Here is an interesting article about the cultural divide and how it can be mediated:
Edit: I’ll add, my generation clearly remembers 9/11 and the response to it. I think it’s not a lack of awareness of the current mission but _because_ of awareness to parts of it that many people write off the military.
Disclaimer: I am a Google engineer, but with no work relationship to their AI efforts and my opinions are my own.
They run stories about how the military bombs some civilians while fighting jihadists, but not about how those same jihadists routinely round up and torture children, kill scores of locals, etc.
Outside of Iraq, which fuck Bush, can you name something about the "War on Terror" you think we'd be better off not doing?
I think it's a really shallow view to say it's better to not bomb a few civilians... then leave them to be preyed on by violent locals instead.
I'm a millennial, and didn't enlist at 18 because I didn't want to go to Iraq (and still don't support starting that war), but I'd have gone to Afghanistan, and as I get older, I find myself much more willing to support the military.
I suspect I'm not alone in that, either.
Who gets to make that determination?
A random drone pilot?
Also please don't pretend any of the US military engagements since WW2 had any other purpose than serving national interest.
We do. Because we can. That is how the world works. If you don't make the decision, it gets made for you in the other direction.
> Also please don't pretend any of the US military engagements since WW2 had any other purpose than serving national interest.
This is a pretty childish sentiment. Reasons for war are complex. The world is actually a complicated place, and admits multiple concurrent motivations.
Yes they are.
I only said that the motivation always was national self interest not benevolence.
> We do. Because we can.
I think that exhausted my tolerance for further discussion with you.
I'm not even sure what that is supposed to mean. Nobody has ever fought a war for 'benevolence'. It's a silly concept. If you know anything of history, you'd also know that WWII was not fought for 'benevolence'.
No I didn't. Read what I said again.
Might makes right to decide what is right. That is now and always will be the case.
I'm merely objecting to the notion that being the toughest kid on the block implies it's always right to use force. Might does not equal right. Sufficient might only equals military victory, nothing more.
Absolutely. I did not mean to imply that in any way. What I meant was that might gives you the power, and therefore responsibility, to make moral decisions about when and where to impose your will on others when they are acting 'sufficiently immorally', however you choose to define that.
Ever notice that people arguing for war are always anxious that the opportunity will slip away if we don't attack _them_ this instant?
Ever also notice that _them_ look pretty much like a lot of erstwhile allies that we aren't at loggerheads with?
That's all well and good, but I don't want to hear a lot of whining from your corner when the next 9/11 happens.
Spreading democratic and egalitarian values is in the national interest.
Yes, just like you should throw the switch on the trolley car to kill one person instead of let it kill five.
Other people don't agree.
I don’t think were much worse than any other major actor in this regard. I have an incling we do a fair bit better than most at catigating ourselves.
People are willfully ignorant.
Blowing up people's weddings via drone?
Corroding civil liberties?
Equipping small-town police forces with military equipment and mentalities?
I could go on. There is a lot more to dislike than just the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Terrorism is not about fostering abuse of constitutional rights and responsibilities, it is about fostering fear of our constitutional rights and responsibilities.
It's really hard to name a single good thing to come out of the war on terror.
It's not just your generation. I'm in my 50s and this opinion isn't rare in my age group either.
We don't have a strategy or goal or even clear enemy. We just do it because we are powerful. Of course there are people that want to kill us, blow up our airliners. But it's not clear we are doing anygood.
We have to set actual goals, not just being there and bombing targets of opportunity, saying sorry when it goes wrong. What's our goal? We don't have one.
I work for Google, opinions are my own.
I agree. However I think in the case of Google and most other companies, the issue is a little more.. awkward? Besides the fact we have offices in other countries, we also employ many people in the US from other countries. Obviously those people may have very different feelings about working on a project for US national security. I don't think I've been on a single team at Google which did not have people from abroad.
I honestly think the US military would have more problems with having foreign nationals working on a military project than many of the foreign nationals themselves. I think it's difficult to get a security clearance if you're not a citizen, and it may even be hard if you're a dual citizen.
I would think that naturalized US citizens would have the same interest in US national security as native-born Americans. It's a little racist to suggest that they don't, and it would be a little disingenuous for them not to.
Given substantial financial resources like a state actor getting that person to naturalized status seems relatively trivial.
It may simultaneously be true that on average natural and naturalized citizens are equally loyal, moral, and trustworthy and naturalized citizens in sensitive areas are a risk because it makes it easier for foreign powers to infiltrate you because of the comparative difficulty of acquiring the services of a natural born citizen.
_Most_ people regardless of country of residence or origin want a peaceful and fulfilled, free life. You can never please everyone but arguing from basis of 'fear of the other' is a bit disingenuous and leads to these literal arms races.
That's not to say defense spending isn't important, but it has to be stressed with the word 'defense' and with an inherent bias towards security and safety. (I don't believe technology products are inherently neutral; as a result of design they are better or worse suited towards particular usages, and that needs focus too)
This is all fine and dandy, but some of the most powerful militaries in the world are run by authoritarians who optimize for their own interests rather than what's good for their population. Russia's people generally gain nothing from Putin's belligerence, yet the belligerence happens. The CCP rolled the tanks on its own people; do you really think they'll hesitate to roll them on foreigners if it suits their interests?
I don't worry about the aggregate opinion of Russians or Chinese; I worry about Putin and the CCP.
Yes individual cases will always overstep those, often due to extreme power dynamics, but those should be taken as lessons to learn from rather than taught as the normal order of things.
The military industrial complex will put tens of billions of dollars into backing new start-ups that will cooperate over that time. Those companies will receive favoritism from the state over time, to Google's detriment. That will include technology transfer and regulatory favoritism (AI will be a regulated industry 10-15 years from now, and will be regulated forever thereafter). For every worker in Silicon Valley that refuses to do military work, the Pentagon will find 100 outside of Silicon Valley that are more than happy to do so. Numerous large companies up and down the tech chain will cooperate as well, including Microsoft, Amazon, Intel, IBM, Oracle, HP, Dell, Cisco, TI, Micron, nVidia, and dozens of others. The contracts they receive over time will be a lucrative part of their business (it already is in many cases).
It's difficult to say this isn't a net moral good, as things currently stand. Competent tools put to immoral ends aren't somehow more moral than incompetent tools. The only fix is to change the ends.
I would consider that an indefensible position.
Yes, the US government could. Interestingly, the US military couldn't. Remember to vote, kids!
The world didn't get together and unanimously decide to stop using chemical weapons. The few strongest forces in the world decided that no one was to use chemical weapons, and by that threat of force the world became a better place.
I disagree but am open to being persuaded otherwise.
I don't consider national defense to be an immoral goal. I believe it's unrealistic for there to exist a world without weapons. That being the case, I believe it's important for us to constantly improve our military capability otherwise we will be left behind.
My personal opinion is that what the United States has been doing for over 20 years has not been national defense
But the capabilities being built, like drone bombing are primarily used in our endless wars, and used by our 'allies' like Saudi Arabia in places like Yemen.
Have you read the book "Forever Peace" by the author of the more famous "Forever War", Joe Haldeman? F.P. is a world with an endless battle against people that could stand in for the endless wars against Islamic terrorists we fight today. In this world they have robots that can be remotely controlled and you can just walk up to people and kill them. It really reminds me of the way technology could make wars in the future.
Looking at the amount you spend on the military, it would be ridiculous if you weren't 100x further ahead of any other nation already.
As an Australian, I'm personally happy with the US being ahead over the alternatives - but if I was a US citizen I would be seriously questioning how far ahead you need to be if it's really about "defense".
Building secure civilian products, countering corporate espionage, and building products bæused world wide, all probably play a bigger part.
As do diplomacy. Disagreement between the bigs powers haven't been solved with military power for a long time.. why would that change?
We have acting leaders at many levels of the military, and a president who talks the big talk but probably hasn't ever deal with a real crisis where the other side won't fold or de-escalated something ever. He's got no reasonable advisers left.
Edit: Not clear why this is getting so many downvotes. If the government is not trustworthy, people won't want to cooperate with the government. Demanding that they put aside their ethics for the sake of patriotism/national security/etc., while ignoring their legitimate concerns, is pure propaganda.
I find it just a little bit hard to take them seriously if they feel this is the second most significant group in arms control last year.
I feel that it is the responsibility of every moral and conscious agent to oppose dark patterns and negative trends within their place of work whenever possible, and while it is easy (and apropos) to accuse Google of perpetrating malicious patterns, I think we ought to laud and publicly encourage internal currants that oppose that trend, not smirk at them or deride them for not doing enough.
The only way for a country to be truly free is to be either equal in power to other countries - or barring that, the most powerful country on the block. Since the former is impossible due to the nature of reality, all countries aim for the latter.
Development of smart munitions, better sensors/intel, and targeting precision has reduced the scale of military operations, entrenchment, and collateral damage. I think that was a form of technological disruption that was overall for the better.
There's a valid counter-argument that making war smaller and easier will lubricate the willingness for politicians (and the public) to enter into war, or maintain a state of pseudo-war. That is certainly a drawback.
What happens when you're the "them" at the receiving end of these smart weapons? Weapons tech is a pandora's box, once opened, everyone has it and you can't close it.
You are not wrong. Alibaba, Baidu, etc. work heavily with the Chinese government in this area.
This zero-sum, jingoisti, outlook on the world has caused most damaging and bloody wars in history. World policy is not a zero sum game and every human does not have to help kill other humans for the world to be at peace.
It's not that they will. It's that they are.
When someone who most certainly does not have your best interests at heart is building technology capable of crippling or dominating you, what response do you suggest? Passivity?
The only recourse here is to either convince them to step down or to - at the very least - match them. Anything else puts you at a disadvantage and puts your citizens in danger.
> When someone who most certainly does not have your best interests at heart is building technology capable of crippling or dominating you, what response do you suggest? Passivity?
> The only recourse here is to either convince them to step down or to - at the very least - match them. Anything else puts you at a disadvantage and puts your citizens in danger.
You are presenting a false fallacy where the only two options are "do nothing" and "invest all possible resources available to the country into killing other people". A casual look at history book would quickly show you that escalating arms races are not beneficial in the long run - even to the country winning them, since they degenerate into building murder tools at the expense of their own citizens. Much like modern US, which is incapable of providing healthcare to their citizens.
That does not mean that no resources should be put into defense, but every civilian IS NOT morally obligated to help kill other people.
I would argue that the very raw destructive power that military weaponry has, in particular with regards to nuclear capabilities, has actually reduced the odds of another world war.
The Chinese government has imprisoned 1 million+ members of a ethnic minority. I'm sure you've heard of this, if not, you need to do some research...
> You are presenting a false fallacy where the only two options are "do nothing" and "invest all possible resources available to the country into killing other people".
No one is presenting that.
> A casual look at history book would quickly show you that escalating arms races are not beneficial in the long run
From my perspective, it sure did help, as nuclear weapons resulted in the inability for large countries to go to physical wars (for now, at least).
The Pentagon does not deal in World Policy, it deals in martial policy. As General Mattis said, "If you don't fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately".
I find it hard to believe the military spends more than Congress gives it. Military doesn't decide the budget either. Of course a lot of pork is reps spending money in their districts to "create jobs", even when the military doesn't want what they're making . Clearly Pentagon isn't in charge of that spending, or they wouldn't be spending money on what they don't want.
This relies on the (wrong) assumption that military leadership doesn't hold sway in the government. Historically, when the pentagon asks for more funds, the USG provides.
The danger with AI in particular is that eventually the technology gets trivially accessible. You don't need to hire specialists, just wait a bit and download the library and get the how-to book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
There are also instances of successfully preventing technology from becoming commonly used in warfare. Nuclear tech is one, but not a perfect fit because it requies huge investments. But chemical weapons are quite comparable to AI, in that any chemistry grad could create such weapons, yet they have been used far less often than mere feasibility would suggest.
IMO this is the only one that matters in the list. The Pentagon will get another US Based Tech company to aid them in the pursuit of new weapons because there is just too much money to ignore it. Meanwhile peace talks between South and North Korea actually reduces the chance of a thermonuclear war between two nations. We can only hope that other nations follow suit.
Realistically we're not going to solve the problem of nation states wanting to protect their interests halfway across the world, which'll among other things mean killing some "combatants" from a drone.
But we can hope to do things like improve targeting, and a reduction in civilian casualties or collateral casualties. Right now the "AI" is some group of 20-somethings sitting behind a computer in Nevada, what if we trained an AI instead, and could e.g. hold legislative audits on what that software was configured to target?
> what if we trained an AI instead, and could e.g. hold legislative audits on what that software was configured to target?
You are much more optimistic than me.
If those audits ever happened, they would be held in secret, and have very different goals than most people would consider moral.
Wow the faux ethical reach-around they've giving each other over this is comical.
If any of that isn't completely true yet, it will be.
Unless your real argument is "Everyone's evil so don't bother trying".
Of course that doesn't mean you have to join google to make a difference, but pretending that you have to not be working at Google to be helping change things is just silly nonsense.
It has an effect, you just need to have a large mass of people to make it work.
It's the difference between "i won't participate in patenting software" vs "i'm actively avoiding any companies or software that file patents"
The former i see a lot, and it does not help in any meaningful way, in part because their participation is not required. It doesn't help, it's just something people do to pretend they are helping without having to do anything real.
The latter would be something useful, though it does take large groups.
Not working for google "as a way of helping" is clearly the former. Google doesn't need their help, they will do no good by leaving. They have plenty of other jobs, so it's not hard either. They likely can do more good by staying and agitating than by leaving and being ignored.
Additionally, the argument that they must leave google to have an impact is also clearly silly.
That's not even the OPs argument, nor is it some "ole" argument. You have both put words in their mouth and framed it as some classic well-known fallacy of which it is not.
The OP is making the distinction between "voting with your feet" which takes real commitment and has immediate effects versus "signing a letter" which involves nothing more than a few seconds of your time without having to leave your desk.
If Google has trouble attracting talent due to matters of conscience it directly impacts its abilities to build new services as well as improve existing service in order to increase revenue.
Also, voting with your feet takes no real commitment when tech jobs for googlers are plentiful and easy.
Avoiding working for Google does precisely nothing on it's own.
The closest you get is the non-cooperation type of movement the other reply mentions, which is an active thing, but that's not being suggested here.