‘[The] strengthen[ing] of self-governance and compliance standards’ is one of the directions that the private sector might pursue to minimise the dangers of emerging technologies – according to a recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (‘SIPRI’).
The report, ‘BIO PLUS X’, notes that advances in three specific emerging technologies – additive manufacturing (‘AM’), artificial intelligence (‘A’I) and robotics, ‘could facilitate, each in their own way, the development or production of biological weapons and their delivery systems. This could be by enabling the automation of developmental or production steps that previously required manual manipulation or analysis by a human. They could also provide new possibilities for biological weapon use and increase the exposure of digitized biological data and operating parameters to cyberattacks.’
But, it notes, while each is difficult to control and the barriers to exploiting these technologies for the purpose of developing biological weapons remain ‘significant’, there are steps that can be taken by the private, public and academic sectors to reduce risks.
It suggests, for example, that ‘companies that produce commercial drones could develop international industry standards for embedding, and regularly updating, specific no-fly-zones at the programming phase to prevent the misuse of their systems in conflict zones or other sensitive areas,’ and that companies that sell automated laboratory services ‘could create databases of orders that would enable them to develop a list of legitimate and trusted customers. They could also work together to identify cyber- and physical security standards that would limit the risks related to sabotage of robotic laboratories.’
The report is at: