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What Could Possibly Go Wrong With DARPA’s Plan To Integrate Living Organisms – Synthetic Biology – Into Living And Non-Living (Abiotic) Systems To “Enhance Human Performance”?

If you were in the security business a dozen years ago, you’ll remember all the speculation around cellphone malware. The iPhone and other smartphones weren’t yet ubiquitous and attacks against such devices were discussed in the context of some distant future. Today, malware-infected phones and attacks exploiting them are the norm. You could say it’s old news at this point. With that in mind, security experts are starting to eye another huge leap in technological advancement that isn’t making many headlines today but will in the coming years – mixing biology with technology. There’s a lot of promise in the work being done around synthetic biology and computing devices. But there’s also potential peril in melding the two. We may be years away from dealing with the security risks of such a thing, but some are convinced it’s only a matter of time before the perils are as real as phone-based attacks are today. A good example of what’s to come was outlined in a recent Ars Technica article. Writer Eric Tegler describes an US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) initiative to integrate living organisms – synthetic biology – into living and non-living (abiotic) systems to perform material synthesis, enhance human performance, provide environmental sensing and control autonomous biohybrid devices. (READ MORE)


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