April 22nd, 2012

(no subject)

So, there was an article going around about the possibility for 3D printing to make easy-synthesis kits for various chemicals - they have in mind pharmaceuticals and detergents. The printer can even be coaxed to spit out the feedstock itself. This will probably happen, although I don't know about their timeframe. The New Scientist article on the topic notes the applicability to illegal drugs. I quote:

Potential health dangers from allowing people to print their own legal or illegal drugs would be minimised, says [Lee] Cronin [of the University of Glasgow], as his team would only write software for specific end products that would be difficult to modify into making other reactions. "We would have pre-evaluated the reactions in the lab so no one would be allowed to hack."

Yes. Really.

Any attempt at stopping this is utterly doomed. The moment you put the general-purpose hardware in millions of people's houses, you lose control of the ability to restrict what they do with it. Sorry. It will get hacked, and it will be no more possible to stop them from printing illegal drugs than it will to stop a computer playing a pirated movie.

And if you think the attack and attempt to roll-back general-purpose computing from the entertainment industry is savage enough, then just you wait until the War-on-Drugs lot decide that general purpose computing hardware that can be used to drive a fab is drugs synthesis equipment. Ouch.

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