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Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists Warns About Militarization Of Human-Modification Tech

Debate about the security implications of cutting-edge biotechnology is afflicted with a fundamental blind spot—a lack of attention to growing military interest in the field. This blind spot is evident in discussions about, for example, gene-editing technology (in relation both to gene drives and to human modification). Such debate has tended to focus on the idea that research and technology might be directly misused by “the bad guys”—and has tended to ignore broader questions about how the ongoing militarization of cutting-edge fields in biology might contribute to insecurity.  Last year James Clapper, when he was US director of national intelligence, labelled emerging population-level genetic-modification techniques as potential weapons of mass destruction. A number of states, in the context of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, have in recent years voiced concerns about state investment into biotechnology. Yet ethical reviews of gene editing to date in the United States have barely touched upon concerns about growing military interest in cutting-edge biotech—as reflected in their absence from recent reports on both environmental and human modification biotechnology. (READ MORE)


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