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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
 

Why do you think that?

Most bioweapons research has focused on traditional biological agents, such as anthrax and smallpox. But that focus is dangerously narrow, the report says; emerging technologies in biotechnology and the life sciences could be hijacked to take control of genes, immune systems, and even brains. . .

Scientists who drafted the report were also particularly concerned about the potential of bioregulators -- small, biologically active organic compounds that can regulate different systems in the body. Newer technologies such as targeted delivery methods that zero in on the immune or neuroendocrine systems could make it easier to use bioregulators in insidious ways.

Terrorists could also co-opt relatively new technologies, such as synthetic biology, which aims to build organisms that can detect or produce chemicals or perform other functions; and RNA interference, a technique that allows scientists to easily control gene expression.

Terrorists are a drag and all, but they aren't the most likely users and abusers of these technologies. Governments top that list, since politicians already use every trick they can to delude voters, government institutions seek to control society, governments seek to control one another, and there is no shortage of rule-the-world nutters pointing to one doomsday scenario or another to justify draconian acts to save us from ourselves with tight global governance.

Business and entertainment will find the technologies tempting too. Kids will be prime targets from not just marketing attacks but also their parents and teachers. Everybody thinks they have a right and a duty to manipulate kids.

In a sense we have always had this threat from cults and ideologies. The 60s did happen after all. But it seems poised to accelerate. This is an old SF trope. You might find some of the novels interesting if this is a new concept for you.

posted by back40 | 1/31/2006 10:23:00 PM

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