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Information as two-edged sword: Biohackers encoded malware in DNA strand

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From Andy Greenberg at Wired:

In new research they plan to present at the USENIX Security conference on Thursday, a group of researchers from the University of Washington has shown for the first time that it’s possible to encode malicious software into physical strands of DNA, so that when a gene sequencer analyzes it the resulting data becomes a program that corrupts gene-sequencing software and takes control of the underlying computer. While that attack is far from practical for any real spy or criminal, it’s one the researchers argue could become more likely over time, as DNA sequencing becomes more commonplace, powerful, and performed by third-party services on sensitive computer systems. And, perhaps more to the point for the cybersecurity community, it also represents an impressive, sci-fi feat of sheer hacker ingenuity. More.

Is there evidence that any human being could do something that another human being could not thwart? That alone is a reason for doubting claims about the triumph of artificial intelligence over humans. It will in fact be the triumph of some humans over others because artificial intelligence is not aliveanddoes not want anything. No one knows how to make an entity want a given outcome if that entity is not alive.

See also: What to fear from intelligent robots: How did HAL get endowed with a desire to stay alive despite it not being programmed in?

Retro: Stephen Hawking warns of evil space aliens

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What can we hope to learn about animal minds?

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