U.S. Intel Offi­cial Fears WMD Threat From Gene Edit­ing Tech­nol­ogy


Truth be told, the world has entered a new age of tech­nol­ogy where all bets are off. Even though there are gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions that have much more power than the aver­age per­son, tech­nol­ogy has given more power to mod­ern men and women, than their ances­tors could have ever dreamed of. This means that the poten­tial for dis­as­ter is now in the hands of more peo­ple than ever before.

That’s what James Clap­per, the Direc­tor of National Intel­li­gence, recently expressed in regards to mod­ern gene edit­ing tech­nolo­gies, though not in the same words. In his annual world­wide threat assess­ment report, he sug­gested that genetic edit­ing devices like CRISPR will soon pose a “weapons of mass destruc­tion and pro­lif­er­a­tion” threat.

Much like 3D print­ing, this field of tech­nol­ogy has grown more acces­si­ble and cost-​effective in recent years, which has given more peo­ple the abil­ity to tin­ker with the build­ing blocks of life itself. “Given the broad dis­tri­b­u­tion, low-​cost, and accel­er­ated pace of devel­op­ment of this dual-​use tech­nol­ogy, its delib­er­ate or unin­ten­tional mis­use might lead to far-​reaching eco­nomic and national secu­rity implications.”

Essen­tially, his con­cern is that either some­one will delib­er­ately use this tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate a bioweapon, or acci­den­tally unleash genetic hor­rors onto the world. Other experts expressed doubt over this report, and sug­gested that we don’t have any­more to fear now than we did in the past. After all, it still requires con­sid­er­able skill and exper­tise in mul­ti­ple fields to cre­ate a bioweapon.

But the fact of the mat­ter remains. Tech­nolo­gies like CRISPR are 150 times cheaper than their pre­de­ces­sors, and it would be rea­son­able to expect gene edit­ing to become even eas­ier and more afford­able in the future. The kind of bioweapons that used to require vast lab­o­ra­to­ries and hun­dreds of sci­en­tists and tech­ni­cians, can now be cre­ated by any indi­vid­ual with a lim­ited bud­get and a proper edu­ca­tion. As tech­nol­ogy pro­gresses, it will only become more acces­si­ble from here.

In other words, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

The Daily Sheeple

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