Thursday, October 7, 2010

Email response to the last entry

I think I already got this message once, somehow.

My intention is not to be harsh, but I'm going to go ahead with a screed (and in the process tell you how to do your job).

Aerial surveillance technology, in the hands of the US government, is not likely to have peaceful applications--insofar as the explicitly claimed goal of "preventing the spread and/or use of weapons of mass destruction" has ever been pursued by peaceful means. They have a proven track record on "WMD" that includes very little honesty. Realistically, I think it's more likely be used with the Predator drones. The handout talks about using your neurons to solve way cool problems rather than the strategic value of bombing Afghan wedding parties (and oh, how patronizingly written it is), but then they probably don't want to narrow the applicant pool to outright sociopaths.

You should know that you aren't absolutely obligated to pass this sort of thing on. On the one hand, it certainly is a job opportunity for students, but that must be balanced against the greater good. I'm sure there's no shortage of amoral technical minds clambering for the opportunity, but every person counts. That is, every person we can get not to do this work counts. The fewer bright young minds there are working on helping the gentle men and women of our government with their aerial surveillance, the safer we all are (the more so if we have the misfortune to live in what's left of central Asia).

I'm conflicted about sending this, but I'm doing it, in the hopes that not keeping my opinions to myself will in this instance be appreciated.


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