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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.

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Written by Chris McCann

December 8, 2011 at 9:08 am

3 Responses

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  1. […] startup related but if you’re interested in this kind of stuff check out this video. I have a whole new perception on privacy and security now. – […]

  2. Hi Chris, great sharing, I am a big fan of your readind list 🙂

    Sure as entrepreneurs we first think of the positive impact of progress, now this talk is eye opening to realize it also benefit for bad usages as well. But i dont think it should be something worrying and make us reconsider technological progress. Democratization of tehcnology is a good thing, and I believe there will alsways be more people using it to do good thing than bad thing. Democratization of plane travel, computer improve the life of the mass, same will happen with the internet. Only States and protective agency (like FBI and CIA) have to always have a step ahead and invest in research. Average citizen should all be educated ot use technology to allow them to “crowed source” security as M. Goodman mentionned. It is already happening, in my hometown (less than 1 million habitants) a very popular local radio give the floor to any one calling ot share any exclusive nes, so when a crime or theft happen, the victime or witness call, say when and where it happened, describe the criminal that is then usually found within minutes by the population (and before the police). Criminals usually got surrounded and beat up -which is not that cool- so the polices calles the population to stop reporting crime on the radio instead of the police forces…but this is how it is suppose to work. Technology allow more efficiency…in both ends. But i believe States should be more willing to invest in being one step ahaead then criminal, who just want to use existing technology for short term gains.

    51improvrole

    December 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

  3. […] attending a full day of Singularly University classes and having my mind completely blown with new ideas, I […]


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