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Jobs of the Future February 7, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in cats, death, ideas, inventions, science, web & computers, writing.

First off, let me make this perfectly clear. I hate hackers. Last June it took 3 long days in the shop to get a rootkit virus pried loose from my OS. Three days and $200. And I suspect this was quick since I had an expedited hurry up rush order on it. Right now, a friend (Hey, Ken) likely has the same problem. His computer delivers porn to him endlessly. Or at least that’s what he’s telling his wife. From the symptoms, he’s got a rootkit virus on his computer, too.

Somebody dropped the Stuxnet virus onto the Iranian centrifuges. Cyberwar is happening all around us, whether it is Denial Of Service or trojans or stuff I have no idea about. That’s what makes this story of DARPA all the more important.

They are seriously looking into developing nonhackable systems. I’ve mentioned the quantum entanglement as a possible way of doing this. These systems are interesting but CRASH (Clean-slate Design of Resilient, Adaptive, Secure Host) based on the human immune system? I suspect they mean roving white blood cells (or their cyber equivalents) killing off viruses. An intriguing approach but what if those hackers turn their attention to the real thing?

What would it take them to hack the human immune system? AIDS might look like a mere head cold with the full attention of legions of hackers going after compromising our wondrous phagocytes. Turning them into rampaging monsters phagocytosing everything would eat us up from the inside out. Don’t tell me a hacker wouldn’t take some sick joy in turning you into a blob of gray goo.

This might be needed for a RoboNet. HAL, anyone? And a HAL that can heal itself? Or are we talking SkyNet?

Back in the 1870s, epidemics were relatively insignificant because of the distance and the long travel times between communities. An infected would die before reaching an uninfected town. Epidemics are more the stuff of urban populations, which protected rural communities then and make us so vulnerable now. The Spanish Flu epidemic was the first big hit of the 20th century. Human to human disease becomes easier than relying on rats to carry the Black Death (which wouldn’t have been as bad if there hadn’t been that silly fear of cats being demonic–I have an entirely black cat (even the whiskers) that the pound said had been hard to place because people don’t want black cats for superstitious reasons. Maybe I should have listened, at least in this one’s case since he is into everything all the time. He must sleep but I have no idea when.)

But getting hackers looking into systems similar to the human immune system might just bring about unforeseen consequences.

Plague Preventer



1. mhilm - February 7, 2011

Just stumbled on to your blog – am having fun reading archives.
Was reading about a researcher who almost lost her job because hackers got into her data base – the university claimed it was her responsibility to secure the data. Trouble is – very few of us have any idea how to secure anything – the problem grows.
The situation in Egypt – ‘shutting down the internet’ – we are so vulnerable in so many ways, and very few of us know how to build a boat (Terry Pratchett), let alone produce sufficient food to feed ourselves.
Congrats on having an all black cat! Mine occasionally produces a single white fur, but I’m sure he can still catch a rat if ever required. The vet told me they are strongly Siamese genetically – mine sure talks like it.

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