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Additive manufacturing and 3D bioprinting have been featured in a new risk report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Titled BIO PLUS X, this report assesses “Arms Control and the Convergence of Biology and Emerging Technologies” namely 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.
A clearly knowledgeable and in-depth consideration of a variety of 3D printing technologies and their limitations, the risks considered in the SIPRI report are no cause for alarm. However, along with the other technologies taken into consideration, 3D printing does come with a number of recommendations to assure its proper use. As Dr. Sibylle Bauer, report co-author and Director of the SIPRI Armament and Disarmament programme, states:
KEY - CHALLENGE - FOR - EFFECTIVE - BIOLOGICAL
“A KEY CHALLENGE FOR EFFECTIVE BIOLOGICAL ARMS CONTROL IS THAT TREATY STRUCTURES AND THE INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS IN MINISTRIES AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES DO NOT CORRESPOND TO TODAY’S TECHNICAL REALITIES.”
BIO PLUS X is a report written on the basis of “what if?” i.e. it’s not the fact that these technologies are currently being used to develop biological weaponry, but instead the thought that there should be policies in place in case of that eventuality. Kolja Brockmann, SIPRI researcher and lead author of the report, comments, “Each of these technologies could, in its own way, facilitate the development, production and use of biological weapons, and make them more dangerous.”
Printing - Authors - State - Interaction - Convergence
Where 3D printing is concerned, the authors state “the interaction and convergence of biotechnology and additive manufacturing currently only produce moderate risk of proliferation of biological weapons.”
“Nonetheless,” they add, “it is necessary for the arms control community to monitor these developments and consider appropriate governance measures.”
Variety - Printing - Methods - Institute - Applications
Though a variety of 3D printing methods are considered by the institute, at present only three applications are deemed of “particular concern.” These are:
(a) the printing of production or laboratory equipment;
Areas - SIPRI
Though these areas have been flagged by SIPRI, the...
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