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Singularity University: Cyber Crime and Terrorism

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Update: Found this video online of Marc Goodman speaking about future crimes. >

singularity university logoThis morning I attended my first full session of Singularity University. I had always about SU and I even applied to attend their first class ever but was rejected (probably because I was hugely naive and still in undergrad at the time :)).

Luckily this year though my friend Vivek Wadhwa – who’s been a professor at every top school, writers for the Washington Post, and recently took the VP of Academics position at SU – invited me to the executive program going on this week.

I was super excited to attend a full day of classes, I even woke up early for it and class started at 8:45am sharp. First up was an hour on neuroscience by Chris deCharms, next was an hour on our Energy infrastructure primarily about Electricity by Gregg Maryniak, followed by some medicine startup demos led by Daniel Kraft, then finally the talk that blew my mind – Policy, Law, and Ethics by Marc Goodman.

I’ll be honest going into the last talk titled “Policy, Law, and Ethics” after being mentally drained by multidisciplinary thinking, I wasn’t expecting much. But WOW was I wrong.

The ethics portion of Marc’s talk was interesting but I had heard much of the debate over a TED talk by Paul Root Wolphe “It’s time to question bio-engineering” (highly recommended). But the second part of his talk about what criminal, terrorism, governments, and interest groups are doing with exponential technology was extremely eye-opening.

We as entrepreneurs, inventors, and creators typically think of the positive implications of new technology but it’s critically important to also realize what the “bad” groups are doing with these technologies as well. During Marc’s talk he gives eye-opening after eye-opening example of what is already happening out in the world right now. Here are some of the examples he gave during his talk:

And the list goes on and on and on. In fact I left out the most disturbing and gruesome examples, but I’m sure you get the point. If you want more examples I recommend checking out Marc Goodman’s FutureCrimes blog.

The main takeaway for me was the lines between governments, interest groups, criminal groups, and terrorist groups is blurring. What used to be available only for the FBI and CIA are now being put to individual group use and we are going to have to deal with the consequences of this.

As Marc Goodman said at the end of his talk at Singularity University, “The internet was originally created with just a few nodes mostly by Universities and there was no need to build security into the system.” But now we must take responsibility for our current realities.

Written by Chris McCann

December 8, 2011 at 9:08 am


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