Friday, March 15, 2013

Spook Country

How could I not repost these two links?
Alternate-reality games are no longer just for geeks and corporations that want to sell you stuff. America’s intelligence agents now think these interactive games could make for a better way to study human psychology and social behavior.

The intelligence community’s blue-sky researchers, the Intelligence Advanced Research Agency (IARPA), announced they’re seeking designers for alternate-reality games, or ARGs. It’s for work, they swear. The project, which goes by the name UAREHERE (as in “you are here”), “may provide capabilities that allow for high-quality, externally valid social, behavioral and psychological research in near-real world contexts,” according to a request for information released this week.
- U.S. Spies Want to Play Alternate-Reality Games (For Work, They Swear.) by Robert Beckhusen. (Via Wired.)

And also:
Over the past two years, Mexican scientists involved in bio- and nanotechnology have become targets. They’re not threatened by the nation’s drug cartels. They’re marked for death by a group of bomb-building eco-terrorists with the professed goal of destroying human civilization.

The group, which goes by the name Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (ITS), posted its manifesto to anarchist blog Liberacion Total last month. The manifesto takes credit for a failed bombing attempt that month against a researcher at the Biotechnology Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. And the group promises more.

“We have said it before, we act without any compassion in the feral defense of Wild Nature,” the manifesto states. “Did those who modify and destroy the Earth think their actions wouldn’t have repercussions? That they wouldn’t pay a price? If they thought so, they are mistaken.” The group threatens more bombings against Mexican scientists because “they must pay for what they are doing to the Earth.”
- In Manifesto, Mexican Eco-Terrorists Declare War on Nanotechnology. (Again via Wired and the same author.)
Seriously? I don't think bombing ourselves back to the middle ages, or waging wars against certain forms of emerging technology will get us anywhere. (There are plenty of reasons to pursue nanotech if possible; there is no good reason to allow Fracking, on the other hand, to happen anywhere.) That said, I still fully expect it to happen. It's practically inevitable, and has historically occurred in various forms more than once (the similarities to Industrial Society and Its Future by Ted Kaczynski mentioned in the article is surely on example; the Luddites are another.)

In the event one of my latest screeds made you think I am perpetually about to go all eco-terrorist, then I assure you that such is not the case.


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