Thursday, February 17, 2005
War-related research booms, Ph.D.s recruited
In the meantime, many scientists that may have expected at the beginning of their careers to work on building public knowledge for humanity, will find themselves working for dangerous war projects, snooping technology, homeland security, or weapons of mass destruction. These technologies are already making it easier to curtail freedoms at home, under the excuse of security. They have already produced deadly new weapons that madmen can use (i.e. the anthrax cases are now known to have originated form a U.S. government laboratory). The further effect of these policies is to detract many foreign students from enrolling in U.S. graduate schools, therefore reducing the pool of talent in the U.S.
I personally believe that it is mistaken to blindly assume that technology can help resolve a problem that is inherently political, like terrorism. Furthermore, the creation of new, terrible weapons, does not bode well for humanity, as it will create more problems than it solves. Case in point: remember Hiroshima. That was arguably a short-term "solution", but it created much larger, long-term problems. It is very self-serving for scientists and contractors to trumpet their technology as a solution to the nation's security problems. Profit from government contracts is given more importance than common sense. It is a delusion to believe that pouring money into a problem like terrorism will make it go away, thanks to technology.
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