and a sustained interaction between molecular roboticists and social scientists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-172
Number of pages9
JournalChem-Bio Informatics Journal
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1

Fingerprint

Robotics
Japan
Innovation
Technology
Biomedical Technology Assessment
Synthetic Biology
Education
Nanotechnology
Genetic Engineering
Data Mining
Knowledge Bases
Social aspects
Genetic engineering
Hand Strength
Research
Molecular interactions
Communication
Research Personnel
Robots
Monitoring

Keywords

  • ELSI
  • Molecular robotics
  • Real-time technology assessment
  • Research and innovation governance
  • Responsible research and innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

Cite this

Yoshizawa, G., van Est, R., Yoshinaga, D., Tanaka, M., Shineha, R., & Konagaya, A. (2018). Responsible innovation in molecular robotics in Japan. Chem-Bio Informatics Journal, 18, 164-172. https://doi.org/10.1273/CBIJ.18.164

Responsible innovation in molecular robotics in Japan. / Yoshizawa, Go; van Est, Rinie; Yoshinaga, Daisuke; Tanaka, Mikihito; Shineha, Ryuma; Konagaya, Akihiko.

In: Chem-Bio Informatics Journal, Vol. 18, 01.01.2018, p. 164-172.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Yoshizawa, G, van Est, R, Yoshinaga, D, Tanaka, M, Shineha, R & Konagaya, A 2018, 'Responsible innovation in molecular robotics in Japan', Chem-Bio Informatics Journal, vol. 18, pp. 164-172. https://doi.org/10.1273/CBIJ.18.164
Yoshizawa G, van Est R, Yoshinaga D, Tanaka M, Shineha R, Konagaya A. Responsible innovation in molecular robotics in Japan. Chem-Bio Informatics Journal. 2018 Jan 1;18:164-172. https://doi.org/10.1273/CBIJ.18.164
Yoshizawa, Go ; van Est, Rinie ; Yoshinaga, Daisuke ; Tanaka, Mikihito ; Shineha, Ryuma ; Konagaya, Akihiko. / Responsible innovation in molecular robotics in Japan. In: Chem-Bio Informatics Journal. 2018 ; Vol. 18. pp. 164-172.
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