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Posted: June 16, 2009

Cybernetic nanocrime a future threat to public safety

(Nanowerk News) "The future path through cyberspace is filled with threats and opportunities, most of which cannot even be imagined today," says Gene Stephens, a member of the FBI Futures Working Group, the World Future Society, and a charter member of Police-Futurists International. "With the equivalent of 5,000 years of technological progress expected between 2000 and 2025, it’s difficult to forecast the dilemmas that lie ahead."
Yet, that is precisely what Gene Stephens has endeavored to do.
Stephens says that the rapid rate of technological advancement may lead to development of a whole host of new internet-enabled devices in the decades to come. Many of these devices could be exploited by criminals in surprising ways. For instance, cybernetic brain implants, which exist today in limited form, could become more capable and popular in the next three decades as innovations in nanotechnology, materials and computer science enable researchers to better understand how neurons interact with inorganic matter. Future-implants, which will likely be Internet enabled to allow for brain-based Web surfing, could be vulnerable to hi-jack or disruption.
Microscopic nanodevices, released into the atmosphere or the bloodstream, could one day capture and record all spoken and physical activity, a development which could, in turn, lead to ubiquitous surveillance, or worse.
"The Internet as we know it—computers, Web sites, e-mail, blogs, e-commerce, etc.—may be outdated as soon as the early years of the next decade (the ‘twenty-teens’)," Stephens wrote in the July 2008 issue of THE FUTURIST magazine.
"All communication will be handled by a seamless, wireless network of airborne signals moving between nanobots and individuals with transmitters implanted in them. At this point, cyberoffenses will become very personal, as an attack on the Web is a direct attack on the user, possibly even invading his brain and memory stored in neural networks."
Stephens, joined by Al Youngs, also of the FBI Futures Working Group, will address these and other issues related to policing and public safety at WorldFuture 2009, the annual conference of the World Future Society.
WorldFuture 2009: Innovation and Creativity in a Complex World, the annual conference of the World Future Society will take place July 17-19, 2009 at the Hilton Chicago, Chicago, Illinois Professional Members’ Forum: July 20, 2009. Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than eighty countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities.
The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006), and scientist and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2006).
This year’s speakers include: Ambassador John W. McDonald, Robert D. Atkinson, former project director of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, labor expert Edward E. Gordon, longevity expert Michael Zey, bioweapons expert Barry Kellman, and bestselling author of Grown Up Digital Don Tapscott.
Source: World Future Society
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