Responsibility for discoveries

Scientists accept no responsibility for what is done with their discoveries. Do scientists believe that science is more important than humanity?

[ 7/Mar/21 ]

Anil Mitra and Scott Currier both give reasonable answers, but the question is not accurate.

Many scientists think very deeply about the potential uses of their discoveries. Many things have not been developed because the discoverer was not prepared to unleash their potential destructive consequences into that particular context.

And it is always true that a tool is morally neutral, it is what we do with it that matters.

As 911 showed, an aircraft can be a great means of transport, or a terribly destructive weapon. Same is true of more things than most people imagine.

The greater the levels of technology we develop, the greater the need for a fundamentally cooperative approach to interacting with other intelligent agents.

Any system that is at base competitive must at some point self destruct. The math and logic of that is clear.

All levels of complexity require a cooperative base to emerge and survive. The mathematics and logic of that is proven beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, for anyone who is able to handle the abstract concepts of evolutionary strategies in fundamentally uncertain and open systems; and that is a deeply complex subject.

Many scientists have been saying clearly, since the 60s, that cooperation is fundamental to the survival of complexity, but such messages are contrary to economic and political dogma, and have been ignored or actively shut down by many different sets of interests.

As a species we are now at something of a crossroads.

We either accept the reality that the survival of all levels of complexity in evolved systems is predicated on cooperation and freedom, both of which demand responsibility and acceptance of diversity; or we self destruct.

Global cooperation between diverse classes of agents is a very different thing from global domination and the hegemony of any single class of agent or system or belief.

So I say there are many scientists who see great value in humanity, and in complexity generally, and who are making great efforts to ensure the survival of both; and they are up against a reality that has most people operating from such simple paradigms that the complexity present is not visible, as everything is simplified by subconscious processes to simple perceptions.

It is a deeply complex reality we find ourselves in; even if most of us necessarily have very simplistic understandings of it.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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