Seeing how MIT had no problem ruining the life of one of the most brilliant members of my generation over commercial interest said a whole lot about MIT’s role in the world.
This clearly isn’t a new issue for MIT, they’ve been making ethically questionable decisions for years.
edit to add the obligatory reference - 'The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas' - https://www.utilitarianism.com/nu/omelas.pdf
He is also credited as the father of chemical warfare, and directly ran and oversaw development of chlorine and other poison gas weapons for Germany in WWI.
His wife, Clara Immerwahr, committed suicide, using her husband's service revolver, and was found mortally wounded though not yet dead by her 12 year old son An act thought by many to have been a protest to her husband's work.
Parent comment is quite accurate.
I'd just like to add that for an athiest, I am a great believer in redemption.
I don't think that it is time reversible however, that theory was thouroughly tested during the crusades with the system of automatic indulgences and by all accounts it did not go well.
Also, redemption is unfortunately rare enough that you shouldn't cut people much slack over anything genuinely serious, while waiting for them to get around to redeeming themselves.
This article is rather ignorant and seems consistent with the author’s background as someone who has no background in technology or R&D.
MIT has always been this way. It has operated a billion dollar defense contractor, MIT Lincoln Labs, since the 1950s. The current MIT campus was built using a quarter-billion donation (in current dollars) of cash and Kodak stock by George Eastman in the 1910s. MIT, moreover, is the archetype of how America became a technological superpower. Collaborations between the military, universities, and large private corporations is how things like the Internet got built.
Trying to somehow tie Epstein together with all that, trying and taint MIT and American industry with some spurious connection to Epstein, is sophistry. It’s the easy prose of someone who has never tried to build a damn thing.
Yeah, pretty sure that’s a tiny percentage of the general population. I don’t see how that invalidates anything.
MIT, along with a sizable subset of figures across academia, industry and government, have achieved that all by themselves.
And the real underlying sophistry is the pretence that this was all to do with wanting Epstein's money or business connections and not to do with any of the other 'services' he provided.
He very clearly kept his position of power and access because he pimped child prostitutes, not in spite of the fact.
> Negroponte’s comments—even in light of his later clarification—indicate the structural rot at the heart of Ito’s choices. The Media Lab has long been academia’s fanciest glue trap for morally elastic rich people. ... In this, the Media Lab has apotheosized the capitalistic philosophy of its parent institution ... Theoretically, at least, professors are salaried and tenured so that they can conduct research pursuant to this communal scientific ethos free from any profit imperative. This is not how modern academic science often works in practice, and it is certainly not how things have worked at MIT for the past 100 years.
So the Media Lab, like the rest of MIT, is morally rotten because of its extreme reliance on private sector funding. But then:
> Over the course of the past century, MIT became one of the best brands in the world, a name that confers instant credibility and stature on all who are associated with it. Rather than protect the inherent specialness of this brand, the Media Lab soiled it again and again
So, MIT is credible and the moral rot is isolated to the Media Lab?
Well, overall, the article presents some facts and seems to want to make a larger point, but then fails to really make any point. The whole discussion of the 1919 "Technology Plan" goes nowhere and it's unclear if the author thinks it was a good or bad (or neutral) idea.
Given that the article seems to have been intended to be persuasive, it would have been better if the article clearly stated either that the Media Lab took the Technology Plan too far, or if the Technology Plan was flawed from the beginning. At least then there would be a clear point which readers could agree or disagree with.
> In this, the Media Lab has apotheosized the capitalistic philosophy of its parent institution ... Theoretically, at least, professors are salaried and tenured so that they can conduct research pursuant to this communal scientific ethos free from any profit imperative. This is not how modern academic science often works in practice, and it is certainly not how things have worked at MIT for the past 100 years.
> Over the course of the past century, MIT became one of the best brands in the world, a name that confers instant credibility and stature on all who are associated with it.
So MIT has followed the "capitalistic" approach instead of the "communal" approach for the last 100 years and it has been ... wildly successful? That doesn't seem to be the author's point, but it is the logical conclusion.