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Synthetic Biology May Spawn Biohackers

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the zergling dept.

Biotech 320

nusratt writes "EE Times reports 'Design automation systems tailored to the task of genetic engineering . . . can lead to the accidental or deliberate creation of pathogenic biological components.' Design of molecular machines is analogous to doing system-on-chip work, and hackers 'will not need a detailed knowledge of biochemistry to effectively create complex biochemical machines.' A Harvard genetics professor says, 'Even if we don't have bioterrorists and teen-age biohackers, we will still create things that do not have the properties that we thought they would . . . Even if you are genetically resistant and recently immunized, you will have problems with artificial biological agents.' He also says that there are two big differences between this risk and nuclear weapons: (1) building weapons is harder; (2) synth-bio work is more accident-prone. Oh great, just great: script-kiddies with smallpox . . ."

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Just what the world needs (5, Funny)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642551)

A 3 breasted blue haired girl with a nymphomaniac obsession for men with glasses and a fetish for Moutain Dew....

and..... (5, Funny)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642586)

A 3 breasted blue haired girl with a nymphomaniac obsession for men with glasses and a fetish for Moutain Dew....

A boss that looks just like her and will let you "work" from home every day

Re:and..... (1)

ZeroGuard (602061) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642618)

This made me chuckle, thank you. I needed that.

Re:and..... (5, Funny)

Alranor (472986) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642712)

Dear God man, if you had a boss like that, why would you want to work from home?

I don't know about the 3rd breast, (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642608)

but Realdoll [realdoll.com] comes close to filling the rest of your requirements, if you substitute the blue hair with pink.

Perfect for the Anime Nerd everywhere.

Re:I don't know about the 3rd breast, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642912)

We won't ask how you know this!

Explain it to me (1, Funny)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642616)

Why the geek opbsession with three breasts?

Is it secretly a desire for a third testicle getting projected?

Re:Explain it to me (5, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642707)

Shame on you; it's from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, specifically Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon VI.

Re:Explain it to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642758)

Three breasts? That's odd.

Re:Explain it to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642842)

I'm not really sure. Four is much more biologically likely to evolve.

Re:Just what the world needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642625)

And when you squeeze her, she says "I love you"

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

Ag3nt (790820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642636)

I don't know about the three breasted part, but everything else sounds good. And if you think about it, how are they going to protect the automated process from viruses, worms, etc. What happens if the "bio-hacker" unplugs the machine? Even if they have passworded security safeguards, all he/she would need to do is reset the machine by manually draining any back-up batteries they have plus the one on the system board. All the power-on password settings etc. would be lost and free to be tampered with.

Re:Just what the world needs (1, Funny)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642685)

Nymphomania isn't all it's cracked up to be. It's the equivalent of flogging it every 15 minutes whether you want to or not and having to deal with it getting whiny and bitchy when you don't.

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642857)

well, depends on your situation... if the said nymphomaniac is not living with you, then you can go over to her place whenever you feel horny and find a receptive, uh, partner.

Re:Just what the world needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642917)

It's the equivalent of flogging it every 15 minutes whether you want to or not and having to deal with it getting whiny and bitchy when you don't.

But you live with any woman, you'll have to get used to the whiny and bitchy (and naggy) part anyway.

So, in the end, living with a nymphomaniac is the same as with any other woman except that you'll have sex - a lot of sex.

Mod Parent up, Please:) (1)

crache (654516) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642732)

If I had mod points I would.

Script kiddies... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642579)

Did anybody else read that as "script kiddies with smallbox"?

I need vacations.

Isn't that... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642580)

...what they have airtight labs and testing procedures for?

Re:Isn't that... (1)

override11 (516715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642652)

havent you seen 'The Stand'? Its the 1 in 1 million'th chance that something gets out that kills us all..

But dont think I'm against it, I wanna hack my own genome, get rid of these damn allergies....

Re:Isn't that... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642734)

The counterexample to "The Stand" would be "The Andromeda Strain" ...

In The Stand, destruction of the facility required a specific individual to sacrifice himself and initiate the destruction of the facility. In The Andromeda Strain, the arming of the system was automatic, and only a specific individual could abort it.

I'm not sure either is relevant to present-day bio-hazard facilities, though.

The biggest hack is in: +1, Patriotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642667)


The White House [whitehouse.org]

Why does President Cheney overlook Israel's WMD?

Thanks in advance,
Kilgore Trout

Re:The biggest hack is in: +1, Patriotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642780)

Because Israel is not run by religious madmen hell-bent on the destruction of those of different religion or ethnicity... oh wait! Nevermind.

Your friend,
Axel Schmidt from Old Europe

Yikes (2, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642594)

Really gives "anti-virus protection" a more sinister meaning. Hopefully the white hats can produce counter-agents as fast as the black hats can make harmful strains.

Designed vs Evolved (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642596)


Even with a 'designer' bio-machine, the components will be similar/identical to already existing ones in normal life-forms. We know just how adaptable life can be, so even an unintentional slip-up could produce a noxious result :-(

The problem is that a nuclear weapon needs an enormous number of things to be 'just so' before it'll go bang. You may be able to bodge together a 50% solution far easier when your building blocks are so much more adaptable...

To draw a parallel with FPGA's, it's relatively easy to write a few hundred lines of verilog, which synthesize the gates wthin the adaptable fabric of the FPGA into a 60-80% solution. The hard bit is squeezing the last nanoseconds out of the device using technology mapping and hand-placement.

The creation of tools to make bio-machines similar to verilog/VHDL would indeed potentially have grave consequences, but I can't see it going any other way. In both cases (Biology & chip-design) you have an enormous task to create something from scratch (enzymes/bases for biology, LUTs/LC's for FPGA's), so you write a description language and model in that instead. Far far simpler once you can map from the description to the reality...

Simon

Re:Designed vs Evolved (3, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642660)

That reminds of a software application I'd heard of a while back. Basically, you chose the options you wanted, and this application would create a computer virus out of pre-written parts to fit the bill.

Antivirus software was particularly effective, though, as a whole new family of viruses had common components you could detect.

I bet the body's immune system will respond in the same way. If you re-use the same formula for the virus shell, the same antibodies will react to a variety of viruses.

Re:Designed vs Evolved (5, Informative)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642827)

there's a really good reference on the human immune system here at http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/BUGL/immune.htm [hartford.edu]

The two really interesting parts are the adaptive immune system where there are the cell mediated (killer T-cell) and humoral (antibody) immune responses.

Both use the principle of making molecules that will stick to bad molecules, and if they do triggering a cascade of events that eventually winds up destroying the bad molecule and the things affected by it, and leaving healthy tissue behind untouched (we hope).

The really really good part is that you're right, if the viral coat proteins have the same chemical surface at specific regions called epitopes, then the same antibodies will be able to bind all of them, even if they're different in other places.

Most molecules have several epitopes on them, although sometimes you have to bind most or all of these before a response is raised.

Viruses in the wild beat this by mutating every time they reproduce inside a cell by using error prone replication techniques. After all, if you make a billion particles and only 2% work, you can still infect your next host quite smartly.

That means that two individuals with the same disease, one catching it off the other, might have sufficiently different viral particles that an immunisation against one set of epitopes is ineffective. That's what happens with the common cold.

Defenses (1)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642684)

Good points: anything that we design that is made of protein could be countered by our immune response.

After all the point of having a lot of different kinds of Major Histocompatibility Complex alleles in the population is that somebody in the population will have the right combination of MHC genes to be a responder to an arbitary infection and so survive to breed.

There's another way to fix this, and Eric Drexler proposed it for nanomachines in Engines of Creation: Wrap the fabrication facility in a blanket of incendary explosives many times more massive than the fabrication facility. If things go sideways, light it up and the tiny nasties are burned back into carbondioxide before they can escape.

Re:Defenses (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642771)

You mean like the HIV?

Re:Defenses (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642815)

Which reminds me of this [bbc.co.uk] .

Given such a massive breeding ground for HIV virii, I wonder what are the chances of HIV mutating into an airborne version.

Re:Defenses (4, Informative)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642935)

I'll assume that your massive breeding ground for HIV is "All of Humanity."

The one thing about HIV is that it's very succeptible to oxidation. Any kind of oxidising agent, like bleach or strong disinfectants or even some mouthwashes, will render a puddle of HIV infected blood safe to clean up within minutes. Faster if you mix it, but please dont.

To get airborne, the HIV would first need to borrow some viral trickery from other diseases to reproduce in the lungs and mucous membranes as well as its usual home of in the lymphatic system, and then once expelled on a person's breath it would need a new coat to protect it from the toxic levels of oxygen in the air.

All this, while keeping the size of the genome down to a managable length so you can stuff it into its protein coat.

If you can engineer both those capabilities into HIV, you would have Airborne AIDS. Quite a puzzle though.

Re:Defenses (1)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642871)

I remember reading in the news that one way african communities deal with ebola infection is that when one town discovers it has ebola, it sets up roadblocks of dry wood on all the approaches to the town and sets them alight. Then they go back to their homes to see if they live or die.

Now I'm not advocating to do this with humans, but if a robotic factory happened to produce something that you couldn't eventually immunise against (and the HIV vaccines are still showing promise, there is a mixture of the difficulty of the science problems and politics of various nations that promotes hiv spread) then you should have some kind of contingency plan to contain the whole facility. Permanently.

Sudan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642603)

I was wondering if my fellow lefties can help me out here. As you are aware, there is currently a huge humanitarian crisis in Sudan. Some would even call it genocide. I have no problem with that. But what I can't seem to figure out is how the United States is to blame, as we usually are at fault.

Please advise. Thx.

Re:Sudan (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642656)

Well, you could blame the US for not sending in the troops to maintain law and order thus facilitating humanitarian help. If the troops are sent, you should blame the US government for blatant imperialistic posturing.

Your friend,
Axel Schmidt from Old Europe

Re:Sudan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642814)

Wow. You are telling me I can have it both ways. Thx!

Re:Sudan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642840)

You're most welcome. That's how us lefties over here like to bash America: whatever the US does, it's always wrong.

Good luck!

Your friend,
Alex Schmidt from Old Europe

Re:Sudan (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642899)

was wondering if my fellow lefties can help me out here. As you are aware, there is currently a huge humanitarian crisis in Sudan. Some would even call it genocide. I have no problem with that. But what I can't seem to figure out is how the United States is to blame, as we usually are at fault.
Nobody is saying the US is at fault, people are complaining because the US(well the reason of the day anyway) says that it invaded Iraq to help the Iraqi people out from a brutal dictator. Saddam was a kitten compared to what is going on in Sudan, and yet the US does nothing.
I really think that the reason the US is doing nothing is because the action in Iraq has stretched US military strength to the breaking point, and if something REALLY bad does happen(even worse than Sudan) then the US is kind of screwed
Yeah, I'm gonna burn karma on this one, but it had to be said.

Risk with any technology (4, Interesting)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642617)

On the one hand, that's the inherent risk with any technology as it becomes increasingly accessible and "user-friendly".

On the other hand, are these systems going to be cheap enough that we have to worry about script kiddies? If computers still cost $5000+, I doubt script kiddies would be such a rampant problem on the net. -- Paul

wow, its almost like they read /. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642626)

/. posters say almost the same thing everytime there is a dna/biotech story.

how is this news?

in other 'news' welders can be used to make bad things.

Re:wow, its almost like they read /. (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642708)

in other 'news' welders can be used to make bad things.

Maybe Some Bad Ass things [westcoastchoppers.com]

Dreams fulfilled (5, Funny)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642632)

Finally, my dream of having a large-breasted subservient cat-girl sex-drone can be a reality!

Maybe I'm sharing too much with you people...

Re:Dreams fulfilled (1)

ctishman (545856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642650)

No, I'm pretty sure there's a furry fetishist in all of us.

Re:Dreams fulfilled (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642798)

In that case, I think it would be best if we open-sourced this project, get it under GPL, etc.

Anyone out there good at splicing feline/human genes?

Biohackers Parts List: +2, Informative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642739)



can be found at Biohacking For Educational Purposes Only [mit.edu]

Bioethically yours,
Kilgore Trout

Re:Dreams fulfilled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642974)

I'll see you in line for Catwoman [imdb.com] which comes out in a few weeks ;)

Re:Dreams fulfilled (1)

No Such Agency (136681) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643008)

I was with you up until "cat-girl".

Advance of Knowledge cannot be stopped (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642633)

Hackers or no hackers, the progress of science and the advance of the frontiers of knowledge cannot be stopped.

Over a period of time, it is going to get progressively easier to develop synthetic biological agents. I would prefer that the good guys get their hand in before the baddies (terrorists, bio-script kiddies, bio-black hats...). And yeah, hope they also focus on how to contain fallouts from accidental mistakes, experiments gone wrong, bio-script kiddies etc.etc.

no-one is safe (1, Funny)

surreal-maitland (711954) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642635)

teen-age biohackers

"yeah, man, last week i hacked into my parents genome while they were sleeping. dude, there's some fucked up shit there. did you know my mom once had the clap?"

"dude, that's nothing. i hacked professor katz the other day. dude, that guy has had *everything*"

Re:no-one is safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642804)

IMHO, the concern is for those who start messing around with stuff just to "see what happens".

Shouldn't be too long after that for someone to come up with a cookbook of wonderful critters. Better yet, a BioWizard that walks you through the process till you click FINISH, the voila. End of civilization. I bet those new Overlords are gonna be unhappy we screwed up their new underlings.

The random lets see what happens stuff is the scariest.

No more h4xx0rz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9643024)

The new 1337 title:
p0xx0rz

Usage:
roffl3 yuo ahve ben p0xxor3d!!11
i r teh p0xx0rz

Meaning:
I have just infected you with a virulent strain of mega-clap using a script I found that combines anthrax, syphillis, cooties, and halitosis.

Licence required? (1)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642648)

Yeah... I'm sure that's going to be a big deterrent for those that are creating malicious bioware...

Tracing oligonuecleotides is pretty hard to do, considering a simple biology lab could extract/synthesize them with relative ease. Plus, transfering these bioware could be a easy as sneezing, are they going to trace down everyone with a cold?

They already has a difficult time with SARS, this isn't going to be any easier.

Re:Licence required? (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642741)

A license will not prevent mistakes. People will not be able to predict all implications of a given modification to a biological system. Most programmers can't predict all consequences of a software change (bugs, ever heard of em?) and humans wrote that software. I'm not saying no one can ever predict the results accurately, but even the professionals make mistakes sometimes.

Re:Licence required? (1)

aqkiva (629658) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642850)

having heard part of that panel at the Synthetic Biology 1.0 conference, the article is a bit misleading in the respect of licensing. Church suggested the licensing of the technology, such as DNA synthesis. The design of systems shouldn't be licensed. Anyone can and should be encouraged to design systems, but if it requires a license to actually build the system, then it becomes easier to control what gets released. Currently any lab could in theory synthesize oligos but few actually do it themselves. If we require licensing for DNA synthesis technologies and make unlicensed oligo synthesizers illegal, then personal oligo synthesizers will no longer be sold on ebay.

pwn3d! (3, Funny)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642657)

You got pwn3d! Now you have two cocks!

Great, the world gets better every day.

Re:pwn3d! (2, Funny)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642706)

i don't think that would be as big a problem as say, four asses

Re:pwn3d! (3, Funny)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642785)

Maybe we could give Darl four asses and lock him in a cell with the guy with two cocks...

Mod Up - Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642884)

Best Post Evah!

Outlaw Science! (-1, Offtopic)

PktLoss (647983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642661)

This is the #1 reason we should outlaw science and start living off the land again. Seriously, study anthrapology, hunter gatherers have more free time and are generally happier than us.

Re:Outlaw Science! (1)

surreal-maitland (711954) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642693)

too bad they died so much younger . . . or is it?

Re:Outlaw Science! (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642750)

hunter gatherers have more free time

I thought just finding enough food for the tribe was a full-time job. Defending the tribe against the neighbours counts as overtime.

and are generally happier than us

Sure. When you're freezing in a mud hut, your kid is dying of a rotten tooth and your pregnant wife is starving because you didn't manage to kill any game today, you don't have the time to wallow in angst and self-loathing over the pointlessness of human life.

Re:Outlaw Science! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642778)

This is the #1 reason we should outlaw science and start living off the land again. Seriously, study anthrapology, hunter gatherers have more free time and are generally happier than us.

Except, of course, for the rampant starvation and the fact that there is no way to support anywhere near the current population base. Oh, and all of us people with major diseases that are controllable by medicine will die.

Gotta love that 50% infant mortality rate (or was it higher?)

Oh, and I hope you're very happy in your 30 year lifespan. if you're one of the lucky ones.

I gotta learn to not feed the troll.

Re:Outlaw Science! (1)

Ag3nt (790820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642779)

I am really going to resist the urge to flame you right now. If we outlawed science, life expectancies would plummet, so would the nationwide health average, people would NOT be happier when they have to suffer immensly from a common cold, or do you think they will enjoy the risk of dying from the flu? If we outlawed science, the other nations that still practice and use it, would conquer the country and there would be nothing we could do to stop it. Can you imagine a world, where it would be illegal to wear glasses or to explain why an apple falls to the ground?

Re:Outlaw Science! (1)

PktLoss (647983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642825)

I'm glad you resisted the urge so well, perhapps your energy would have been better spent recognizing a joke.

Re:Outlaw Science! (1)

Ag3nt (790820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642863)

Wow! That sure was a funny joke! Are you sure, because I could swear right now its marked as a Troll.

Script-Kiddies will program a virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642680)

...that lets the word "p0wned!" appear on the forehead of whoever gets infected with it.

Re:Script-Kiddies will program a virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642763)

Real script kiddies would never say "p0wned". it's either "pwned" or "0wned", not both.

Biohacking is not easy (5, Interesting)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642683)

Many years ago I did some work in a genetics lab and made some recombinants (variations on the E.coli pCNB plasmid FWIW), and accidentally swallowed a billion or so of one of them (but that's a different story B^>).

The point was that it was slow, laborious work with lots of hardware support (agar, incubators, restriction enzymes, etc) needed and a danger of getting various sorts of stuff on yourself. And we're still (sadly) profoundly ignorant of what really makes bugs tick...

So the first DNA-script-kiddie is still as far off as the nanotech grey-goo horror IMHO.

Damon

Re:Biohacking is not easy (1)

Madcapjack (635982) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642839)

I did simple genetic recombination in a highschool lab. Of course, I had a little help from the proclivities of E. coli...



in any case, not so hard

Re:Biohacking is not easy (1)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642986)

There's a big difference between that fun expreiment of changing F- E.Coli into F+ where the bacteria help you to infect them with the plasmid in question, to making your own plasmid of arbitary sequence, putting it into the bacteria, screening them to see if your plasmid took, checking if they have the properties you want...

It will never be the same again.. (3, Funny)

RancidLM (723035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642694)

Person:"WOW is that a New ARM!" Me:" YA.. this new version of PHP Rocks"

Or think of the big brother aspects... (1)

Jack William Bell (84469) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642699)

I have some links here on Trufen [trufen.net] about using virii that reduce the effects of illegal drugs.

I've said it before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642711)

Start mercilessly executing 'script kiddies' and others who maliciously do this crap. Problem goes away. You may think I'm joking, but I'm not. The stakes are getting higher. There is no room for feeling sorry for the guilty parties involved in these types of actions.

Re:I've said it before... (1)

Ag3nt (790820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642891)

You do realize that most of the hacking done in the world is done by people under the age of 20 right? Hence the term "script kiddie." And the reason people mercilessly execute them is because the are annoying and only cause problems. Ever try talking to one on IRC?

WHATtheFUCK WHATtheFUCK WHATtheFUCK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642724)

WHAT the FUCK !?!?!?

Oh great now I have to worry about... (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642725)

"BTD's" as well as STD's

Isn't this expected? (2, Insightful)

leperkuhn (634833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642751)

I would think that there is a simple formula... #1. Someone figures out how to do something #2. Someone does it better #3. People kill each other Anytime you create a technology that is powerful, it will get abused. duh

Re:Isn't this expected? (1)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642909)

I would think that there is a simple formula... #1. Someone figures out how to do something #2. Someone does it better #3. People kill each other

You forgot #4: Someone says, "Big deal, this isn't new."

Re:Isn't this expected? (1)

leperkuhn (634833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643014)

And also the scientist throwing up his hands, crying, screaming, "I didn't mean for this to happen!"

If it was so easy... (5, Interesting)

kabocox (199019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642754)

If it was so much easier than building nuclear bombs, why haven't we gone alot father in that field than we have?

I agree once you have a virus or some time of self spreading destructive agent, it is easier to spread than tradional bombs. Building tailored geneic machines will be like every other process. It won't be very profitable until some big break through makes it cheaper for certain apps. Then we'd carelessly use the tech for 5-10 years without any problems then one day we'd have an accident and the news folks would be all over it. There would be all sorts of safe guards so that nothing like that could happen again. Every six months or so their would be a new special report about how that tech could have been better managed and what not.

Re:If it was so easy... (1)

egarland (120202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643016)

Because the techonology and techniques are all recently developed. Just because something is old, doesn't mean it's not monumentally complicated. Much of the US's most amazing engineering happened from the 40's through the 60's. Much of what we do now is simple by comparison.

Prey (4, Interesting)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642759)

Reminds me of a book I just finished, Prey, by Micheal Crichton. I that book he brings up the issue of "hackers" releasing a biological virus created using nanotechnology that would behave like a computer virus, attacking people and self-replicating. If you think Microsoft is slow to release patches, imagine how long it would take the CDC to immunize everybody from a brand new man-made virus. Interesting stuff...good book, by the way. Better than Jurassic Park.

Books? Try "Oryx and Crake" (1)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642864)

By Margaret Atwood.

http://www.oryxandcrake.co.uk/

Good story about a group of biohackers building a new future. Lots of "eat your face off" viruses. And blue penises.

SFW.

Re:Prey (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642947)

no, actually, it wasn't better. after jurassic park and sphere got made into movies...in some scenes i could tell he was picturing the movie that would be made while writing. it was awful. and so predictable too.

I'm not that worried (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642760)

This kind of threat is why the Europeans are so freaked out by GMO foods. In any event, genetic engineering will change our lives in ways that we can't predict. Life today is quite different from what the futurists were predicting in the 1950's. Just go down to the library and drag out some old editions of Popular Science.

Creating mass havoc is usually harder than it looks. Consider the terrorists that used nerve gas in the Tokyo subway. If you had asked me, I would have guessed that letting off nerve gas in such a location would have killed thousands. It didn't quite work that way. I don't think we have to worry about bio-hackers for a long time.

Re:I'm not that worried (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643029)

Score one for Europe! Who the fuck wants to find out if monsanto (the most evil company in the world, literally) has been responsible with GMOs by dying? You know they've poisioned whole counties in the US, right?

As scary as this sounds, (1)

Hanna's Goblin Toys (635700) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642772)

hasn't Bush already implemented legislation to address this? I know he stopped the cell stem threat...

Re:As scary as this sounds, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642858)

Congrats, that was a very clever reducto ad absurdum

Re:As scary as this sounds, (1)

TEMM (731243) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642940)

Sarcasm?

Give smallpox to script kiddies (1)

SunPin (596554) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642784)

Seriously. Tell them it's 1337 and they'll be famous. After a little while... no more script kiddies.

Re:Give smallpox to script kiddies (1)

Ag3nt (790820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642936)

Um, sure why not start an outbreak of smallpox again after it was sucessfully wiped out in the US. That makes perfect sense, kill everyone who comes in contact with the script kiddies too.

Re:Give smallpox to script kiddies (1)

SunPin (596554) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642975)

Who will be in contact will them?

Re:Give smallpox to script kiddies (1)

Ag3nt (790820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643002)

I think that they have to leave their house sometime don't they? Plus any family they have, depending on the kiddie's age. Then, when he dies he will have to be cremated at an intensely high temperature in order to kill the smallpox. If he was buried, the people at the funeral home would come in contact with him, plus all the funeral attendees. And don't say there won't be any, there are ALWAYS friends or family.

Re:Give smallpox to script kiddies (1)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643017)

Seriously. Tell them it's 1337 and they'll be famous. After a little while... no more script kiddies.

And after a little while more, no more script kiddie families. And no more script kiddie neighbors. And so on ...

"Seriously." [merriam-webster.com] .

Gene Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642866)

Let the Gene Wars [wikipedia.org] begin

Hack to benefit society (1)

Bandit0013 (738137) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642964)

Anytime the subject has the urge to type 'lol' they wet their pants and forget who they are for half an hour.

Aren't we going a bit too far with script kids? (2, Insightful)

sweet 'n sour (595166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642967)

I know it's therapeutic to attribute "Pure Evil" to script kiddies, but come on now.. It's one thing to cause mass mayhem on the internet.. quite another to cause mass murder. I'd be really surprised if script kiddies had that kind of carnage in them... Especially when they wouldn't be able to protect themselves from their own creation.

I'd be much more worried about the non-hacker, well funded, professional genetic researcher.

mod ?uP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642996)

abou7 half of the than a fraction stagnant. As Linux FreeBSD's forwards we must

This is more a problem for Monsanto (1)

DrJAKing (94556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642998)

Monsanto and co have this flawed business model where they sequence gene X into organism Y and patent the resulting GMO. They do something mean like make it infertile, so they can charge peasant farmers for new seeds every year. As thought they were the only people who could ever muck about with genes! Wonder how long their window of profitability will last before gene splicing machines are available to the peasants.

Democracy Necessarily Harmful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642999)

With these dangerous technologies coming online it might unfortuantly become necessary that the world be controlled, hopefully computerized, by some sort of dictator.

I think the problem people have with dictators is that they are arbritary and usually power hungery. Would you mind living in a 'dictatorship' run by an infinintly fair computer consciousness? I might consider trying it...

I wouldn't read too far into this... (3, Insightful)

spacerodent (790183) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643013)

While on the surface it may seem possible to do all this in the next 20-30 years hte author seems to be forgetting all the equipment needed to handle and work with these type of organisms. As these are not typical consumer goods I wouldn't expect to see the prices come down like computer components either. I have no doubt a few cases will occur but it certainly won't be like with computer virsues where all you need is a computer and a compiler of some kind.
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