Infection (Ch. 27) – Bionic Bug Podcast Episode 027

Hey everyone, welcome back to Bionic Bug podcast! You’re listening to episode 27. This is your host Natasha Bajema, fiction author, futurist, and national security expert. I’m recording this episode on October 21, 2018.

I’m excited to deliver a bonus episode this week. There’s been so many interesting tech headlines lately, I couldn’t resist sharing more. Especially since recent headlines have featured technologies I use in my fiction novels.

I’m thrilled to announce that Project Gecko is now available as a paperback on Amazon. I’ll include the link in my show notes. I hope you check it out!

  • My first headline is not a headline, but rather a YouTube video to demonstrate the rising quality of “deep fakes”. In Project Gecko, I use fake photos as a tool of blackmail. This week, I watched a short video where a young Harrison Ford has been inserted into the new Hans Solo movie. Here you can see for yourself how authentic such videos can be and ponder the potential implications for social media, politics and elections.

  • My second headline is “How Swarms of Super Intelligent Drones Are Taking Over Live Entertainment” published on gizmodo.com on October 10, 2018. Of course, you’ve probably already seen a drone show at a major sports event. A few years ago, Lady Gaga took stage during the Super Bowl half-time show and sung to a swarm of drones above. There was also a drone show at the Winter Olympics in February. This is becoming increasingly more common, which fits nicely with the drone show featured at the start of Bionic Bug.
  • My third headline is “Volocopter flying taxi sets down in Singapore” published in newatlas.com on October 18, 2018. German aviation startup Volocopter has tested an 18-rotor electric aircraft in Dubai, essentially a passenger drone. It has plans to begin testing in Singapore and launching the first-ever taxi service by drone. This is particularly fun because Lara makes her fear and dislike of passenger drones clear in the beginning of Bionic Bug. In Project Gecko, she must confront that fear head-on and decide if she’s ready to take a ride.
  • Finally, several weeks ago, I talked about how police were able to determine the identity of the Golden State killer by comparing his DNA profile to those loaded up in a free online genealogy database. Several additional headlines on this issue came out recently. The first is “The DNA technique that caught the Golden State Killer is more powerful than we thought” published on theverge.com on October 11, 2018. Several scientists have published a research paper in Science Magazinesuggesting that nearly an entire population could be identified using a small base of samples. These scientists have “devised a way to extrapolate from incomplete samples, building out a broader picture of the genome than was originally tested. Taken together, those techniques would allow researchers to identify nearly anyone using only existing samples, a frighteningly powerful new tool for DNA forensics.” What does this mean? It may not matter that you haven’t had your DNA mapped or uploaded into a database, soon your identity may be determined from any DNA samples you leave behind.

Okay, that’s scary, right? Let’s turn to Bionic Bug for some comic relief (or maybe not). Last week, Lara was attacked by a swarm of bionic bugs. Will she get the plague? Let’s find out what happens next.

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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