Serial entrepreneur and inventor Jay Walker gave the most terrifying presentation at the Sohn Conference in New York.
Walker is the chairman of TEDMED, the health edition of TED. In his presentation he explained that the technology for bioweapons today is more sophisticated and more widely available thanks to drones.
He pulled out a drone and explained that drones are going to continue to get smaller and smaller like the size of an insect.
“A high school biology teacher could weaponize these technologies,” Walker said. “All you need is a small budget and a fantasy of immortality.”
The potential for harm is immense when you can attach toxins to drones and send them around the world. That, in turn is compounded by panic as the internet allows people to know what’s going on instantly.
“It’s not a black swan event here, we’re talking about a world with thousands of black swans…We can see them coming. The only question is when and where are they going to land?”
Fear and panic is even easier than ever to spread too.
“When people start dying…social media will EXPLODE,” he said, adding, “Panic turns a mobile phone into a hand grenade of fear.”
And of course, not all of that information will be clear or accurate. Bad actors could take advantage of the confusion too.
“Every phone, every tablet, every computer… can be used to terrorize cities…” he said. “There are more mobile phones in the world than there are toothbrushes.”
Walker thinks the solution is for the private sector to step in with an unbiased organisation that disseminates clear, smart information about biological and health issues.