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Re: Unboxed - When Academia Puts Profit Ahead of Wonder - NYTimes.com
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 09:49:42 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Tom Van Vleck <thvv-post () multicians org>
Date: September 9, 2008 9:09:42 AM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Re: [IP] Re: Unboxed - When Academia Puts Profit Ahead of Wonder - NYTimes.com

Dave Reed wrote:

Let's be clear - DARPA and other DoD funding has the potential to be just as corrupting, and the entire Computer and Communications Engineering and Theory Academy in the US has been built on that source since WWII. Our field would not exist without this funding source, which is ultimately expressed in death and destruction.

Well said! In the Project MAC days I remember feeling some moral qualms about taking money from the death and destruction folks. But we used to say, every dollar spent on us and our computers is one that isn't spent on bombs and bombing. I returned to the security research field for a while after the Internet Bubble popped, and was supported by government research money. Today's military funding is very different from the way Project MAC was supported back in the 60s: we had hundreds of folks, working without detailed direction from Washington, and we wrote one progress report a year. More importantly, military research is now much less interested in long- term projects: they want results that will help the current wars.

The source of funds doesn't eliminate your personal responsibility.

Joe Weizenbaum made this point trenchantly. I remember him saying that no computer scientist should ever work on speech recognition, because the technology would be used by oppressive governments to destroy personal liberty.

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