Arson (Ch. 21) – Bionic Bug Podcast Episode 021 – Natasha Bajema

Arson (Ch. 21) – Bionic Bug Podcast Episode 021

Hey everyone, welcome back to Bionic Bug podcast! You’re listening to episode 20. This is your host Natasha Bajema, fiction author, futurist, and national security expert. I’m recording this episode on September 16, 2018.

I’m excited to note that we’re at the half way point for this podcast. Bionic Bug has only 43 chapters, and so we’ll have 22 more episodes. But never fear, I’m already working on the concept for my next podcast. You’ll hear about it first.

In other personal news, I’ve started writing Book 3 in the Lara Kingsley Series. It’s called Genomic Clone. In this story, Lara tackles a missing persons case.

If you’re enjoying the show, please leave a review on iTunes. You can also support my time and costs of producing in show for only a few dollars a month, please go to p a t r e o n / natashabajema

Let’s talk tech:

My first headline for this week is “Plant Wearables and Airdropped Sensors Could Sow Big Data Seeds” published on September 10 at

  • Most of you have heard about the Internet of Things. This is a trend of making electronic devices smart and connecting them to the Internet. It is the sensors that make them smart and allow them to collect data on their internal workings or the external environment and make that data available online to human users. Over the past few years, sensors have become very small and very cheap. Lately, we’ve been putting sensors in everything.
  • Researchers in Saudi Arabia are looking at dropping smart tags from drones onto plants below to monitor crops and report on plant conditions.
  • “Researchers created a plant-wearable sensor—made from polymer and thin gold metal film—that has the flexibility to attach in any position on a plant. They tested this stretchable strain sensor on both barley and lucky bamboo plants during trial periods of several hours or days to show that they could detect even the most minute growth changes.
  • “Second, the team created a 3D-printed temperature and humidity sensor that can be dropped from drones in large numbers.”
  • This is part of a trend in agriculture in which technology is providing farmers with more information on the status of their crops. Farmers are also increasingly using drones to monitor their crops.
  • DJI, a Chinese drone manufacturing currently controls about 70% of the off-the-shelf drone market. These drones collect data, but are also updated by DJI through various patches. Does DJI collect the data from these drones? How could agricultural data be potentially used against us? In wartime, to take out our nation’s crops. Just some “food” for thought.
  • We are entering an era where everything generates digital information and everything is connected to the Internet.
  • Who has access to this data? What can they do with it? Are we thinking through the implications of data generation?

My next headline is related “Big Data And us: Are we All Being Given a Reputation Score?”published on August 25.

  • The Chinese government is currently mulling a social credit system for their entire population. The score would be based on “every action that you do on a daily basis, such as what you buy, how timely you are repaying your loans, where you travel, where you work, who you are friends with, where and how much your socialize etc., will add up to your rating. If you are found guilty of not paying off debt, not paying bills on time, have a complaint filed against you, are found guilty of even a petty crime or other such offenses or maybe having friends who have low credit ratings, will have a negative impact on your rating.”
  • Perhaps all of us who don’t live in China can breathe easily for a moment. Or perhaps not. Every day from the time we get up, we are creating a digital trail. This data can be used to generate a reputation score or online profile that has real effects.
  • It probably doesn’t surprise you that Facebook assigns a reputation score to its users.

My last headline for today is “You Can Now Genetically Engineer Your Own Mutant Frogs For $499” published in on September 14.

  • Looking for a unique Christmas gift? Well, look no further.
  • Biohacker Dr. Josiah Zayner and his company The Odin have produced kits containing everything you need to use the CRISPR gene editing technique to make frogs bigger.
  • “Each kit comes with six green tree frogs native to Georgia and Louisiana, along with cages, food, syringes, and a genetic cocktail.”
  • This is another example of how powerful technology has become accessible to individuals.

Let’s find out what’s happening in Bionic Bug. Things are getting tense. Last week, Lara received another visit from a bionic bug and found something suspicious at her friend’s apartment.

The views expressed on this podcast are my own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

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