Monday, December 19, 2011

Hackers developing virus to infect human mind?

Synthetic biology" is accelerating "faster than computer technology" , say experts who have warned that hackers could someday use it to develop a computer virus to bend human minds.
According to Andrew Hessel of Singularity University on US space agency Nasa's research campus, "It could lead to a world where hackers could engineer viruses or bacteria to control human minds.

his is one of the most powerful technologies in the world. Synthetic biology - the writing of life. I advocate cells are living computers and DNA is a programming language.
"I want to see life programmed and used to solve global challenges so that humanity can achieve a sustainable relationship within the biosphere. It's growing fast. It will grow faster than computer technologies."
He predicts a world where people can "print" DNA, and even "decode" it. But he warned that viruses and bacteria send chemicals into human brains and could someday be used to influence, or even "control" their host.
A literal virus - injected into a "host" in the guise of a vaccine, say - could be used to control behaviour, says Andrew Hessel who warns people "may've to learn how to counterattack" against such weapons.
Security expert Marc Goodman said: "Synthetic biology will lead to new forms of bioterrorism. Biocrime today is akin to computer crime in the early Eighties, Few initially recognised the problem - but it grew exponentially."
When billionaire entrepreneur Craig Venter "created life" last year by adding synthetic DNA to a bacteria cell, prof Julian Savulescu of Oxford University said: "This could be used in the future to make the most powerful bioweapons imaginable. The challenge is to eat the fruit without worm."
Hessel, however, is generally optimistic about the future of synthetic biology. "We are going to make synthetic genomes - human genomes. It will make cloning look organic . It will make human reproduction look quaint."