Technology is typically neither moral nor immoral. It depends on the use to which it is put. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -- one of the earliest funders of the precursor to the internet, among other things -- recently released a report about its Insect Allies research program. Insect Allies proposes speeding up genetic modification of crops, for protective purposes, by having "millions of insects carrying viruses descend upon crops and then genetically modify them." Surprising no one but DARPA, perhaps, a group of independent scientists and lawyers published a warning in Science arguing that the Insect Allies project should be shut down: the research may run afoul of a 1975 treaty banning biological weapons and could be used offensively, by the U.S. and other countries. Are some research directions best left unexplored? Who decides? This was an issue students in my online comparative science fiction class wrestled with this week. www.nytimes.com/2018/10/04/science/darpa-gene-editing.html
Leave a Reply.
Blog sharing news about geography, philosophy, world affairs, and outside-the-box learning
This blog also appears on Facebook: