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Towards a Grand Unified Threat Model of Biotechnology

Montague, Michael (2023) Towards a Grand Unified Threat Model of Biotechnology. [Preprint]


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In the absence of empirical data concerning the capabilities of modern biotechnological methods to produce and deploy high impact biological threat agents, a strong theoretical model is required to inform effective biotechnological regulations and biosecurity preparations. Such a model is presented that aims to be robust across the diverse natures of all biological agents, any actors who might develop them, and the many biotechnologies and emerging computational super intelligence platforms that might be harnessed to do so. Core to this model is the recognition that any high consequence biotechnological agent must be able to spread geographically, be novel to the defenders, and be produced within the well understood constraints of technological development pipelines. Given these requirements, and the well established difficulty of modeling, and manipulating a novel organism's dynamics when introduced into an ecosystem, it becomes possible to derive the necessary properties of any actor capable of developing such a high consequence biotechnological threat agent: They must be designing their agent deliberately to do harm, and they must be highly resourced. Malevolent low resourced actors and benevolent or accidental actors regardless of resource level are revealed as being unable to produce such an agent. This is significant as much recent concern over the democratization of biotechnological capabilities has focused upon the large numbers of potential actors in those categories. Additionally, the constrained nature of the research and development efforts that might actually be able to produce a high consequence biotechnological threat agent allows for a refined focus in biosecurity policy and biotechnology regulation. This refined focus de-emphasizes damaging access-control policies seeking to limit and control large numbers of actors in the biotech space. Instead, an emphasis upon intelligence gathering to detect the definable and large footprints of the kind of research and development program needed to create such a high consequence biotechnological threat agent is revealed as optimal.

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Item Type: Preprint
Montague, MichaelMichael_G_Montague@yahoo.com0009-0008-7120-4111
Keywords: biosecurity, biotechnology, bioethics, offense, defense, threat model, bioterrorism, biowarfare, regulation, governance, existential risk, GCBR, dual use, DURC
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science and Policy
Depositing User: Dr. Michael Montague
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2023 19:55
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2023 19:55
Item ID: 22539
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science and Policy
Date: 12 September 2023

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