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Re: [bafuture] Great summary article: Are we doomed yet?

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  • Chris Phoenix
    This article is interesting reading, but has one major flaw: it does not distinguish between the information and the physical device. There has to be some
    Message 1 of 17 , Apr 21, 2003
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      This article is interesting reading, but has one major flaw: it does not
      distinguish between the information and the physical device. There has
      to be some kind of transcription hardware to convert the info into a
      goo-bot or a polio virus. I agree with Sheldon that it will be quite
      hard to restrict information about how to build nasty self-replicators.
      I also agree that attempts at overly stringent restrictions on that
      information will leave us poorly prepared to deal with the problems.

      However, Sheldon didn't talk at all about the possibility of allowing
      freedom of information while carefully restricting the hardware. I
      think this is a reasonable approach, and might even buy us the time we
      need to adjust to digitally designed self-replicators.

      Chris

      --
      Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
      Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org

      genomik2 wrote:
      >
      > GREAT summary article bringing together many points into a well
      > connected web of relationships. David Brin, Transparency and an Open
      > Society are related to Bill Joy's concerns. It is refreshing to hear
      > a technologist who does not hate Bill Joy and has thought through
      > his scenarios. I agree with much of what he says. Here are a couple
      > paragraphs:
      >
      > " I believe that the coming "self-replicating" threats described by
      > Bill Joy and others are real dangers. I believe that individuals
      > will someday trade the secrets of mass death as easily as the Magic
      > players of today trade playing cards. Nevertheless, I am prepared to
      > live with such a future. In fact, I believe that an open society
      > like ours would be better equipped to deal with these threats than
      > even the most efficient police apparatus.
      > I am alarmed by the ease with which our society is being frightened
      > into abandoning its hard-won openness. Numerous ideas currently in
      > circulation, taken together, foretell a future which might shock our
      > late-capitalist sensibilities, but which could very well become our
      > reality, by degrees, if we don't take the time now to ask
      > fundamental questions about what we value as a people. "
      >
      > READ THIS - GREAT STUFF!
      >
      > Erik
      >
      > Are we doomed yet?
      > The computer-networked, digital world poses enormous threats to
      > humanity that no government, no matter how totalitarian, can stop. A
      > fully open society is our best chance for survival.
      > - - - - - - - - - - - -
      > By Sheldon Pacotti
      >
      > http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/31/knowledge/print.html
      >
      > [article snipped--CJP]
    • genomik2
      Chris, What you are saying is to allow the free trade of info, but restrict Hardware. So in todays terms that would be like allowing music trade but making
      Message 2 of 17 , Apr 21, 2003
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        Chris,

        What you are saying is to allow the free trade of info, but restrict
        Hardware. So in todays terms that would be like allowing music trade
        but making illegal mp3 players. Or in the future, allowing Genomes
        to be traded freely, but making a bacterial sythesizer illegal.

        I think that makes sense in general. Just as people do not kill
        people, guns do, Information does not kill, synthesizers do.
        Information might be difficult to control, but hardware is much
        easier.

        There might be challenges with dual use devices, universal hardware
        and reconfiguarable hardware. Software can be used to reconfigure a
        CD burner. A computer itself could become a reconfigurable hardware.
        Perhaps what everybody would have is more like a terminal, where
        they could access info and get many benefits of computing, but not
        be allowed full access to computational power that they might try to
        hook up to a device like a bacteria burner. A Television is much
        like a Terminal when compared to a computer and you can get alot of
        benefit from it. Perhaps a two way terminal, so that you can
        communicate, but cannot synthesize. Of course to enforce much of
        this would require lots of Transparency and universal control over
        manufacture. It would be bad if a synthesizer manufacturer could
        just move their synth to Africa and make their hardware there with
        no control.

        What are some preconditions for this to occur? An open society, a UN
        type of International body, transparency, etc. I am not sure we are
        headed in that direction at the moment unfortunately.....

        Erik



        --- In bafuture@yahoogroups.com, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@b...> wrote:
        > This article is interesting reading, but has one major flaw: it
        does not
        > distinguish between the information and the physical device.
        There has
        > to be some kind of transcription hardware to convert the info into
        a
        > goo-bot or a polio virus. I agree with Sheldon that it will be
        quite
        > hard to restrict information about how to build nasty self-
        replicators.
        > I also agree that attempts at overly stringent restrictions on that
        > information will leave us poorly prepared to deal with the
        problems.
        >
        > However, Sheldon didn't talk at all about the possibility of
        allowing
        > freedom of information while carefully restricting the hardware. I
        > think this is a reasonable approach, and might even buy us the
        time we
        > need to adjust to digitally designed self-replicators.
        >
        > Chris
        >
        > --
        > Chris Phoenix cphoenix@b... http://xenophilia.org
        > Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder)
        http://CRNano.org
        >
        > genomik2 wrote:
        > >
        > > GREAT summary article bringing together many points into a well
        > > connected web of relationships. David Brin, Transparency and an
        Open
        > > Society are related to Bill Joy's concerns. It is refreshing to
        hear
        > > a technologist who does not hate Bill Joy and has thought through
        > > his scenarios. I agree with much of what he says. Here are a
        couple
        > > paragraphs:
        > >
        > > " I believe that the coming "self-replicating" threats described
        by
        > > Bill Joy and others are real dangers. I believe that individuals
        > > will someday trade the secrets of mass death as easily as the
        Magic
        > > players of today trade playing cards. Nevertheless, I am
        prepared to
        > > live with such a future. In fact, I believe that an open society
        > > like ours would be better equipped to deal with these threats
        than
        > > even the most efficient police apparatus.
        > > I am alarmed by the ease with which our society is being
        frightened
        > > into abandoning its hard-won openness. Numerous ideas currently
        in
        > > circulation, taken together, foretell a future which might shock
        our
        > > late-capitalist sensibilities, but which could very well become
        our
        > > reality, by degrees, if we don't take the time now to ask
        > > fundamental questions about what we value as a people. "
        > >
        > > READ THIS - GREAT STUFF!
        > >
        > > Erik
        > >
        > > Are we doomed yet?
        > > The computer-networked, digital world poses enormous threats to
        > > humanity that no government, no matter how totalitarian, can
        stop. A
        > > fully open society is our best chance for survival.
        > > - - - - - - - - - - - -
        > > By Sheldon Pacotti
        > >
        > > http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/31/knowledge/print.html
        > >
        > > [article snipped--CJP]
      • wayne radinsky
        ... Would that really work? Counterexample: According to this opinion piece (which also appeared in the print magazine which is where I saw it), China is
        Message 3 of 17 , Apr 21, 2003
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          > However, Sheldon didn't talk at all about the possibility
          > of allowing freedom of information while carefully
          > restricting the hardware.

          Would that really work? Counterexample: According to
          this opinion piece (which also appeared in the print
          magazine which is where I saw it),

          "China is expected to be on a par with the rest of the
          high-tech world in process technology, because it can now
          buy the same American and Japanese semiconductor
          manufacturing gear as anyone else. I laugh to myself when
          I recall the fuss made just a few years ago about certain
          CPUs and chips going to China and Russia, because they could
          be used as guidance controls for missiles. Now these
          countries can just build the chips from scratch."

          http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1023759,00.asp

          --- Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:
          > This article is interesting reading, but has one major flaw:
          > it does not
          > distinguish between the information and the physical device.
          > There has
          > to be some kind of transcription hardware to convert the info
          > into a
          > goo-bot or a polio virus. I agree with Sheldon that it will
          > be quite
          > hard to restrict information about how to build nasty
          > self-replicators.
          > I also agree that attempts at overly stringent restrictions on
          > that
          > information will leave us poorly prepared to deal with the
          > problems.
          >
          > However, Sheldon didn't talk at all about the possibility of
          > allowing
          > freedom of information while carefully restricting the
          > hardware. I
          > think this is a reasonable approach, and might even buy us the
          > time we
          > need to adjust to digitally designed self-replicators.
          >
          > Chris
          >
          > --
          > Chris Phoenix cphoenix@...
          > http://xenophilia.org
          > Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder)
          > http://CRNano.org
          >
          > genomik2 wrote:
          > >
          > > GREAT summary article bringing together many points into a
          > well
          > > connected web of relationships. David Brin, Transparency and
          > an Open
          > > Society are related to Bill Joy's concerns. It is refreshing
          > to hear
          > > a technologist who does not hate Bill Joy and has thought
          > through
          > > his scenarios. I agree with much of what he says. Here are a
          > couple
          > > paragraphs:
          > >
          > > " I believe that the coming "self-replicating" threats
          > described by
          > > Bill Joy and others are real dangers. I believe that
          > individuals
          > > will someday trade the secrets of mass death as easily as
          > the Magic
          > > players of today trade playing cards. Nevertheless, I am
          > prepared to
          > > live with such a future. In fact, I believe that an open
          > society
          > > like ours would be better equipped to deal with these
          > threats than
          > > even the most efficient police apparatus.
          > > I am alarmed by the ease with which our society is being
          > frightened
          > > into abandoning its hard-won openness. Numerous ideas
          > currently in
          > > circulation, taken together, foretell a future which might
          > shock our
          > > late-capitalist sensibilities, but which could very well
          > become our
          > > reality, by degrees, if we don't take the time now to ask
          > > fundamental questions about what we value as a people. "
          > >
          > > READ THIS - GREAT STUFF!
          > >
          > > Erik
          > >
          > > Are we doomed yet?
          > > The computer-networked, digital world poses enormous threats
          > to
          > > humanity that no government, no matter how totalitarian, can
          > stop. A
          > > fully open society is our best chance for survival.
          > > - - - - - - - - - - - -
          > > By Sheldon Pacotti
          > >
          > >
          >
          http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/31/knowledge/print.html
          > >
          > > [article snipped--CJP]
          >


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        • Chris Phoenix
          ... Something like that, yeah. Though I don t like the MP3 analogy. Music is just too easy to digitize and play back--it has to be counted as information. I
          Message 4 of 17 , Apr 21, 2003
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            genomik2 wrote:
            >
            > Chris,
            >
            > What you are saying is to allow the free trade of info, but restrict
            > Hardware. So in todays terms that would be like allowing music trade
            > but making illegal mp3 players. Or in the future, allowing Genomes
            > to be traded freely, but making a bacterial sythesizer illegal.

            Something like that, yeah. Though I don't like the MP3 analogy. Music
            is just too easy to digitize and play back--it has to be counted as
            information. I do think that we should start tracking DNA
            synthesizers--worldwide.

            Check out http://CRNano.org/overview.htm for a discussion of possible
            ways to deal with molecular manufacturing systems. And please tell me
            what you think of it--we just posted it yesterday.

            > There might be challenges with dual use devices, universal hardware
            > and reconfiguarable hardware. Software can be used to reconfigure a
            > CD burner.

            Universal hardware would have to be controlled. I don't see any way
            around it. If you don't control at least one of tools, actions, and
            brains, you'll have thousands of horrendous problems to clean up. Of
            course, controlled universal hardware is still *very* useful.

            > A computer itself could become a reconfigurable hardware.

            Huh? A computer can drive hardware, but it can't manufacture or
            manipulate anything itself. I think it's far too late to try to control
            computational hardware. DRM might do it, to some extent, and with major
            downsides.

            > Perhaps what everybody would have is more like a terminal, where
            > they could access info and get many benefits of computing, but not
            > be allowed full access to computational power that they might try to
            > hook up to a device like a bacteria burner.

            I still don't get what you mean. Rather than crippling the computer,
            why not just restrict access to bacteria burners? (An interesting
            linguistic shift here: "to burn" no longer implies "to destroy".)

            > A Television is much
            > like a Terminal when compared to a computer and you can get alot of
            > benefit from it. Perhaps a two way terminal, so that you can
            > communicate, but cannot synthesize. Of course to enforce much of
            > this would require lots of Transparency and universal control over
            > manufacture. It would be bad if a synthesizer manufacturer could
            > just move their synth to Africa and make their hardware there with
            > no control.
            >
            > What are some preconditions for this to occur? An open society, a UN
            > type of International body, transparency, etc. I am not sure we are
            > headed in that direction at the moment unfortunately.....

            Yep. I'd say more like IAEA than like UN. And not necessarily world
            government, but at least world cooperation.

            In my wild-optimistic moments, I think that, having realized that a
            UN-led world government is inadequate to deal with looming technological
            threats, those in power in the US have decided that a US-led world
            government is necessary. Then I think, nah, they're just a bunch of
            fundamentalists restarting the Crusades...

            Something that seems necesary for effective MNT administration is to
            minimize the restrictions on MNT to reduce the incentive for independent
            MNT programs. It's not like independent programs would be all that
            hard, especially after the first one succeeds. But a black market in
            MNT fabricators would open the door to extremely disruptive risks.

            Unfortunately, the current trend for hardware security and related
            fields (e.g. DRM, DMCA, abusive patents) seems to be commercial-driven
            rather than security-driven. No, it's the worst of both: with business
            and government collaborating so tightly, the ethics start to mix.
            Governments can lie when necessary. Businesses are motivated by the
            highest bidder. Mix the ethics, and you get... Dick Cheney of Enron
            fame, who after intense lobbying by the American pharmaceutical
            industry, sabotaged the WTA's affordable-pharmaceutical agreement
            despite furious opposition from all 140 other WTA members.

            Chris

            > Erik
            >
            > --- In bafuture@yahoogroups.com, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@b...> wrote:
            > > This article is interesting reading, but has one major flaw: it
            > does not
            > > distinguish between the information and the physical device.
            > There has
            > > to be some kind of transcription hardware to convert the info into
            > a
            > > goo-bot or a polio virus. I agree with Sheldon that it will be
            > quite
            > > hard to restrict information about how to build nasty self-
            > replicators.
            > > I also agree that attempts at overly stringent restrictions on that
            > > information will leave us poorly prepared to deal with the
            > problems.
            > >
            > > However, Sheldon didn't talk at all about the possibility of
            > allowing
            > > freedom of information while carefully restricting the hardware. I
            > > think this is a reasonable approach, and might even buy us the
            > time we
            > > need to adjust to digitally designed self-replicators.
            > >
            > > Chris
            > >
            > > --
            > > Chris Phoenix cphoenix@b... http://xenophilia.org
            > > Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder)
            > http://CRNano.org
            > >
            > > genomik2 wrote:
            > > >
            > > > GREAT summary article bringing together many points into a well
            > > > connected web of relationships. David Brin, Transparency and an
            > Open
            > > > Society are related to Bill Joy's concerns. It is refreshing to
            > hear
            > > > a technologist who does not hate Bill Joy and has thought through
            > > > his scenarios. I agree with much of what he says. Here are a
            > couple
            > > > paragraphs:
            > > >
            > > > " I believe that the coming "self-replicating" threats described
            > by
            > > > Bill Joy and others are real dangers. I believe that individuals
            > > > will someday trade the secrets of mass death as easily as the
            > Magic
            > > > players of today trade playing cards. Nevertheless, I am
            > prepared to
            > > > live with such a future. In fact, I believe that an open society
            > > > like ours would be better equipped to deal with these threats
            > than
            > > > even the most efficient police apparatus.
            > > > I am alarmed by the ease with which our society is being
            > frightened
            > > > into abandoning its hard-won openness. Numerous ideas currently
            > in
            > > > circulation, taken together, foretell a future which might shock
            > our
            > > > late-capitalist sensibilities, but which could very well become
            > our
            > > > reality, by degrees, if we don't take the time now to ask
            > > > fundamental questions about what we value as a people. "
            > > >
            > > > READ THIS - GREAT STUFF!
            > > >
            > > > Erik
            > > >
            > > > Are we doomed yet?
            > > > The computer-networked, digital world poses enormous threats to
            > > > humanity that no government, no matter how totalitarian, can
            > stop. A
            > > > fully open society is our best chance for survival.
            > > > - - - - - - - - - - - -
            > > > By Sheldon Pacotti
            > > >
            > > > http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/31/knowledge/print.html
            > > >
            > > > [article snipped--CJP]
            >
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > bafuture-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

            --
            Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
            Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org
          • Chris Phoenix
            This example just means that export controls of manufactured goods are insufficient for restricting hardware. Restricting hardware would have to be done
            Message 5 of 17 , Apr 21, 2003
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              This example just means that export controls of manufactured goods are
              insufficient for restricting hardware.

              Restricting hardware would have to be done globally. Something like the
              IAEA, but with more teeth, would be necessary. When it comes to
              something really dangerous like nanofactory technology, we would have to
              ensure that companies were not in a position where they could sell it to
              illicit owners. In fact, the only proper owner of *unrestricted*
              nanofactory tech is a single central administration. Restricted
              nanofactories, by contrast, would have to be globally available, to
              reduce the incentive to build your own.

              With no legitimite need for an indepenedent development program,
              attempting to do so could be declared a Horrible Terrorist Act and met
              with swift military/police action by the rest of the world.

              Of course, this would require governments to allow mutual inspections of
              each other's industries--something the US was unwilling to accept for
              biological technologies.

              Chris

              wayne radinsky wrote:
              >
              > > However, Sheldon didn't talk at all about the possibility
              > > of allowing freedom of information while carefully
              > > restricting the hardware.
              >
              > Would that really work? Counterexample: According to
              > this opinion piece (which also appeared in the print
              > magazine which is where I saw it),
              >
              > "China is expected to be on a par with the rest of the
              > high-tech world in process technology, because it can now
              > buy the same American and Japanese semiconductor
              > manufacturing gear as anyone else. I laugh to myself when
              > I recall the fuss made just a few years ago about certain
              > CPUs and chips going to China and Russia, because they could
              > be used as guidance controls for missiles. Now these
              > countries can just build the chips from scratch."
              >
              > http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1023759,00.asp
              >
              > --- Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@...> wrote:
              > > This article is interesting reading, but has one major flaw:
              > > it does not
              > > distinguish between the information and the physical device.
              > > There has
              > > to be some kind of transcription hardware to convert the info
              > > into a
              > > goo-bot or a polio virus. I agree with Sheldon that it will
              > > be quite
              > > hard to restrict information about how to build nasty
              > > self-replicators.
              > > I also agree that attempts at overly stringent restrictions on
              > > that
              > > information will leave us poorly prepared to deal with the
              > > problems.
              > >
              > > However, Sheldon didn't talk at all about the possibility of
              > > allowing
              > > freedom of information while carefully restricting the
              > > hardware. I
              > > think this is a reasonable approach, and might even buy us the
              > > time we
              > > need to adjust to digitally designed self-replicators.
              > >
              > > Chris
              > >
              > > --
              > > Chris Phoenix cphoenix@...
              > > http://xenophilia.org
              > > Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder)
              > > http://CRNano.org
              > >
              > > genomik2 wrote:
              > > >
              > > > GREAT summary article bringing together many points into a
              > > well
              > > > connected web of relationships. David Brin, Transparency and
              > > an Open
              > > > Society are related to Bill Joy's concerns. It is refreshing
              > > to hear
              > > > a technologist who does not hate Bill Joy and has thought
              > > through
              > > > his scenarios. I agree with much of what he says. Here are a
              > > couple
              > > > paragraphs:
              > > >
              > > > " I believe that the coming "self-replicating" threats
              > > described by
              > > > Bill Joy and others are real dangers. I believe that
              > > individuals
              > > > will someday trade the secrets of mass death as easily as
              > > the Magic
              > > > players of today trade playing cards. Nevertheless, I am
              > > prepared to
              > > > live with such a future. In fact, I believe that an open
              > > society
              > > > like ours would be better equipped to deal with these
              > > threats than
              > > > even the most efficient police apparatus.
              > > > I am alarmed by the ease with which our society is being
              > > frightened
              > > > into abandoning its hard-won openness. Numerous ideas
              > > currently in
              > > > circulation, taken together, foretell a future which might
              > > shock our
              > > > late-capitalist sensibilities, but which could very well
              > > become our
              > > > reality, by degrees, if we don't take the time now to ask
              > > > fundamental questions about what we value as a people. "
              > > >
              > > > READ THIS - GREAT STUFF!
              > > >
              > > > Erik
              > > >
              > > > Are we doomed yet?
              > > > The computer-networked, digital world poses enormous threats
              > > to
              > > > humanity that no government, no matter how totalitarian, can
              > > stop. A
              > > > fully open society is our best chance for survival.
              > > > - - - - - - - - - - - -
              > > > By Sheldon Pacotti
              > > >
              > > >
              > >
              > http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/31/knowledge/print.html
              > > >
              > > > [article snipped--CJP]
              > >
              >
              > __________________________________________________
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              > The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo
              > http://search.yahoo.com
              >
              >
              > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              > bafuture-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              >
              >
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              --
              Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
              Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org
            • Troy Gardner
              ... As do I but I fear that given the huge economic reasons for having assemblers and a global non-uniformy policed world, this will be easier said than done.
              Message 6 of 17 , Apr 21, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                > What you are saying is to allow the free trade of info, but restrict
                > Hardware. So in todays terms that would be like allowing music trade
                > but making illegal mp3 players. Or in the future, allowing Genomes
                > to be traded freely, but making a bacterial sythesizer illegal.
                >
                > I think that makes sense in general.

                As do I but I fear that given the huge economic reasons for having assemblers
                and a global non-uniformy policed world, this will be easier said than done.
                Transparent Socieities will still have a significant amount of dark spots on
                it, and even it it's known who does something, the response time till it's
                realized there's a problem, what it is and and damage they can cause by then
                could make it relatively moot.

                Here's a scenario. In the US they will be multi-tier license scheme with
                varying level of 'trust/access' to various parties initially like
                supercomputers were. But just like supercompters (and I imagine given a shorter
                timeline) they will follow the same route onto the desktop and into countries
                with less ethical qualms about using them or letting possibly hostile--or even
                just naive/manipulated-- people use them, to the point where it will be hard
                not to have access to them.

                As we progress along the way to 'ultimate instrumentalities' new versions of
                the assembler technology will undoubtably come out, which eitehr from the
                upgrade path, or repair/maintenance process will open up security holes. Right
                now we have desktop printing and reasonable access to stereolithographic
                machines in wax, plastic, ceramic, and metal. At least one company is working
                on MEMs manufacturing in a similar process. Admittedly these are far from nano
                in most cases, but they all point to the same path.

                Just pondering randomly what features might cause upgrades/maintenance:

                *new build capabilities
                * new materials (more complex biological molecules, metals like sodium
                * smaller feature building
                * higher speed
                * larger size of grown parts
                * error correction (if a harmful molecule/design is possibly created as the
                assembler wears or gets out of calibration (say it's exposed to heat/etc)
                viable first line defenses.

                *cheaper and smaller assembler designs (from refrigerator size to desktop
                printer). If the originals designs are actually so expensive to have access to
                use, companies/universities will choose to license them (if purchasing is even
                an option) and will always be on the lookout on how to save space/money/power.
                Recycling the old ones back to the manufactuere R&D costs will still be high so
                corporate sales people will give/sell the older generation ones to places the
                equivalent of homedepot, walgreens, black market and related easier access.

                *replacement of specifically designed worn/sacrificial parts (telomerase like)
                that can't be made with any licensed device (and act as a revenue stream like
                shaving blades) and keep the devices from running indefinately (kinda like
                Jurassic Parks missing enzyme). If people can do maintenance on assemblers,
                information will eventually get out and they most undoubtably will be able to
                hack them as well. I doubt that if financial pressures are high enough that one
                can't be stolen from the factory and delivered into hands that will find away
                around whatever security mechanisms are put into place.

                *upgrades to the onboard intelligence:

                -the attempting to do the equivalent of virus protection of possibly/known
                malicious designs. -this I find dubious as it will a greater deal of predictive
                power than humans possess (opening up the AI singularity can of worms). This is
                a similar problem to designing new drugs and simulating how they would work
                with the myriad of chemicals in the body.

                -regional, node and user locking (Intellectual Property firewalls) and
                license verification. Screwed as I think it has become at time, IP is here to
                stay. Which will I imagine be just as complex if not more so as existing
                security with such financial pressures behind it. I don't know for sure but I
                imagine the data required to describe a virus is on par with a few decent
                quality movies and probably next to a few seconds to send over Internet2.

                -fix bugs in where such code was prohibiting non malicious designs from
                working.

                Perhaps the way it might pan out is all assembler devices are required to have
                a constant connection to a central network/database, some improbable
                un-hackable design (say a quantum entanglement) which prevents it from running
                anything locally until it's been autorized. Designs are uploaded (with all user
                information) inspected for harm by running on a large simulation (world,
                body/etc),IP validation, and possibly competitive market analysis.

                Here are some possible messages it might generate:

                "Warning: your molecule exhibits a 80% overlap with an existing patent, and a
                55% overlap on an exiting design process, your shopping cart total is:
                $.0000025 *.8 per molecule license (IP#151zagiag) cost
                $.000015 *.55 per molecule interaction (IP#591auara)
                $.000001 per molecule material fee.
                -------------------------------------------------------------
                quantity 5oz = $5234.5252
                + $5 IP check fee,
                + $15 design safety and validation check,
                + $100 setup fee (waived until 4/15);
                + $ 2 connection fee
                + - 100 frequent user discount
                + sales tax at 10%
                bringing your total at 1oz of material to $5623 continue? YES/NO")"


                "Though you specified your design was innocent your design has been deemed
                malicious, due to (#NS-Non-Disclosed Confidential Obsure reason)no reason we
                can tell you about, and armed escort has been detached to pick you up (don't
                worry we know where your at) for questioning, ETA to your present location
                5:15. Please stay in place or you will be charged for the additional transport
                charges. WOuld you like to listen to Britteny Spears, and for us to replicate a
                starbuck cappuchio while you wait?"

                "Your 'platinum binky' design was found to be deemed a threat to national
                security, subject to a 5 year commercial holding period, where the military
                will use your device for free and pay you $.05 for every device they make
                (payable after the holding period) after which it can be sold (if it's
                marketable) on the AbsolutelyFabDesign National network (Competitive market
                analysis suggest $1.00/device). Agree to Terms? YES/NO"

                "Good morning Mr. Dallas, You have 10 points left on your manufacturing
                license"

                Troy.

                =====
                Troy Gardner http://www.troyworks.com

                "How you live your seconds, is how you live your days, is how you live your life..."
              • Chris Phoenix
                You re right that upgrades to nanofactories could cause security problems. Hopefully such upgrades will be rare. A very basic diamondoid nanofactory will be
                Message 7 of 17 , Apr 21, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  You're right that upgrades to nanofactories could cause security
                  problems. Hopefully such upgrades will be rare. A very basic
                  diamondoid nanofactory will be able to make very flexible product
                  designs, preserve maybe 50% of pure-diamond strength even with
                  convergent assembly, and pack active functionality (actuation and
                  computation) into a tiny fraction of product volume. It's hard to see
                  how further improvements would be worth installing a new manufacturing
                  base and training designers to use it. The only exception I can think
                  of is non-diamond chemistry: food and some medicine would require
                  different production equipment.

                  I agree that it may be necessary to have nanofactories checking with a
                  central authority for permisson to operate. This, and the automated
                  patent-checking scheme, are discussed at
                  http://crnano.org/restrictions.htm (Yes, great minds think alike!)

                  Note that automated patent-checking can also be useful for patent
                  reform: it makes it easier to detect if you're trying to patent prior
                  art.

                  Want to write papers for CRN?

                  Chris

                  Troy Gardner wrote:
                  >
                  > > What you are saying is to allow the free trade of info, but restrict
                  > > Hardware. So in todays terms that would be like allowing music trade
                  > > but making illegal mp3 players. Or in the future, allowing Genomes
                  > > to be traded freely, but making a bacterial sythesizer illegal.
                  > >
                  > > I think that makes sense in general.
                  >
                  > As do I but I fear that given the huge economic reasons for having assemblers
                  > and a global non-uniformy policed world, this will be easier said than done.
                  > Transparent Socieities will still have a significant amount of dark spots on
                  > it, and even it it's known who does something, the response time till it's
                  > realized there's a problem, what it is and and damage they can cause by then
                  > could make it relatively moot.
                  >
                  > Here's a scenario. In the US they will be multi-tier license scheme with
                  > varying level of 'trust/access' to various parties initially like
                  > supercomputers were. But just like supercompters (and I imagine given a shorter
                  > timeline) they will follow the same route onto the desktop and into countries
                  > with less ethical qualms about using them or letting possibly hostile--or even
                  > just naive/manipulated-- people use them, to the point where it will be hard
                  > not to have access to them.
                  >
                  > As we progress along the way to 'ultimate instrumentalities' new versions of
                  > the assembler technology will undoubtably come out, which eitehr from the
                  > upgrade path, or repair/maintenance process will open up security holes. Right
                  > now we have desktop printing and reasonable access to stereolithographic
                  > machines in wax, plastic, ceramic, and metal. At least one company is working
                  > on MEMs manufacturing in a similar process. Admittedly these are far from nano
                  > in most cases, but they all point to the same path.
                  >
                  > Just pondering randomly what features might cause upgrades/maintenance:
                  >
                  > *new build capabilities
                  > * new materials (more complex biological molecules, metals like sodium
                  > * smaller feature building
                  > * higher speed
                  > * larger size of grown parts
                  > * error correction (if a harmful molecule/design is possibly created as the
                  > assembler wears or gets out of calibration (say it's exposed to heat/etc)
                  > viable first line defenses.
                  >
                  > *cheaper and smaller assembler designs (from refrigerator size to desktop
                  > printer). If the originals designs are actually so expensive to have access to
                  > use, companies/universities will choose to license them (if purchasing is even
                  > an option) and will always be on the lookout on how to save space/money/power.
                  > Recycling the old ones back to the manufactuere R&D costs will still be high so
                  > corporate sales people will give/sell the older generation ones to places the
                  > equivalent of homedepot, walgreens, black market and related easier access.
                  >
                  > *replacement of specifically designed worn/sacrificial parts (telomerase like)
                  > that can't be made with any licensed device (and act as a revenue stream like
                  > shaving blades) and keep the devices from running indefinately (kinda like
                  > Jurassic Parks missing enzyme). If people can do maintenance on assemblers,
                  > information will eventually get out and they most undoubtably will be able to
                  > hack them as well. I doubt that if financial pressures are high enough that one
                  > can't be stolen from the factory and delivered into hands that will find away
                  > around whatever security mechanisms are put into place.
                  >
                  > *upgrades to the onboard intelligence:
                  >
                  > -the attempting to do the equivalent of virus protection of possibly/known
                  > malicious designs. -this I find dubious as it will a greater deal of predictive
                  > power than humans possess (opening up the AI singularity can of worms). This is
                  > a similar problem to designing new drugs and simulating how they would work
                  > with the myriad of chemicals in the body.
                  >
                  > -regional, node and user locking (Intellectual Property firewalls) and
                  > license verification. Screwed as I think it has become at time, IP is here to
                  > stay. Which will I imagine be just as complex if not more so as existing
                  > security with such financial pressures behind it. I don't know for sure but I
                  > imagine the data required to describe a virus is on par with a few decent
                  > quality movies and probably next to a few seconds to send over Internet2.
                  >
                  > -fix bugs in where such code was prohibiting non malicious designs from
                  > working.
                  >
                  > Perhaps the way it might pan out is all assembler devices are required to have
                  > a constant connection to a central network/database, some improbable
                  > un-hackable design (say a quantum entanglement) which prevents it from running
                  > anything locally until it's been autorized. Designs are uploaded (with all user
                  > information) inspected for harm by running on a large simulation (world,
                  > body/etc),IP validation, and possibly competitive market analysis.
                  >
                  > Here are some possible messages it might generate:
                  >
                  > "Warning: your molecule exhibits a 80% overlap with an existing patent, and a
                  > 55% overlap on an exiting design process, your shopping cart total is:
                  > $.0000025 *.8 per molecule license (IP#151zagiag) cost
                  > $.000015 *.55 per molecule interaction (IP#591auara)
                  > $.000001 per molecule material fee.
                  > -------------------------------------------------------------
                  > quantity 5oz = $5234.5252
                  > + $5 IP check fee,
                  > + $15 design safety and validation check,
                  > + $100 setup fee (waived until 4/15);
                  > + $ 2 connection fee
                  > + - 100 frequent user discount
                  > + sales tax at 10%
                  > bringing your total at 1oz of material to $5623 continue? YES/NO")"
                  >
                  > "Though you specified your design was innocent your design has been deemed
                  > malicious, due to (#NS-Non-Disclosed Confidential Obsure reason)no reason we
                  > can tell you about, and armed escort has been detached to pick you up (don't
                  > worry we know where your at) for questioning, ETA to your present location
                  > 5:15. Please stay in place or you will be charged for the additional transport
                  > charges. WOuld you like to listen to Britteny Spears, and for us to replicate a
                  > starbuck cappuchio while you wait?"
                  >
                  > "Your 'platinum binky' design was found to be deemed a threat to national
                  > security, subject to a 5 year commercial holding period, where the military
                  > will use your device for free and pay you $.05 for every device they make
                  > (payable after the holding period) after which it can be sold (if it's
                  > marketable) on the AbsolutelyFabDesign National network (Competitive market
                  > analysis suggest $1.00/device). Agree to Terms? YES/NO"
                  >
                  > "Good morning Mr. Dallas, You have 10 points left on your manufacturing
                  > license"
                  >
                  > Troy.
                  >
                  > =====
                  > Troy Gardner http://www.troyworks.com
                  >
                  > "How you live your seconds, is how you live your days, is how you live your life..."
                  >
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > bafuture-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

                  --
                  Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
                  Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org
                • Chris Phoenix
                  ... Let s try a few more scenarios. The product you requested, BrainWave 2.7 , was designed under a foreign legal system. The designer gives no assurance
                  Message 8 of 17 , Apr 21, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Troy Gardner wrote:
                    > "Though you specified your design was innocent your design has been deemed
                    > malicious, due to (#NS-Non-Disclosed Confidential Obsure reason)no reason we
                    > can tell you about, and armed escort has been detached to pick you up

                    Let's try a few more scenarios.

                    "The product you requested, "BrainWave 2.7", was designed under a
                    foreign legal system. The designer gives no assurance that it is legal
                    to manufacture or possess this product under your legal code. Your
                    ProductWatch system has calculated a 20% chance that this design is
                    illegal under the following statues: 205.6 (Weapons); 374.1
                    (Psychoactive Devices). Other devices by the same inventor have been
                    determined to be illegal; if this device is subsequently determined to
                    be illegal you may be charged with an Infraction and/or a Misdemeanor.
                    (B)uild anyway --- (R)equest legal opinion ($30) --- (C)ancel"

                    "The device you requested, "BodyScan 1000", is subject to the following
                    restrictions: [Medical] Please input your physician ID code or your
                    prescription code, and look into the biometric window. ... Thank you.
                    The device is also subject to the following restrictions: [Trackable].
                    Such devices require post-manufacture monitoring. 1) This device will
                    track its location. 2) This device will require DNA sampling to
                    identify all users. 3) This device must be returned to proper
                    authorities for disposal; failure to do so is a Class 1 Violation.
                    Please confirm acceptance of privacy terms and responsibilities: (Y)es
                    --- (N)o"

                    "SECURITY WARNING: Due to discovery of an unexpected security problem,
                    this factory has been permanently disabled without advance notice.
                    There is no risk to you. The safety of everyone depends on rapid
                    response to potential security problems. New factories will be
                    distributed within four days and will be available at your local post
                    office. We apologize for the inconvenience."

                    Chris

                    --
                    Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
                    Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org
                  • genomik2
                    Lots of great scenarios and thoughts from all of you on this topic. Let me put this thought out there - that there are more categories than software and
                    Message 9 of 17 , Apr 22, 2003
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Lots of great scenarios and thoughts from all of you on this topic.
                      Let me put this thought out there - that there are more categories
                      than software and hardware. One example might be biological
                      manufacturing devices. Plants and bacteria can be programmed to
                      produce products. In biotech labs today there is often two major
                      competing platforms to build or do assays with - mechanical
                      instruments and bioreactors. A Bioreactor may be a flask of
                      bacterial broth or even a plant or goat that produces chemicals.

                      These types of bio-instruments may be very simple to make and grow
                      as well as difficult to detect and control. Today, a semi skilled
                      Molecular Biologist can alter genes of organisms with just some
                      basic tools. In a few years a script kiddie may be able to do the
                      same, and hide the factory amongst a garden.

                      These threats will be here very soon, much sooner than nanotech
                      assemblers and nanofactories are available. In fact these may be
                      precursors to some nanomanufacture. There are many efforts to
                      control the machinery of biological systems, and rapid progress is
                      being made. A BActerial burner might be mostly mechanical, but it
                      may also be mostly organic in nature, thus getting around
                      restrictions on hardware.

                      Metal detectors can find metal guns or bomb chemicals, but are
                      useless against plastic guns and other non standard weapons. If
                      these "bioware" get produced, and the control systems are designed
                      to control just "hardware", then they will lose much of their power.

                      Of course Transparency is always helpful in all cases.

                      =====

                      By the way, what I meant by the following

                      > A computer itself could become a reconfigurable hardware.

                      is: a computer is much more powerful than for instance a television.
                      TV's are much more difficult to hack or reconfigure to do something
                      other than receive signals and watch them. Most of the consumer
                      electronics are difficult to hack or reconfigure, yet are very
                      entertaining and powerful. Computers on the other hand can be
                      reconfigured to do almost anything; program missiles, simulate
                      atomic bombs, etc. Computers are necessary for almost all advanced
                      tools.

                      OK, its late, i gotta sleep.
                      Thanks for the great thoughts.
                    • Chris Phoenix
                      ... I think the distinction is still useful. Plants and bacteria can be *part* of a gene-expression system, but you still have to synthesize the gene. It
                      Message 10 of 17 , Apr 22, 2003
                      • 0 Attachment
                        genomik2 wrote:
                        >
                        > Lots of great scenarios and thoughts from all of you on this topic.
                        > Let me put this thought out there - that there are more categories
                        > than software and hardware. One example might be biological
                        > manufacturing devices.

                        I think the distinction is still useful. Plants and bacteria can be
                        *part* of a gene-expression system, but you still have to synthesize the
                        gene. It would be very difficult to synthesize a useful gene without a
                        DNA synthesizer. It's true that, given the gene, it's fairly easy to
                        get it expressed, and the organisms involved may be hard to detect. And
                        once the organism is made, it can be physically copied and spread
                        around. But that's still a lot easier to track than sending pure
                        information (e.g. DNA codes) over the Internet.

                        > These threats will be here very soon, much sooner than nanotech
                        > assemblers and nanofactories are available. In fact these may be
                        > precursors to some nanomanufacture.

                        Oh, you think they'll be here within the next five years? :-)

                        Seriously, what is your timeline for assemblers? I think we could
                        easily have them in less than a decade. Maybe not in America.

                        > There are many efforts to
                        > control the machinery of biological systems, and rapid progress is
                        > being made. A BActerial burner might be mostly mechanical, but it
                        > may also be mostly organic in nature, thus getting around
                        > restrictions on hardware.

                        How would this work? How would the information generate the DNA?

                        > Metal detectors can find metal guns or bomb chemicals, but are
                        > useless against plastic guns and other non standard weapons. If
                        > these "bioware" get produced, and the control systems are designed
                        > to control just "hardware", then they will lose much of their power.

                        If the bioware need hardware to produce, then the control systems can
                        help to prevent the production. Granted, once they're produced, they
                        may be hard to track. But we need to distinguish carefully between the
                        product and the means of production. It's the means of production that
                        needs to be controlled.

                        > By the way, what I meant by the following
                        >
                        > > A computer itself could become a reconfigurable hardware.
                        >
                        > is: a computer is much more powerful than for instance a television.
                        > TV's are much more difficult to hack or reconfigure to do something
                        > other than receive signals and watch them. Most of the consumer
                        > electronics are difficult to hack or reconfigure, yet are very
                        > entertaining and powerful. Computers on the other hand can be
                        > reconfigured to do almost anything; program missiles, simulate
                        > atomic bombs, etc. Computers are necessary for almost all advanced
                        > tools.

                        Necessary, but *not* sufficient. That's the key point.

                        I don't think it'll be possible to restrict general-purpose computers.
                        There are too many systems out there already.

                        Chris

                        --
                        Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
                        Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org
                      • genomik2
                        Chris, Thanks for your thoughtful response. Your prediction of assemblers in ~10 years may be true, I think things like that may happen quickly. I am not
                        Message 11 of 17 , Apr 23, 2003
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Chris,

                          Thanks for your thoughtful response. Your prediction of assemblers
                          in ~10 years may be true, I think things like that may happen
                          quickly. I am not attempting to have biotech "race" nanotech though.
                          I am saying that a shield is as strong as the weakest link, and a
                          shield to protect us from "technology" probably should not
                          discriminate. If we make knowledge open & free, and try to control
                          hardware, then we need to control *all* types of hardware - nano and
                          biological.

                          One reason that bio may be a concern is that there are so many
                          groups all over the world working on this. Agricultural biotech is
                          massive already, and countries like India and China are investing
                          heavily. So there is already a huge industry and it is growing at a
                          very fast rate as other countries jump into it.

                          My time line for assemblers - could be here as soon as 10 years. Yet
                          so could bioassemblers. Already groups are repurposing flagellar
                          proteins to become ATP pumps and motors, and other groups are
                          working on similar projects. Now these may not end up being
                          universal assemblers, but may end up being powerful tools
                          nonetheless.

                          I was touching upon the bio vs mechanical thing earlier. Let me
                          expand briefly on this. There are often at least 2 camps doing
                          something. In biotech, there are the Instrument people who are
                          making microarrays to identify genes, proteins etc. There are also
                          other groups that use an entirely cell based assay to measure
                          similar points. Now this assay, made of living cells, may be in a
                          mechanical instrument, so it is not completely biological, but this
                          serves my point of illustrating two very divergent paths to
                          accomplish similar ends. Often the groups and companies working on
                          these two projects know little of each other, as the people working
                          on the projects have different backgrounds - say Mechanical
                          Engineering and Chemistry vs. Molecular Biologists.

                          Right now, DNA sythesis is done mostly with sophisticated equipment
                          yet it may not stay that way. I suspect that it may be possible for
                          example to use a RNA retrovirus infected into cells to make them
                          express DNA of interest. Making single stranded RNA might become
                          extremely easy in a few years, with a simple toolkit required to do
                          this. RNA retroviruses are a workhorse of Molecular biology, taking
                          a Single Stranded RNA and inserting it into a human cell to make
                          Double stranded DNA copies of itself (HIV does this). In fact, a
                          major goal of Agricultural biotech is to get plants to be
                          manufacturing engines for proteins of interest. There are many, MANY
                          Billions being spent on this and perhaps hundreds of thousands (a
                          million?) of scientists may know how to do these techniques. The
                          sheer magnitude of such an effort makes it challenging to control.
                          DNA probes are manufactured in garages already, the technology and
                          tools are widely available to work on DNA/RNA like this. The costs
                          and complexity are decreasing dramatically every year. Soon, if not
                          already, there may be a mechanical device, the size of a CD burner,
                          that is hooked into a computer, that will sythesize DNA/RNA probes
                          very quickly and easily.

                          To stretch out the analogy a bit, digital information has many
                          forms: TCP/IP bit/packets flow on the internet, yet they can also be
                          transferred to a disc or chip that could be transported physically.
                          This ia bit less virtual than the TCP/IP data. Enough of the right
                          type of data on a disc and you have a application. Plug that disc
                          into a different "unauthorized" system and things may happen.

                          In the same way, genomic info on the Internet is one thing, but once
                          that data is tranferred into a probe or physical sequence, it is a
                          bit different type of info. It may be possible to plug that probe
                          into many different types of systems, mechanical or biological to
                          then control the expression of the product. It may be pretty easy to
                          make a vial of some dangerous DNA that could be plugged into a
                          biological system.

                          So today, info is passed around alot, but burning of discs seems to
                          be a big issue. Many folks do not like digital data to be
                          controlled, but songs copied are not life threatening. DNA sequence
                          info may be a bit more dangerous. Not very dangerous in a virtual
                          world, but begin to express it and it becomes more of a concern.

                          Perhaps subcategorization might be helpful

                          INFORMATION:
                          * Raw data and information: Internet, DNA in cells.
                          * Key or control information: serial number, (DNA identification
                          tag - does not exist, but perhaps should - gives info about any
                          sequence as to history, manufacrurer, organism, researcher etc.)
                          * Transitory or self contained info: Program burned onto disc, vial
                          of DNA probes
                          HARDWARE:
                          * Hardware that is re-programmable: desktop computer, engineered
                          plants, bacteria and virus. This type of hardare seems to be more
                          dangerous.
                          * Hardware that is very hardwired to do one thing: VCR, natural
                          plants, possible biotech machines.

                          In computing, there is a massive debate over some of this, biotech
                          is just beginning to encounter some of these issues. Nanotech has
                          yet to happen, though there are groups like Chris's and Foresight
                          that are attempting to think this through. I am sure that some
                          biotech groups are beginning to think about some of this, but will
                          regulations happen fast enough? The trends right now are in the
                          completely opposite direction. Nano still has not happened, so good
                          control systems might be built in in the first place. Biotech is
                          already a semi mature industry that is growing rapidly - difficult
                          to add controls now....

                          If controls are placed on biotech hardware, would this start the
                          field of Genome hacking and cracking?

                          Just some thoughts,
                          Hasta la vista.
                          Erik Sayle


                          --- In bafuture@yahoogroups.com, Chris Phoenix <cphoenix@b...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > genomik2 wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Lots of great scenarios and thoughts from all of you on this
                          topic.
                          > > Let me put this thought out there - that there are more
                          categories
                          > > than software and hardware. One example might be biological
                          > > manufacturing devices.
                          >
                          > I think the distinction is still useful. Plants and bacteria can
                          be
                          > *part* of a gene-expression system, but you still have to
                          synthesize the
                          > gene. It would be very difficult to synthesize a useful gene
                          without a
                          > DNA synthesizer. It's true that, given the gene, it's fairly easy
                          to
                          > get it expressed, and the organisms involved may be hard to
                          detect. And
                          > once the organism is made, it can be physically copied and spread
                          > around. But that's still a lot easier to track than sending pure
                          > information (e.g. DNA codes) over the Internet.
                          >
                          > > These threats will be here very soon, much sooner than nanotech
                          > > assemblers and nanofactories are available. In fact these may be
                          > > precursors to some nanomanufacture.
                          >
                          > Oh, you think they'll be here within the next five years? :-)
                          >
                          > Seriously, what is your timeline for assemblers? I think we could
                          > easily have them in less than a decade. Maybe not in America.
                          >
                          > > There are many efforts to
                          > > control the machinery of biological systems, and rapid progress
                          is
                          > > being made. A BActerial burner might be mostly mechanical, but it
                          > > may also be mostly organic in nature, thus getting around
                          > > restrictions on hardware.
                          >
                          > How would this work? How would the information generate the DNA?
                          >
                          > > Metal detectors can find metal guns or bomb chemicals, but are
                          > > useless against plastic guns and other non standard weapons. If
                          > > these "bioware" get produced, and the control systems are
                          designed
                          > > to control just "hardware", then they will lose much of their
                          power.
                          >
                          > If the bioware need hardware to produce, then the control systems
                          can
                          > help to prevent the production. Granted, once they're produced,
                          they
                          > may be hard to track. But we need to distinguish carefully
                          between the
                          > product and the means of production. It's the means of production
                          that
                          > needs to be controlled.
                          >
                          > > By the way, what I meant by the following
                          > >
                          > > > A computer itself could become a reconfigurable hardware.
                          > >
                          > > is: a computer is much more powerful than for instance a
                          television.
                          > > TV's are much more difficult to hack or reconfigure to do
                          something
                          > > other than receive signals and watch them. Most of the consumer
                          > > electronics are difficult to hack or reconfigure, yet are very
                          > > entertaining and powerful. Computers on the other hand can be
                          > > reconfigured to do almost anything; program missiles, simulate
                          > > atomic bombs, etc. Computers are necessary for almost all
                          advanced
                          > > tools.
                          >
                          > Necessary, but *not* sufficient. That's the key point.
                          >
                          > I don't think it'll be possible to restrict general-purpose
                          computers.
                          > There are too many systems out there already.
                          >
                          > Chris
                          >
                          > --
                          > Chris Phoenix cphoenix@b... http://xenophilia.org
                          > Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder)
                          http://CRNano.org
                        • Chris Phoenix
                          ... I think it should discriminate, depending on how dangerous the technology is. MNT is (will be) a very dangerous technology. Biotech also looks pretty
                          Message 12 of 17 , Apr 23, 2003
                          • 0 Attachment
                            genomik2 wrote:
                            > I am saying that a shield is as strong as the weakest link, and a
                            > shield to protect us from "technology" probably should not
                            > discriminate. If we make knowledge open & free, and try to control
                            > hardware, then we need to control *all* types of hardware - nano and
                            > biological.

                            I think it should discriminate, depending on how dangerous the
                            technology is. MNT is (will be) a very dangerous technology. Biotech
                            also looks pretty dangerous. I don't have enough of a sense of what's
                            involved in practical biotech R&D to know just how dangerous. Of
                            course, the dangers of biotech will be diminished once we get MNT
                            working.

                            > My time line for assemblers - could be here as soon as 10 years. Yet
                            > so could bioassemblers. Already groups are repurposing flagellar
                            > proteins to become ATP pumps and motors, and other groups are
                            > working on similar projects. Now these may not end up being
                            > universal assemblers, but may end up being powerful tools
                            > nonetheless.

                            There's power, and then there's power. The main reason I'm worried
                            about biotech is the potential to develop new human diseases. Aside
                            from that, I don't see it as a major disruptive force.

                            > I was touching upon the bio vs mechanical thing earlier. Let me
                            > expand briefly on this. There are often at least 2 camps doing
                            > something. In biotech, there are the Instrument people who are ....

                            If there are two approaches to doing something, then each approach has
                            to be evaluated separately, and quite possibly controlled separately.
                            If this is the point you're making, I agree with it.

                            > Right now, DNA sythesis is done mostly with sophisticated equipment
                            > yet it may not stay that way. I suspect that it may be possible for
                            > example to use a RNA retrovirus infected into cells to make them
                            > express DNA of interest. Making single stranded RNA might become
                            > extremely easy in a few years, with a simple toolkit required to do
                            > this. RNA retroviruses are a workhorse of Molecular biology, taking
                            > a Single Stranded RNA and inserting it into a human cell to make
                            > Double stranded DNA copies of itself (HIV does this). In fact, a
                            > major goal of Agricultural biotech is to get plants to be
                            > manufacturing engines for proteins of interest. There are many, MANY
                            > Billions being spent on this and perhaps hundreds of thousands (a
                            > million?) of scientists may know how to do these techniques. The
                            > sheer magnitude of such an effort makes it challenging to control.
                            > DNA probes are manufactured in garages already, the technology and
                            > tools are widely available to work on DNA/RNA like this. The costs
                            > and complexity are decreasing dramatically every year. Soon, if not
                            > already, there may be a mechanical device, the size of a CD burner,
                            > that is hooked into a computer, that will sythesize DNA/RNA probes
                            > very quickly and easily.

                            This sounds like bad news. If these CD burners are not tracked, and if
                            they can make strands of DNA (or RNA) long enough to be genes and maybe
                            even viral genomes, then we're in trouble.

                            It sounds like you're saying that there are hundreds of thousands of
                            people who are competent to maintain cell cultures, run a *NA generator,
                            do whatever steps are needed to get the *NA into organisms reliably,
                            etc.
                            Let me ask, as a concrete data point: Polio has been created from DNA
                            synthesizers with a little help from existing cells. Now that it's been
                            done, how many researchers would be able to duplicate the experiment in
                            their garage? How many more could do it with five-year-future
                            technology?

                            > In the same way, genomic info on the Internet is one thing, but once
                            > that data is tranferred into a probe or physical sequence, it is a
                            > bit different type of info. It may be possible to plug that probe
                            > into many different types of systems, mechanical or biological to
                            > then control the expression of the product. It may be pretty easy to
                            > make a vial of some dangerous DNA that could be plugged into a
                            > biological system.

                            The equipment to make a vial of dangerous DNA should be tightly
                            controlled.

                            > DNA sequence
                            > info may be a bit more dangerous. Not very dangerous in a virtual
                            > world, but begin to express it and it becomes more of a concern.

                            Exactly! Which is why I'm arguing that the expressing equipment is the
                            point to apply control. You seem to be saying it's too late--that the
                            equipment is already widely available, uncontrolled. If so, that's some
                            really stupid policy.

                            > Perhaps subcategorization might be helpful
                            >
                            > INFORMATION:
                            > * Raw data and information: Internet, DNA in cells.

                            I disagree. DNA in cells is not raw data. It's a physical embodiment
                            of data. It's not easy to duplicate, and it can't be interconverted
                            with other forms of information. I can copy bits from CD to floppy to
                            mag tape to the Internet and back, and they're still just the same. If
                            DNA sequence readers and generators become as easy to use as floppy
                            drives, then I might start to agree--for applications where you can
                            ignore the effect of the cell on the DNA, methylization, etc.

                            > * Key or control information: serial number, (DNA identification
                            > tag - does not exist, but perhaps should - gives info about any
                            > sequence as to history, manufacrurer, organism, researcher etc.)

                            Too easy to bypass.

                            > * Hardware that is re-programmable: desktop computer, engineered
                            > plants, bacteria and virus. This type of hardare seems to be more
                            > dangerous.
                            > * Hardware that is very hardwired to do one thing: VCR, natural
                            > plants, possible biotech machines.

                            Hm... I don't see how an engineered plant is more re-programmable than a
                            natural plant. They both have a certain chemical behavior, and if you
                            want to change it, you have to go through the whole rigamarole of build
                            the DNA, load it in the gene gun, culture the cells, test for
                            expression, grow the plant.

                            The question is which steps are easy and which are hard. Downloading a
                            program off the Internet and running it is easy. (It does not even need
                            to be copied to disk first.) Downloading a DNA sequence and installing
                            it into a plant is hard. It's probably comparable to writing programs
                            for the microcontroller that's in your VCR, burning a new ROM for the
                            VCR, soldering the ROM in place, and then wiring up sensors to the VCR's
                            clock display to read out the information that you've computed.

                            > In computing, there is a massive debate over some of this,

                            What do you mean?

                            > biotech
                            > is just beginning to encounter some of these issues.

                            Biotech should have seen this coming a decade ago.

                            > Nanotech has
                            > yet to happen, though there are groups like Chris's and Foresight
                            > that are attempting to think this through. I am sure that some
                            > biotech groups are beginning to think about some of this, but will
                            > regulations happen fast enough? The trends right now are in the
                            > completely opposite direction. Nano still has not happened, so good
                            > control systems might be built in in the first place. Biotech is
                            > already a semi mature industry that is growing rapidly - difficult
                            > to add controls now....

                            ARGH!!! Well, at least the new DNA sequencers could be controlled. If
                            I understand correctly, the older ones would only do short sections,
                            slowly, which meant a lot of work to splice them together.

                            > If controls are placed on biotech hardware, would this start the
                            > field of Genome hacking and cracking?

                            Depends on how much of a pain the controls are, and how much they
                            prevent scientists from carrying out legitimate work. I don't think it
                            would be genome hacking and cracking, but biotech hardware hacking and
                            cracking.

                            Chris

                            --
                            Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
                            Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org
                          • Lioudmila Golynskaia
                            http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/05/HO266195.DTL Rhododendrons get dose of frog genes Henry Homeyer, New York Times
                            Message 13 of 17 , Apr 23, 2003
                            • 0 Attachment
                              http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/05/HO266195.DTL




                              Rhododendrons get dose of frog genes

                              Henry Homeyer, New York Times

                              Saturday, April 5, 2003


                              For the past four years, Mark Brand has been inserting genes

                              derived from an African frog into rhododendrons, trying to
                              create
                              a plant with extra resistance to the root rot caused by
                              Phytophthora cinnamomi.

                              A common soil fungus, phytophthora does hundreds of
                              thousands
                              of dollars of damage to rhododendrons every year.

                              Brand is a horticulturist and a director of the plant
                              biotechnology
                              facility at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. And he
                              is able to
                              do what seems impossible to an old-fashioned gardener like
                              myself: implant something he cannot see -- a modified frog
                              gene
                              -- into something else he cannot see, the DNA of a flowering

                              bush.

                              MESS WITH MOTHER NATURE

                              Creating a transgenic plant is so far beyond what
                              traditional
                              gardeners and hybridizers have done that it seems, at first,

                              incomprehensible. But Brand was able to make it seem, to use
                              his
                              words, more like baking a cake. Or almost.

                              Genetic modification has stirred protests in Europe, and
                              some
                              environmentalists believe it presents risks that outweigh
                              benefits.
                              But scientists are unlikely to stop experimenting, and from
                              talking
                              to Brand, I began to see why. The technology offers
                              scientists the
                              chance to create their dream plants.

                              Brand chose to introduce a frog protein because other
                              scientists
                              had already noticed that it worked against other fungi. The
                              challenge was to take the gene that creates the protein and
                              fit it
                              into the genetic sequences of a rhododendron.

                              Though university labs are able to create DNA sequences,
                              these
                              days a researcher can pick up the phone and have a biotech
                              company send one over for about $50. Once Brand had the frog

                              protein DNA sequence in hand, he inserted it into an E. coli

                              bacteria, which enabled him to easily create all the DNA he
                              needed.

                              After determining which bacteria had been successfully
                              married to
                              the new gene, Brand placed them in a rich broth, allowing
                              them to
                              reproduce many times over. He was fattening them for
                              slaughter.

                              The unsuspecting bacteria were centrifuged and lysed with an

                              enzyme, splitting them open so that he could harvest the
                              DNA.

                              The next step was shooting the DNA into rhododendron cells
                              with
                              the potential to develop into complete plants.

                              Brand's gene gun is nothing like the six-shooters that boys
                              have
                              been known to lug around in second grade. A small plastic
                              and
                              metal box that fits easily on the counter, his gene gun is
                              powered
                              by high-pressure helium.

                              His ammo is gold dust covered with frog DNA. It goes onto a
                              thin
                              piece of red mylar that sits on a screen above the tissue
                              sample. A
                              burst of helium knocks the gold off the mylar, sending it
                              flying at
                              the speed of sound.

                              The target is a petri dish with callus cells from a
                              rhododendron leaf.
                              Callus cells are the equivalent of stem cells in animal
                              research. Each
                              can multiply quickly, developing into an entire plant if
                              given the
                              right signals by plant hormones.

                              If all goes well in the petri dish, a few cells are
                              penetrated by motes
                              of gold carrying the specially prepared DNA. Some cells will

                              incorporate the DNA into their own gene sequence at this
                              point,
                              copying it into every cell of the plants to-be.

                              Eventually, after considerable testing to see if the gene is
                              indeed in
                              the plants, these test-tube babies grow into
                              ordinary-looking
                              rhododendron plants. The ultimate test is to inoculate them
                              with
                              the phytophthora fungus to see if they will develop root rot
                              -- or
                              not. Brand does this by contaminating their soil with
                              kernels of
                              ordinary Uncle Ben's rice that have been inoculated with
                              phytophthora, 36 grains per pot. Controls are grown, too.

                              MODIFYING ROSES, GERANIUMS

                              Brand said other scientists were genetically modifying roses
                              in
                              hopes of developing varieties resistant to powdery mildew
                              and
                              black spot. Still others imagine a rose with a new perfume,
                              or
                              maybe an unusual hue. (But if you are picturing a perfect
                              black rose,
                              don't count on that happening soon; roses are difficult to
                              work
                              with, and black is the toughest color to create.)

                              Easy-to-manipulate petunias and geraniums have been changing

                              colors in labs for years. How soon will they, or the new
                              improved
                              rhododendrons, appear at the local garden center? Not soon
                              at
                              all.

                              Rhododendron testing will take about eight years, and
                              additional
                              time will be needed for government approval of commercial
                              products.

                              But success seems likely in the end. Brand is determined to
                              build a
                              better rhodie, and the technology is there to do so.

                              He pointed to a row of quart-size pots in a temperature- and

                              climate- controlled chamber at his lab with the proud look
                              of a
                              new father. The young rhodies were shiny-leaved and looked
                              pest-free to this gardener.
                            • Chris Phoenix
                              Wow... I didn t expect you could get a whole gene for $50. That s impressive. And scary. I note that the bacteria have to be tested, and then the plants have
                              Message 14 of 17 , Apr 24, 2003
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Wow... I didn't expect you could get a whole gene for $50. That's
                                impressive. And scary.

                                I note that the bacteria have to be tested, and then the plants have to
                                be tested. It took him four years to get this far. How many of these
                                steps can be speeded up?

                                I suppose to create a pathogen you just have to get as far as the
                                insert-into-E-coli step. How hard is that? Is it something that a
                                competent person could learn about on the Internet, or does it take
                                intricate technique and lots of training and practice? Does it succeed
                                most of the time? Presumably not, since he had to test the bacteria.

                                Is there any hint of a move to have the DNA synthesis provider companies
                                check the sequences they're making against a database of known pathogen
                                sequences? Would this do any good?

                                Chris

                                Lioudmila Golynskaia wrote:
                                >
                                > http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/05/HO266195.DTL
                                >
                                > Rhododendrons get dose of frog genes
                                >
                                > Henry Homeyer, New York Times
                                >
                                > Saturday, April 5, 2003
                                >
                                > For the past four years, Mark Brand has been inserting genes
                                >
                                > derived from an African frog into rhododendrons, trying to
                                > create
                                > a plant with extra resistance to the root rot caused by
                                > Phytophthora cinnamomi.
                                >
                                > A common soil fungus, phytophthora does hundreds of
                                > thousands
                                > of dollars of damage to rhododendrons every year.
                                >
                                > Brand is a horticulturist and a director of the plant
                                > biotechnology
                                > facility at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. And he
                                > is able to
                                > do what seems impossible to an old-fashioned gardener like
                                > myself: implant something he cannot see -- a modified frog
                                > gene
                                > -- into something else he cannot see, the DNA of a flowering
                                >
                                > bush.
                                >
                                > MESS WITH MOTHER NATURE
                                >
                                > Creating a transgenic plant is so far beyond what
                                > traditional
                                > gardeners and hybridizers have done that it seems, at first,
                                >
                                > incomprehensible. But Brand was able to make it seem, to use
                                > his
                                > words, more like baking a cake. Or almost.
                                >
                                > Genetic modification has stirred protests in Europe, and
                                > some
                                > environmentalists believe it presents risks that outweigh
                                > benefits.
                                > But scientists are unlikely to stop experimenting, and from
                                > talking
                                > to Brand, I began to see why. The technology offers
                                > scientists the
                                > chance to create their dream plants.
                                >
                                > Brand chose to introduce a frog protein because other
                                > scientists
                                > had already noticed that it worked against other fungi. The
                                > challenge was to take the gene that creates the protein and
                                > fit it
                                > into the genetic sequences of a rhododendron.
                                >
                                > Though university labs are able to create DNA sequences,
                                > these
                                > days a researcher can pick up the phone and have a biotech
                                > company send one over for about $50. Once Brand had the frog
                                >
                                > protein DNA sequence in hand, he inserted it into an E. coli
                                >
                                > bacteria, which enabled him to easily create all the DNA he
                                > needed.
                                >
                                > After determining which bacteria had been successfully
                                > married to
                                > the new gene, Brand placed them in a rich broth, allowing
                                > them to
                                > reproduce many times over. He was fattening them for
                                > slaughter.
                                >
                                > The unsuspecting bacteria were centrifuged and lysed with an
                                >
                                > enzyme, splitting them open so that he could harvest the
                                > DNA.
                                >
                                > The next step was shooting the DNA into rhododendron cells
                                > with
                                > the potential to develop into complete plants.
                                >
                                > Brand's gene gun is nothing like the six-shooters that boys
                                > have
                                > been known to lug around in second grade. A small plastic
                                > and
                                > metal box that fits easily on the counter, his gene gun is
                                > powered
                                > by high-pressure helium.
                                >
                                > His ammo is gold dust covered with frog DNA. It goes onto a
                                > thin
                                > piece of red mylar that sits on a screen above the tissue
                                > sample. A
                                > burst of helium knocks the gold off the mylar, sending it
                                > flying at
                                > the speed of sound.
                                >
                                > The target is a petri dish with callus cells from a
                                > rhododendron leaf.
                                > Callus cells are the equivalent of stem cells in animal
                                > research. Each
                                > can multiply quickly, developing into an entire plant if
                                > given the
                                > right signals by plant hormones.
                                >
                                > If all goes well in the petri dish, a few cells are
                                > penetrated by motes
                                > of gold carrying the specially prepared DNA. Some cells will
                                >
                                > incorporate the DNA into their own gene sequence at this
                                > point,
                                > copying it into every cell of the plants to-be.
                                >
                                > Eventually, after considerable testing to see if the gene is
                                > indeed in
                                > the plants, these test-tube babies grow into
                                > ordinary-looking
                                > rhododendron plants. The ultimate test is to inoculate them
                                > with
                                > the phytophthora fungus to see if they will develop root rot
                                > -- or
                                > not. Brand does this by contaminating their soil with
                                > kernels of
                                > ordinary Uncle Ben's rice that have been inoculated with
                                > phytophthora, 36 grains per pot. Controls are grown, too.
                                >
                                > MODIFYING ROSES, GERANIUMS
                                >
                                > Brand said other scientists were genetically modifying roses
                                > in
                                > hopes of developing varieties resistant to powdery mildew
                                > and
                                > black spot. Still others imagine a rose with a new perfume,
                                > or
                                > maybe an unusual hue. (But if you are picturing a perfect
                                > black rose,
                                > don't count on that happening soon; roses are difficult to
                                > work
                                > with, and black is the toughest color to create.)
                                >
                                > Easy-to-manipulate petunias and geraniums have been changing
                                >
                                > colors in labs for years. How soon will they, or the new
                                > improved
                                > rhododendrons, appear at the local garden center? Not soon
                                > at
                                > all.
                                >
                                > Rhododendron testing will take about eight years, and
                                > additional
                                > time will be needed for government approval of commercial
                                > products.
                                >
                                > But success seems likely in the end. Brand is determined to
                                > build a
                                > better rhodie, and the technology is there to do so.
                                >
                                > He pointed to a row of quart-size pots in a temperature- and
                                >
                                > climate- controlled chamber at his lab with the proud look
                                > of a
                                > new father. The young rhodies were shiny-leaved and looked
                                > pest-free to this gardener.
                                >
                                >
                                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                > bafuture-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

                                --
                                Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
                                Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org
                              • lists@thecri.org
                                Chris, I do not want to make it sound like anyone can just make death germs at will, but that there are many capable people and that the skills are getting out
                                Message 15 of 17 , Apr 25, 2003
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Chris,

                                  I do not want to make it sound like anyone can just make death germs at
                                  will, but that there are many capable people and that the skills are getting
                                  out there and the tools getting better. Nothing has ever really happened
                                  yet, except Anthrax and Sarin really.

                                  The stuff this plant biologist is doing is pretty much what I was taught to
                                  do in undergrad Plant biology 15 years ago, we did not use a gun, but there
                                  are many, many ways to do this! That is standard Molecular Biology!

                                  Unfortunately, like computing power has risen dramatically over the last 10
                                  years, biotech has grown over the last 10 as well. The last 5 years has seen
                                  much automation coming into the science. 10 years ago, many things were done
                                  by hand, and was tedious. Today, much of the tedium is automated, and cheap!

                                  You are starting to see Biologists self regulating what they publish, but
                                  just a little bit since 911. There is still vast bodies of work on the
                                  Internet, which by the way, grew for 20 years for the use of scientists,
                                  including biologists.

                                  I think 10 years ago it was pretty difficult to make a pathogen, today it is
                                  much easier, but still takes some work. You also need to be affilited with a
                                  lab to purchase many reagents and instruments. I guess that might be a
                                  slightly good thing about the drug war (though it could be achieved in other
                                  ways), it stops anybody from buying reagents and instruments from anywhere.

                                  But today, prices are dropping rapidly. 10 years ago, a medium lab might
                                  cost 100K, today maybe 20K, in a few years the price may drop to a few
                                  thousand dollars to buy lots of automated equipment. Making the polio virus
                                  was a bit complicated to do, but in 2 - 5 years........

                                  Just to make things more interesting, the last thing we want to do in some
                                  ways is stop biotech research, it has much upside, and the last thing we
                                  want are tons of unemployed Molecular Biologists!

                                  Chris also wrote:
                                  > Of course, the dangers of biotech will be diminished once we get MNT
                                  > working.

                                  Why? Biotech will be a danger for a long time. Perhaps sophisticated
                                  nanoantibody factories would be a solution, but they are at least 20 years
                                  out. Vaccines are ok against natural pathogens (sometimes), but unnatural
                                  pathogens might be able to beat all vaccines.

                                  > There's power, and then there's power. The main reason I'm worried
                                  > about biotech is the potential to develop new human diseases. Aside
                                  > from that, I don't see it as a major disruptive force.

                                  I agree Nano could be disruptive for Earth, but biotech will be potentially
                                  disruptive for humans, of which we are part. We exist in the subset that
                                  biotech occupies. Nano could grey goo Earth, but a plague could kill all
                                  humans. To me, just as disruptive.

                                  > You seem to be saying it's too late--that the
                                  > equipment is already widely available, uncontrolled. If so, that's some
                                  > really stupid policy.

                                  Yes, well it sort of is out there, and every day it gets more distributed
                                  and efficient. That is why I advocate Transparency as well as not pissing
                                  off too many people - "oh, what we are! shit...." Seriously, intent is
                                  important here, until recently, most biotech people have been on our side,
                                  and biotech people have been *very* good at mot doing biowarfare. You could
                                  not really even talk about it until 911 within industry or academia. Biotech
                                  was pretty good at controlling their own PR & Reality like this.

                                  Of course now anybody can talk about it, it is big industry now! Homeland
                                  defense! Implicit in defense is that there is offense. Well, the more we
                                  defend (like against Iraq), i think there will become offense to fill that
                                  role. But maybe I am wrong........

                                  It is a big dillema, what to not allow out there. Do you regulate the info
                                  or the hardware? I would say this is a tricky question, the hardware is
                                  already out there, so perhaps regulating the info would be good. Of course,
                                  things may change and more control may be implemented on hardware......

                                  I am sure that some groups are thinking alot about this of late, but there
                                  are tough choices to make, and even then there is no good answer.....


                                  > > Perhaps subcategorization might be helpful
                                  > >
                                  > > INFORMATION:
                                  > > * Raw data and information: Internet, DNA in cells.
                                  >
                                  > I disagree. DNA in cells is not raw data. It's a physical embodiment
                                  > of data. It's not easy to duplicate, and it can't be interconverted
                                  > with other forms of information. I can copy bits from CD to floppy to
                                  > mag tape to the Internet and back, and they're still just the same. If
                                  > DNA sequence readers and generators become as easy to use as floppy
                                  > drives, then I might start to agree--for applications where you can
                                  > ignore the effect of the cell on the DNA, methylization, etc.

                                  They are close; DNA can be converted easily to bytes and transfered and then
                                  remade into DNA. There is work being done on a Nanopore DNA sequencer that
                                  could sequence an entire human in a few hours. In ten years all life on
                                  Earth may have been sequenced and placed onto bytes!

                                  >
                                  > > * Key or control information: serial number, (DNA identification
                                  > > tag - does not exist, but perhaps should - gives info about any
                                  > > sequence as to history, manufacrurer, organism, researcher etc.)
                                  >
                                  > Too easy to bypass.

                                  True, but othersise there is no control, no identification.

                                  >
                                  > > * Hardware that is re-programmable: desktop computer, engineered
                                  > > plants, bacteria and virus. This type of hardare seems to be more
                                  > > dangerous.
                                  > > * Hardware that is very hardwired to do one thing: VCR, natural
                                  > > plants, possible biotech machines.
                                  >
                                  > Hm... I don't see how an engineered plant is more re-programmable than a
                                  > natural plant. They both have a certain chemical behavior, and if you
                                  > want to change it, you have to go through the whole rigamarole of build
                                  > the DNA, load it in the gene gun, culture the cells, test for
                                  > expression, grow the plant.

                                  Some plants are engineered to be receptacles for genes.

                                  >
                                  > The question is which steps are easy and which are hard. Downloading a
                                  > program off the Internet and running it is easy. (It does not even need
                                  > to be copied to disk first.) Downloading a DNA sequence and installing
                                  > it into a plant is hard. It's probably comparable to writing programs
                                  > for the microcontroller that's in your VCR, burning a new ROM for the
                                  > VCR, soldering the ROM in place, and then wiring up sensors to the VCR's
                                  > clock display to read out the information that you've computed.

                                  Easier & getting easier....
                                  >
                                  > > In computing, there is a massive debate over some of this,
                                  >
                                  > What do you mean?

                                  Copyrights, control, hacking etc.

                                  >
                                  > > biotech
                                  > > is just beginning to encounter some of these issues.
                                  >
                                  > Biotech should have seen this coming a decade ago.

                                  They sort of did, but what are ya gonna do? STOP....

                                  >
                                  > > Nanotech has
                                  > > yet to happen, though there are groups like Chris's and Foresight
                                  > > that are attempting to think this through. I am sure that some
                                  > > biotech groups are beginning to think about some of this, but will
                                  > > regulations happen fast enough? The trends right now are in the
                                  > > completely opposite direction. Nano still has not happened, so good
                                  > > control systems might be built in in the first place. Biotech is
                                  > > already a semi mature industry that is growing rapidly - difficult
                                  > > to add controls now....
                                  >
                                  > ARGH!!! Well, at least the new DNA sequencers could be controlled. If
                                  > I understand correctly, the older ones would only do short sections,
                                  > slowly, which meant a lot of work to splice them together.
                                  >
                                  > > If controls are placed on biotech hardware, would this start the
                                  > > field of Genome hacking and cracking?
                                  >
                                  > Depends on how much of a pain the controls are, and how much they
                                  > prevent scientists from carrying out legitimate work. I don't think it
                                  > would be genome hacking and cracking, but biotech hardware hacking and
                                  > cracking.

                                  Erik Sayle



                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  > From: "Chris Phoenix" <cphoenix@...>
                                  > Wow... I didn't expect you could get a whole gene for $50. That's
                                  > impressive. And scary.
                                  >
                                  > I note that the bacteria have to be tested, and then the plants have to
                                  > be tested. It took him four years to get this far. How many of these
                                  > steps can be speeded up?
                                  >
                                  > I suppose to create a pathogen you just have to get as far as the
                                  > insert-into-E-coli step. How hard is that? Is it something that a
                                  > competent person could learn about on the Internet, or does it take
                                  > intricate technique and lots of training and practice? Does it succeed
                                  > most of the time? Presumably not, since he had to test the bacteria.
                                  >
                                  > Is there any hint of a move to have the DNA synthesis provider companies
                                  > check the sequences they're making against a database of known pathogen
                                  > sequences? Would this do any good?
                                  >
                                  > Chris
                                  >
                                  > Lioudmila Golynskaia wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/05
                                  /HO266195.DTL
                                  > >
                                  > > Rhododendrons get dose of frog genes
                                  > >
                                  > > Henry Homeyer, New York Times
                                  > >
                                  > > Saturday, April 5,
                                  2003
                                  > >
                                  > > For the past four years, Mark Brand has been inserting
                                  genes
                                  > >
                                  > > derived from an African frog into rhododendrons, trying
                                  to
                                  > > create
                                  > > a plant with extra resistance to the root rot caused by
                                  > > Phytophthora cinnamomi.
                                  > >
                                  > > A common soil fungus, phytophthora does hundreds of
                                  > > thousands
                                  > > of dollars of damage to rhododendrons every year.
                                  > >
                                  > > Brand is a horticulturist and a director of the plant
                                  > > biotechnology
                                  > > facility at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. And
                                  he
                                  > > is able to
                                  > > do what seems impossible to an old-fashioned gardener
                                  like
                                  > > myself: implant something he cannot see -- a modified
                                  frog
                                  > > gene
                                  > > -- into something else he cannot see, the DNA of a
                                  flowering
                                  > >
                                  > > bush.
                                  > >
                                  > > MESS WITH MOTHER NATURE
                                  > >
                                  > > Creating a transgenic plant is so far beyond what
                                  > > traditional
                                  > > gardeners and hybridizers have done that it seems, at
                                  first,
                                  > >
                                  > > incomprehensible. But Brand was able to make it seem, to
                                  use
                                  > > his
                                  > > words, more like baking a cake. Or almost.
                                  > >
                                  > > Genetic modification has stirred protests in Europe, and
                                  > > some
                                  > > environmentalists believe it presents risks that
                                  outweigh
                                  > > benefits.
                                  > > But scientists are unlikely to stop experimenting, and
                                  from
                                  > > talking
                                  > > to Brand, I began to see why. The technology offers
                                  > > scientists the
                                  > > chance to create their dream plants.
                                  > >
                                  > > Brand chose to introduce a frog protein because other
                                  > > scientists
                                  > > had already noticed that it worked against other fungi.
                                  The
                                  > > challenge was to take the gene that creates the protein
                                  and
                                  > > fit it
                                  > > into the genetic sequences of a rhododendron.
                                  > >
                                  > > Though university labs are able to create DNA sequences,
                                  > > these
                                  > > days a researcher can pick up the phone and have a
                                  biotech
                                  > > company send one over for about $50. Once Brand had the
                                  frog
                                  > >
                                  > > protein DNA sequence in hand, he inserted it into an E.
                                  coli
                                  > >
                                  > > bacteria, which enabled him to easily create all the DNA
                                  he
                                  > > needed.
                                  > >
                                  > > After determining which bacteria had been successfully
                                  > > married to
                                  > > the new gene, Brand placed them in a rich broth,
                                  allowing
                                  > > them to
                                  > > reproduce many times over. He was fattening them for
                                  > > slaughter.
                                  > >
                                  > > The unsuspecting bacteria were centrifuged and lysed
                                  with an
                                  > >
                                  > > enzyme, splitting them open so that he could harvest the
                                  > > DNA.
                                  > >
                                  > > The next step was shooting the DNA into rhododendron
                                  cells
                                  > > with
                                  > > the potential to develop into complete plants.
                                  > >
                                  > > Brand's gene gun is nothing like the six-shooters that
                                  boys
                                  > > have
                                  > > been known to lug around in second grade. A small
                                  plastic
                                  > > and
                                  > > metal box that fits easily on the counter, his gene gun
                                  is
                                  > > powered
                                  > > by high-pressure helium.
                                  > >
                                  > > His ammo is gold dust covered with frog DNA. It goes
                                  onto a
                                  > > thin
                                  > > piece of red mylar that sits on a screen above the
                                  tissue
                                  > > sample. A
                                  > > burst of helium knocks the gold off the mylar, sending
                                  it
                                  > > flying at
                                  > > the speed of sound.
                                  > >
                                  > > The target is a petri dish with callus cells from a
                                  > > rhododendron leaf.
                                  > > Callus cells are the equivalent of stem cells in animal
                                  > > research. Each
                                  > > can multiply quickly, developing into an entire plant if
                                  > > given the
                                  > > right signals by plant hormones.
                                  > >
                                  > > If all goes well in the petri dish, a few cells are
                                  > > penetrated by motes
                                  > > of gold carrying the specially prepared DNA. Some cells
                                  will
                                  > >
                                  > > incorporate the DNA into their own gene sequence at this
                                  > > point,
                                  > > copying it into every cell of the plants to-be.
                                  > >
                                  > > Eventually, after considerable testing to see if the
                                  gene is
                                  > > indeed in
                                  > > the plants, these test-tube babies grow into
                                  > > ordinary-looking
                                  > > rhododendron plants. The ultimate test is to inoculate
                                  them
                                  > > with
                                  > > the phytophthora fungus to see if they will develop root
                                  rot
                                  > > -- or
                                  > > not. Brand does this by contaminating their soil with
                                  > > kernels of
                                  > > ordinary Uncle Ben's rice that have been inoculated with
                                  > > phytophthora, 36 grains per pot. Controls are grown,
                                  too.
                                  > >
                                  > > MODIFYING ROSES, GERANIUMS
                                  > >
                                  > > Brand said other scientists were genetically modifying
                                  roses
                                  > > in
                                  > > hopes of developing varieties resistant to powdery
                                  mildew
                                  > > and
                                  > > black spot. Still others imagine a rose with a new
                                  perfume,
                                  > > or
                                  > > maybe an unusual hue. (But if you are picturing a
                                  perfect
                                  > > black rose,
                                  > > don't count on that happening soon; roses are difficult
                                  to
                                  > > work
                                  > > with, and black is the toughest color to create.)
                                  > >
                                  > > Easy-to-manipulate petunias and geraniums have been
                                  changing
                                  > >
                                  > > colors in labs for years. How soon will they, or the new
                                  > > improved
                                  > > rhododendrons, appear at the local garden center? Not
                                  soon
                                  > > at
                                  > > all.
                                  > >
                                  > > Rhododendron testing will take about eight years, and
                                  > > additional
                                  > > time will be needed for government approval of
                                  commercial
                                  > > products.
                                  > >
                                  > > But success seems likely in the end. Brand is determined
                                  to
                                  > > build a
                                  > > better rhodie, and the technology is there to do so.
                                  > >
                                  > > He pointed to a row of quart-size pots in a temperature-
                                  and
                                  > >
                                  > > climate- controlled chamber at his lab with the proud
                                  look
                                  > > of a
                                  > > new father. The young rhodies were shiny-leaved and
                                  looked
                                  > > pest-free to this gardener.
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                  > > bafuture-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                                  http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                  >
                                  > --
                                  > Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
                                  > Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                  > bafuture-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Chris Phoenix
                                  ... Don t forget the E.coli attack by the Rajneeshis in September 84. ... Not to mention, doing them by hand requires better technique, which means more
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Apr 25, 2003
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    lists@... wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Chris,
                                    >
                                    > I do not want to make it sound like anyone can just make death germs at
                                    > will, but that there are many capable people and that the skills are getting
                                    > out there and the tools getting better. Nothing has ever really happened
                                    > yet, except Anthrax and Sarin really.

                                    Don't forget the E.coli attack by the Rajneeshis in September '84.

                                    > Unfortunately, like computing power has risen dramatically over the last 10
                                    > years, biotech has grown over the last 10 as well. The last 5 years has seen
                                    > much automation coming into the science. 10 years ago, many things were done
                                    > by hand, and was tedious. Today, much of the tedium is automated, and cheap!

                                    Not to mention, doing them by hand requires better technique, which
                                    means more training and competence.

                                    > But today, prices are dropping rapidly. 10 years ago, a medium lab might
                                    > cost 100K, today maybe 20K, in a few years the price may drop to a few
                                    > thousand dollars to buy lots of automated equipment. Making the polio virus
                                    > was a bit complicated to do, but in 2 - 5 years........

                                    A few thousand bucks... yike.

                                    > Just to make things more interesting, the last thing we want to do in some
                                    > ways is stop biotech research, it has much upside, and the last thing we
                                    > want are tons of unemployed Molecular Biologists!

                                    Oh, I'm not saying we should stop biotech research! Not at all! I'm
                                    just saying we should have a way to track what's going on. And if we
                                    don't have it with biotech, we may not have it with nanotech either.

                                    > Chris also wrote:
                                    > > Of course, the dangers of biotech will be diminished once we get MNT
                                    > > working.
                                    >
                                    > Why? Biotech will be a danger for a long time. Perhaps sophisticated
                                    > nanoantibody factories would be a solution, but they are at least 20 years
                                    > out. Vaccines are ok against natural pathogens (sometimes), but unnatural
                                    > pathogens might be able to beat all vaccines.

                                    "Get MNT working" could easily be less than 20 years out. I think 10-15
                                    for the basic assembler/nanofactory, and another few years to learn to
                                    use the new capabilities biologically/medically.

                                    Of course in high-tech fields, 20 years is a "long time". If
                                    super-plagues become a mail-order commodity in the next decade, we're
                                    still screwed.

                                    > > There's power, and then there's power. The main reason I'm worried
                                    > > about biotech is the potential to develop new human diseases. Aside
                                    > > from that, I don't see it as a major disruptive force.
                                    >
                                    > I agree Nano could be disruptive for Earth, but biotech will be potentially
                                    > disruptive for humans, of which we are part. We exist in the subset that
                                    > biotech occupies. Nano could grey goo Earth, but a plague could kill all
                                    > humans. To me, just as disruptive.

                                    A plague is a definite possibility, and would certainly be disruptive.
                                    (Even SARS is a bit disruptive.) I don't mean to suggest that it
                                    wouldn't. Yes, in theory it could wipe out all humanity, if someone
                                    were really evil. But with MNT, there are ways that really bad things
                                    could happen even if no one was evil. For example, an arms race
                                    involves everyone doing exactly what they're supposed to.

                                    > Yes, well it sort of is out there, and every day it gets more distributed
                                    > and efficient. That is why I advocate Transparency as well as not pissing
                                    > off too many people - "oh, what we are! shit...." Seriously, intent is
                                    > important here, until recently, most biotech people have been on our side,
                                    > and biotech people have been *very* good at mot doing biowarfare. You could
                                    > not really even talk about it until 911 within industry or academia. Biotech
                                    > was pretty good at controlling their own PR & Reality like this.

                                    I assume you're talking about America here--the Soviet Union was
                                    apparently doing biowarfare all along. And so presumably there are lots
                                    of unemployed biowarfare--not just biotech--workers over there right
                                    now...

                                    > It is a big dillema, what to not allow out there. Do you regulate the info
                                    > or the hardware? I would say this is a tricky question, the hardware is
                                    > already out there, so perhaps regulating the info would be good. Of course,
                                    > things may change and more control may be implemented on hardware......

                                    Well, at least regulate the better hardware that's coming! Put in
                                    something like DRM where it has to report back to home base about which
                                    sequences it's building. ... Or is that useful? It doesn't seem like
                                    it would be too hard to compare the sequence it's building with known
                                    pathogen sequences. Especially that one that made the rabbit virus so
                                    lethal.

                                    > I am sure that some groups are thinking alot about this of late, but there
                                    > are tough choices to make, and even then there is no good answer.....

                                    What are the tradeoffs? So far I don't see any tradeoffs--just things
                                    that could be done but aren't.

                                    > > I disagree. DNA in cells is not raw data. It's a physical
                                    >
                                    > They are close; DNA can be converted easily to bytes and transfered and then
                                    > remade into DNA. There is work being done on a Nanopore DNA sequencer that
                                    > could sequence an entire human in a few hours. In ten years all life on
                                    > Earth may have been sequenced and placed onto bytes!

                                    Then in ten years I'll agree with you. :-)

                                    > > > * Key or control information: serial number, (DNA identification
                                    > > > tag - does not exist, but perhaps should - gives info about any
                                    > > > sequence as to history, manufacrurer, organism, researcher etc.)
                                    > >
                                    > > Too easy to bypass.
                                    >
                                    > True, but othersise there is no control, no identification.

                                    If the sequencers reported each sequence they made, then as soon as you
                                    found a sequence you'd know where it came from. (Unless it was a common
                                    sequence--in which case it hopefully wouldn't matter.)

                                    If the control has to be built in to the DNA, doesn't that risk coding
                                    for something you don't mean to? I wouldn't expect anyone would be
                                    willing to use a gene plus a bunch of junk at the end.

                                    > Some plants are engineered to be receptacles for genes.

                                    Wow, I didn't know that.

                                    > > Downloading a DNA sequence and installing
                                    > > it into a plant is hard. It's probably comparable to writing programs
                                    > > for the microcontroller that's in your VCR, burning a new ROM for the
                                    > > VCR, soldering the ROM in place, and then wiring up sensors to the VCR's
                                    > > clock display to read out the information that you've computed.
                                    >
                                    > Easier & getting easier....

                                    Eeek.

                                    > > > biotech
                                    > > > is just beginning to encounter some of these issues.
                                    > >
                                    > > Biotech should have seen this coming a decade ago.
                                    >
                                    > They sort of did, but what are ya gonna do? STOP....

                                    Don't stop, but keep better track of the hardware and what it's being
                                    used for.

                                    Chris

                                    --
                                    Chris Phoenix cphoenix@... http://xenophilia.org
                                    Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (co-founder) http://CRNano.org
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