Technology, research or artifacts are dual-use if they have both upside and downside potential. Sometimes the term is used more narrowly to describe technology, research or artifacts that can be used for both civilian and military purposes.[1]

Examples

Dual-use research is particularly relevant in the field of biosecurity. A salient example is so-called "gain-of-function" research, which "might help identify the most dangerous strains of flu in nature, create targets for vaccine development, and alert the world to the possibility that H5N1 could become airborne"[2] but could also cause the accidental deployment of a biological agent and provide malicious actors with information that enables them to create particularly dangerous pathogens.

Concerns about dual-use come up in other contexts, too, including other existential risks besides global catastrophic biological risks. One example relates to risks from asteroids: technology that helps move asteroids away from Earth can be used to move asteroids towards Earth, either accidentally or intentionally.[3]

...

(Read More)