“Unabomber Copycat” Group Threatens Nanotechnology Researchers

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 22 2011 2:57 PM

“Unabomber Copycat” Group Threatens Nanotechnology Researchers

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Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images

An anti-technology group has been targeting scientists researching nanotechnology, most recently sending a bomb that injured two Mexican professors. This attack is believed to be linked to a similar mail bomb sent to another Mexican professor researching nanotech, though that parcel was opened instead by a security guard who sustained minor injuries. Other anti-nanotech attacks have occurred in Spain, Chile, and France, while members of a Swiss group were recently convicted of planning to bomb an IBM lab that carires out nanotech research. It’s unclear whether those incidents were carried out by the group claiming responsibility for the Mexican attacks, which calls itself “Individualities Tending Toward Savagery.”

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, some speculate that the group—or perhaps it’s just an individual masquerading as part of a broader movement—has been inspired by the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. One expert interviewed by the Chronicle suggests that like the Unabomber, the person or people behind “Individualities Tending Toward Savagery” may be well-educated.

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The group’s manifesto, translated into English here, refers admiringly to Kaczysnki. Most of the screed is devoted to criticizing nanotechnology: “Many scientists are still working by trial and error, just morbidly awaiting the effects that millions of nanoparticles ingested aerobically could have for humanity, and also on the environment in which we intend to develop.” But it also takes a broader stance against technology in general, warning that “human beings are moving away more dangerously from their natural instincts” and that computer use is corroding our ability to think.

The manifesto promises more such attacks: "Until we are satisfied, we have taken the firm decision to strike at those directly responsible for pressing the natural environment into artificial life, not at the institutions but at the actual individuals."

Read more on the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

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