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About the Concept

     The concept of social engineering is a transfer exercise of the well defined concept of genetic engineering into the field of evolving social structures. A successful transfer requires the use of a number of attributes characteristic to the genetic engineering concept into the social engineering construct. Though the genetic engineering concept is not abstract, in the sense that extensive practice has resulted in a great number of methodologies with tangible results. We would expect likewise to pursue tangible effects for a social engineering construct.

CURRENT CONCEPT ATTRIBUTES

Genetic Engineering

     Genetic engineering, genetic modification (GM) and gene splicing are terms for the process of manipulating genes, usually outside the organism's natural reproductive process.

     It involves the isolation, manipulation and reintroduction of DNA into cells or model organisms, usually to express a protein. The aim is to introduce new characteristics or attributes physiologically or physically, such as making a crop resistant to a herbicide, introducing a novel trait, or producing a new protein or enzyme, along with altering the organism to produce more of certain traits. Examples can include the production of human insulin through the use of modified bacteria, the production of erythropoietin in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells, and the production of new types of experimental mice such as the OncoMouse (cancer mouse) for research, through genetic redesign.

     Since a protein is specified by a segment of DNA called a gene, future versions of that protein can be modified by changing the gene's underlying DNA. One way to do this is to isolate the piece of DNA containing the gene, precisely cut the gene out, and then reintroduce (splice) the gene into a different DNA segment. Daniel Nathans and Hamilton Smith received the 1978 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their isolation of restriction endonucleases, which are able to cut DNA at specific sites. Together with ligase, which can join fragments of DNA together, restriction enzymes formed the initial basis of recombinant DNA technology.

     Although there has been a tremendous revolution in the biological sciences in the past twenty years, there is still a great deal that remains to be discovered. The completion of the sequencing of the human genome, as well as the genomes of most agriculturally and scientifically important plants and animals, has increased the possibilities of genetic research immeasurably. Expedient and inexpensive access to comprehensive genetic data has become a reality with billions of sequenced nucleotides already online and annotated. Now that the rapid sequencing of arbitrarily large genomes has become a simple, if not trivial affair, a much greater challenge will be elucidating function of the extraordinarily complex web of interacting proteins, dubbed the proteome, that constitutes and powers all living things. Genetic engineering has become the gold standard in protein research, and major research progress has been made using a wide variety of techniques, including:

  • Loss of function, such as in a knockout experiment, in which an organism is engineered to lack the activity of one or more genes. This allows the experimenter to analyze the defects caused by this mutation, and can be considerably useful in unearthing the function of a gene. It is used especially frequently in developmental biology. A knockout experiment involves the creation and manipulation of a DNA construct in vitro, which, in a simple knockout, consists of a copy of the desired gene which has been slightly altered such as to cripple its function. The construct is then taken up by embryonic stem cells, where the engineered copy of the gene replaces the organism's own gene. These stem cells are injected into blastocysts, which are implanted into surrogate mothers. Another method, useful in organisms such as Drosophila (fruit fly), is to induce mutations in a large population and then screen the progeny for the desired mutation. A similar process can be used in both plants and prokaryotes.
  • Gain of function experiments, the logical counterpart of knockouts. These are sometimes performed in conjunction with knockout experiments to more finely establish the function of the desired gene. The process is much the same as that in knockout engineering, except that the construct is designed to increase the function of the gene, usually by providing extra copies of the gene or inducing synthesis of the protein more frequently.
  • 'Tracking' experiments, which seek to gain information about the localization and interaction of the desired protein. One way to do this is to replace the wild-type gene with a 'fusion' gene, which is a juxtaposition of the wild-type gene with a reporting element such as Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) that will allow easy visualization of the products of the genetic modification. While this is a useful technique, the manipulation can destroy the function of the gene, creating secondary effects and possibly calling into question the results of the experiment. More sophisticated techniques are now in development that can track protein products without mitigating their function, such as the addition of small sequences which will serve as binding motifs to monoclonal antibodies.

Social Engineering

     Most articles on the topic of social engineering begin with some sort of definition like “the art and science of getting people to comply to your wishes” (Bernz 2), “an outside hacker’s use of psychological tricks on legitimate users of a computer system, in order to obtain information he needs to gain access to the system” (Palumbo), or “getting needed information (for example, a password) from a person rather than breaking into a system” (Berg). In reality, social engineering can be any and all of these things, depending upon where you sit. The one thing that everyone seems to agree upon is that social engineering is generally a hacker’s clever manipulation of the natural human tendency to trust. The hacker’s goal is to obtain information that will allow him/her to gain unauthorized access to a valued system and the information that resides on that system.

      The hackers themselves teach social engineering from a psychological point-of-view, emphasizing how to create the perfect psychological environment for the attack. Basic methods of persuasion include: impersonation, ingratiation, conformity, diffusion of responsibility, and plain old friendliness. Regardless of the method used, the main objective is to convince the person disclosing the information that the social engineer is in fact a person that they can trust with that sensitive information. The other important key is to never ask for too much information at a time, but to ask for a little from each person in order to maintain the appearance of a comfortable relationship.

     Social engineering is a concept in political science that refers to efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behavior on a large scale, whether by governments or private groups. In the political arena the counterpart of social engineering is political engineering.

     For various reasons, the term has been imbued with negative connotations. However, virtually all law and governance has the effect of changing behavior and can be considered "social engineering" to some extent. Prohibitions on murder, rape, suicide and littering are all policies aimed at discouraging perceived undesirable behaviors. In British and Canadian jurisprudence, changing public attitudes about a behaviour is accepted as one of the key functions of laws prohibiting it. Governments also influence behavior more subtly through incentives and disincentives built into economic policy and tax policy, for instance, and have done so for centuries.

     In practice, whether any specific policy is labeled as "social engineering" is often a question of intent. The term is most often employed by the political right as an accusation against any who propose to use law, tax policy, or other kinds of state influence to change existing power relationships: for instance, between men and women, or between different ethnic groups. Political conservatives in the United States have accused their opponents of social engineering through their promotion of political correctness, insofar as it may change social attitudes by defining "acceptable" and "unacceptable" language or acts.


Attribute similarities of Social to Genetic Engineering

Psychology and Security context

     The most significant aspect from the properties attributable to the social engineering concept in psychology and security is the attribute of obtaining information. Information gain which is needed for access to a valued system. The processes involved in reaching this goal is of significance too since it is directed to the users of a system, the unit (cell) comprising that particular system, the unit where the valued information resides and because of, the system exists. The simulated approach of the user (cell) by the social engineer, by means of creating the existing psychological environment by impersonation, ingratiation, conformity, diffusion of responsibility and to pursue the piecemeal gain of needed information in order to maintain an agreeable relationship with the ultimate goal the user and by the user the system to comply with the engineering process.

     The social engineering attribute of information gain bears similarities with the 'tracking ' experiments in genetic engineering, where the goal is the gain of information about the localisation and interaction of the engineered protein and the easy visualisation of the modified products. As in genetic engineering where the manipulation can destroy the function of the gene and possibly the system, likewise in social engineering in the context of psychology and security tampering with the system can bring about the collapse of the system. The social engineering in that context bears a partial resemblance to the genetic engineering concept.

Social and Political Science context

     

How script html variables, linguistic constructs, associated human states and chaos directives can be connected?

     The model of javascript variables used to lay down the behaviour of html pages, can be transferred to elucidate and explain the intricate construction of linguistic concept development and the human states they are used to describe. The inticately woven network of ideas, thoughts, values; layers upon layers in fractal dimensionality is reminiscent of the proliferation of chaotic dynamic systems. In the same way that javascript variables are defined by predetermined declared values used to define the current status of a system and assess the neccessary conditions to move to other states. As the transition from state to state describe collectively the behaviour of a system as it is directed by the declarative variables. The linguistic framework is a vast source for declarative variables and can be used in a similar manner as javascript variables.

     

     

Extract from 'Medieval Idea of Poverty and the Social Reality' chapter

     The history of cultures, attitudes and social structures does not easily admit of clear divisions into well-defined periods or eras; any such division must be arbitrary. In the history of ideas, doctrines and ideologies, on the other hand , such divisions are easier to define: historical analysis allows us to trace the evolution of concepts and ideas, to discern semantic changes as well as continuities of meaning and connotation. But changes in collective attitudes and value systems are hidden and elusive, and they occur slowly, over a vast time-scale. Our points of reference when attempting to trace and define changes of this kind are the great structures of civilization; but when such structures disintegrate, at times of profound crisis, changes in attitudes and behaviour are not always clear and immediate. Nor can civilizations easily be distinguished by clearly defined hierarchies of values, for in each civilization many different value systems coexist, along with vestiges of earlier stages in the development of its culture. But if, in spite of this, historians persist in studying changes in collective attitudes, it is not because their diachronic view of human events leads them to slice up history into periods and eras where no natural periods and eras exist, but because of the internal dynamics of cultures. In every civilization praise of wealth may be found alongside its condemnation, pacifism alongside the glorification of war, the exaltation of physical work alongside the praise of reflection. But the hierarchy of values changed at different periods, constantly reshuffled by ideological programmes indented to justify or to condemn the existing social order and to promote or repudiate a particular set of values.

     It is quite significant the description of cultures, collective attitudes and social structures (described as behaviour and value systems), the result of the action of ideas, doctrines, ideologies, using the concept of history. The ideas, doctrines, ideologies carried individually, guide the action of the members and shape the culture, collective attitude, social structure. By using the concept of history include the progress of a particular described construct as it changes over a defined time-scale.
     Another significant point is the finding that changes in collective attitudes and value systems are hidden and elusive, and that they occur slowly, over a vast time-scale as well as that value systems coexist, along with vestiges of earlier stages in the development of its culture. These vestiges would represent values still carried by members of cultures, collective attitudes and social structures. Significant is the description using the concept of dynamics, the internal dynamics of cultures. Further, the mention of engineering the development of cultures, collective attitudes, social structures by ideological programmes indented to justify or to condemn the existing social order and to promote or repudiate a particular set of values.

The Journal

ATTRIBUTES

Genetic Engineering

  • manipulating genes
  • outside natural reproductive process
  • isolation, manipulation and reintroduction of DNA into cells
  • to introduce new characteristics or attributes physiologically or physically
  • introducing a novel trait
  • producing a new protein or enzyme
  • altering the organism to produce more of certain traits
  • genetic redesign
  • protein is specified by a segment of DNA called a gene
  • future versions of that protein can be modified by changing the gene's underlying DNA
  • isolate the piece of DNA containing the gene
  • precisely cut the gene out
  • reintroduce (splice) the gene into a different DNA segment
  • restriction endonucleases are able to cut DNA at specific sites
  • ligase can join fragments of DNA together
  • sequencing of the human and important plant and animal genomes
  • expedient and inexpensive access to comprehensive genetic data
  • elucidating function of the extraordinarily complex web of interacting proteins
  • the proteome constitutes and powers all living things
  • loss of function, such as in a knockout experiment
  • organism is engineered to lack the activity of one or more genes
  • analyze the defects caused by this mutation
  • unearthing the function of a gene
  • creation and manipulation of a DNA construct in vitro
  • desired gene slightly altered such as to cripple its function
  • construct is then taken up by embryonic stem cells
  • creation and manipulation of a DNA construct in vitro
  • engineered copy of the gene replaces the organism's own gene
  • gain of function experiments, the logical counterpart of knockouts
  • finely establish the function of the desired gene
  • construct designed to increase the function of the gene
  • providing extra copies of the gene
  • inducing synthesis of the protein more frequently
  • 'Tracking' experiments seek to gain information about the localization and interaction of the desired protein
  • replace the wild-type gene with a 'fusion' gene
  • a juxtaposition of the wild-type gene with a reporting element
  • to allow easy visualization of the products of the genetic modification
  • the manipulation can destroy the function of the gene

Social engineering

  • a concept in psychology and security
  • the art and science of getting people to comply to your wishes
  • an outside hacker’s use of psychological tricks on legitimate users of a computer system
  • to obtain information to gain access to the system
  • getting needed information (for example, a password) from a person rather than breaking into a system
  • generally a hacker’s clever manipulation of the natural human tendency to trust
  • to obtain information that will allow him/her to gain unauthorized access to a valued system and the information that resides on that system
  • to create the perfect psychological environment for the attack
  • Basic methods of persuasion include: impersonation, ingratiation, conformity, diffusion of responsibility, and plain old friendliness
  • the main objective is to convince the person disclosing the information that the social engineer is in fact a person that they can trust with that sensitive information
  • to never ask for too much information at a time, but to ask for a little from each person in order to maintain the appearance of a comfortable relationship
  • a concept in political science
  • the efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behavior on a large scale
    • by governments
    • by private groups
  • in the political arena the counterpart of social engineering is political engineering.
  • term imbued with negative connotations
  • virtually all law and governance has the effect of changing behavior and can be considered "social engineering" to some extent
  • prohibitions on murder, rape, suicide and littering are all policies aimed at discouraging perceived undesirable behaviors
  • in British and Canadian jurisprudence, changing public attitudes about a behaviour is accepted as one of the key functions of laws prohibiting it
  • governments also influence behavior more subtly through incentives and disincentives built into economic and tax policy
  • whether any specific policy is labeled as "social engineering" is often a question of intent
  • the term is most often employed by the political right as an accusation against any who propose to use law, tax policy, to change existing power relationships
  • political conservatives in the United States have accused their opponents of social engineering through their promotion of political correctness, by defining "acceptable" and "unacceptable" language or acts