The independent resource on global security

Bio Plus X: Arms Control and the Convergence of Biology and Emerging Technologies

Cover Bio Plus X: Arms Control and the Convergence of Biology and Emerging Technologies
Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
March, 2019

Technological advances in the biological sciences have long presented a challenge to efforts to maintain biosecurity and prevent the proliferation of biological weapons. The convergence of developments in biotechnology with other, emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence and robotics has increased the possibilities for the development and use of biological weapons.

This report, written by SIPRI experts on technology and arms control, provides a nuanced picture of the risks and challenges posed by this convergence. It analyses the extent to which concerns arising from new technological developments can be dealt with through existing governance mechanisms. Based on the limitations identified, the authors recommend the action that needs to be taken by national governments, international organizations, academia, the private sector and the DIY community.


1. Introduction

2. The convergence of advances in biology and emerging technologies

3. Governing the risks of the convergence of biology and emerging technologies

4. Conclusions and recommendations


Kolja Brockmann is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Dual-Use and Arms Trade Control programme.
Dr Sibylle Bauer is the Director of Studies, Armament and Disarmament, at SIPRI.
Dr Vincent Boulanin is Director of the Governance of Artificial Intelligence Programme at SIPRI.