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Author Topic: Is militarization of science influencing open research?  (Read 2400 times)

Online tkadm30

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I believe the militarization of science should not influence scientists to do good science for mankind. It's therefore essential that science communication be pragmatic when investigating the militarization of science. Neuroscience is such an example of a scientific field being infiltrated by the military. Geoengineering is another case were pragmatism is essential to understand the logic of such technology and its effects on ecosystems. Do we need another nuclear bomb for humanity to reject the militarization of science or is profit the main motivation for scientific research?   

http://scientistsascitizens.org/2014/10/06/mission-matters-darpas-inclusion-in-the-brain-initiative-is-downright-creepy/
« Last Edit: 01/01/2016 13:06:30 by chris »


 

Offline evan_au

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Whether we like it or not, a considerable fraction of scientific and technological advances have been driven by the desire to kill people, animals or plants.

The computer you are using now, and the chips from which it is made, all originated from military developments during World War 2 and the subsequent Cold War. And the military today continues to push the boundaries of commercial chip-making, trying to produce chips which are smaller, faster and more flexible than their perceived enemies.

It may seem strange that the US Government, which publicly supports free enterprise should spend so much money through government grants; especially since, in the past, the US has loudly criticized countries like Japan for supporting research via government grants!

But the reality is that long term basic research cannot turn a profit in 1-2 years as required by publicly-listed companies, so government grants and industry bodies must cooperate to fund research for years before it can turn a profit (think about the human genome project).

I am not very worried about DARPA, since they publish most of their findings; their autonomous vehicles and more recent robot competitions have attracted a lot of public attention (have a look on Youtube).

DARPA's spinoffs are then developed by more conventional secret military contracts, and at that stage they disappear from public view and and the possibility of public control. But the goal of autonomous robotic soldiers is clearly in their sights (just the sort of thing that Stephen Hawking warned about). I'm sure that other branches of government would be interested in better border control screening, improved interrogation techniques, and better ways to promote government policy.

But the impact those things have on our lives will (hopefully) be less than the billions spent annually on advertising - something most of us subject ourselves to for long periods each day as we watch television, or see ads down the side of our web pages.

...and hopefully, out of the BRAIN project will come things that help us better understand, recognize and treat mental illness, improve education, and produce helpful AIs.
 

Offline Colin2B

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We really can't escape it.
Major developments like jet engine, radar, antibiotics etc get a huge boost from military funding.
Worth remembering that even the internet started as a military network designed to be robust in the event of nuclear attack.
We might not like it, but it is there and when other government funding is in short supply scientists will be unlikely to turn military funding down.
 

Offline dhjdhj

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #3 on: 06/01/2016 19:36:05 »
Not all military projects are concerned with weapons in fact the greater effort is spent on true defence, on defeating weapons. Much of this effort finds its way into the public domain without the hassle of intellectual property and patent issues. Bomb proofing for instance can influence design of buildings in earthquake areas and remote sensing as developed by the military is used every time you turn on the television. Without government funding of military projects and research (even odd ball projects) all developments would be commercially driven which means you would pay far more. Look at the drug market.
Keep funding but keep a close eye on things.
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #4 on: 06/01/2016 23:46:13 »
Militarization definitely influences research. As a researcher I know this. The government spends way more on research that is relevant to defense than it does on "pure science," which I think is a major problem. However, the fact that the military is interested in these developments doesn't mean they are not useful to everyone. And almost all of the "open research" that goes on at academic institutions is published (open) and therefore easily monitored by a concerned public or other countries (so this isn't an attractive way for late stage development of weaponized technologies).

The military wants fast computers, so we research information science and electrical engineering and materials engineering. Then we all get fast computers.

The military wants powerful antibiotics, so we research chemical biology and pharmacology and microbiology and synthetic chemistry. Then we all get powerful antibiotics.

The military wants fast, fuel-efficient airplanes, so we research aerospace engineering and fluid dynamics and combustion. Then we all get fast, fuel efficient airplanes.

etc.

etc.

etc.



The military wants everything smaller, faster, cheaper. And so do we.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2016 23:48:07 by chiralSPO »
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #5 on: 07/01/2016 04:50:53 »
Quote from: ChiralSPO
The military wants fast, fuel-efficient airplanes, so we research aerospace engineering and fluid dynamics and combustion. Then we all get fast, fuel efficient airplanes.
Hmm....
The only really fast (supersonic) plane where the public could buy tickets was the Concorde, and fuel efficiency was not one of its strong points (nor was cost).

Maybe one day we will get intercontinental suborbital flights?? But the bill for airsick bags will be immense!
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #6 on: 07/01/2016 13:57:08 »
Quote from: ChiralSPO
The military wants fast, fuel-efficient airplanes, so we research aerospace engineering and fluid dynamics and combustion. Then we all get fast, fuel efficient airplanes.
Hmm....
The only really fast (supersonic) plane where the public could buy tickets was the Concorde, and fuel efficiency was not one of its strong points (nor was cost).

Maybe one day we will get intercontinental suborbital flights?? But the bill for airsick bags will be immense!


All things are relative. I was thinking along the lines of the jet engine, which was invented for military purposes, and allows speeds in excess of 400 mph. Compared to propellor planes, jets are fast and efficient!
 
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Offline puppypower

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #7 on: 07/01/2016 20:01:00 »
Science benefits by an alliance with the military. The main reason is, the military big bucks to spend. The military also has the proper attitude for R&D, which is what pushes science.  In war, nothing goes by any consensus plan. There will always be the unexpected. The need people in the field who adapt to change. This will lead to waste and loss, finding out how to adapt, but the goal is to achieve victory at all costs.

It is good place to due blue sky research, since problems in war and the unexpected solutions are a way of life. Also since one is not going to publish your research, in most journals, since it may be classified for years, one does not have to conform to the insiders standards of the cocktail party crowd.

If you look at a project like a new jet fighter or a tank, this brings together a wide range of science and engineering disciplines, from electronics, to materials, to chemicals to explosives, etc. There may be material specialists, who is not making a weapon per se, but whose job is to push the envelope in terms of material performance. Their piece of the puzzle has critical value to the project, and will get good funding. But at the same time, this work can be a self standing and will someday be passed forward to the private sector, or provide a spin off project at a university.

 

Offline mrsmith2211

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #8 on: 09/01/2016 06:03:50 »
I consider the ignorance of science a greater impact.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #9 on: 09/01/2016 10:53:34 »
Quote from: puppypower
your (military) research... may be classified for years
I agree that military research is often classified. If your opponents knew that you had successfully produced a weapon using some technique, it would make it much easier to reproduce it (or at least, find some countermeasures). As soon as the first atomic bomb was exploded, scientists in many countries were busy reproducing it.

I think that this caused some arguments between USA & Japan:
  • The USA invested a large amount of government money on classified military products.
  • The Japanese were forbidden by their constitution on spending on offence, so they poured their government funds into mass-producible products, which they proceeded to sell around the world. This did a lot of economic damage to several US industries.
  • The US investment still had a positive impact on industry, since it encouraged a number of industries to push the boundaries on what they believed was possible. It just took years to seep out of classified projects into products which could be sold around the world.
 

Online tkadm30

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #10 on: 09/01/2016 11:21:06 »
I consider the ignorance of science a greater impact.

On what? Deliberate ignorance is a form of manipulation of science.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_scientific_ignorance

 

Offline dhjdhj

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #11 on: 12/01/2016 17:22:20 »
I believe that deliberate use of the ignorance of science is a real problem. The media will publish a hundred times more column inches on astrology than astronomy. All kinds of bad science is being practised in the pursuit of the mighty buck. The military rarely does this (ESP research excepted) it is very results driven. It is unfortunate that the modern attitude is to be suspicious of all things military, treating them as a necessary evil. The military do much good science, where the spin off is always available eventually, unlike pharmaceutical research where the drug companies will happily hold the public to ransom. The modern techniques that that the medical profession use to keep people alive after major accident trauma were developed to keep soldiers alive after battle injury. I recently attended a lecture by an army surgeon who was researching retina detachment entirely at the MOD's expense with all results being in the public domain. Likewise a Lockheed Martin subsidiary are currently working on laser research for hearing loss, paid for by the DOD, and the two pinned arch design of hardened aircraft shelters pioneered for the military, is being used in modern earthquake design. Some military research IS bad where they are looking for the biggest bang for the buck, but by no means all of it.   
 

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Re: Is militarization of science influencing open research?
« Reply #11 on: 12/01/2016 17:22:20 »

 

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