[Noisebridge-discuss] Sigh -- I'm not helping with Maker Faires this year.

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Wed Apr 4 15:08:54 PDT 2012


Jake,

   First of all it's obvious we're coming at this from different
directions.  As my friend Ari would say, "how awesome is that?"

   I am not going to get into a discussion regarding the wars in Iraq
or Afghanistan.  I think no one disagrees about the questionable
status of these events and certainly no one is going to argue that the
DOD in general isn't geared to draw blood when requested.  And that's
sort of the point.  ROE and being in those theaters are created with
political oversight and approval.  As Reagan ( hehe ) used to say...
the buck stops here.

   I think it's important to remember that the people out there in
those war zones are there because an elected official put them there.
And that counts for a lot.  We can argue over just how much till the
cows come home.  It's not the point at all.

   I think ultimately we both agree that what is at question here is
the ethics of accepting DARPA funding.  Yes the specific nature of the
grant and all that can be discussed but the general framework of the
discussion is geared to answer a question on ethics.  What I think is
vital to this discussion is the definition of what that question is.

   Yes, ethics are incredibly important as a component to STEM in any
situation be it as a kid being taught, or as a professional in their
career.  This stuff matters.  But how do hackerspaces and hackers want
to approach the framework.

   I don't necessarily believe that DARPA funding is a necessarily
evil thing or a necessary evil either.  I think it exists and will
stand or fall on its own merits per evaluation.  Life is fluid.
What's important is that we build a methodology that's efficient at
evaluating ANYTHING be it DARPA or PETA related assistance.  Many
hackerspaces have struggled with accepting assistance from a wide
variety of arenas... and many of the issues aren't ethical.   But
DARPA specifically piques interest because it is a moral quandary for
each of us.  I believe the focus in this discussion should be there.

  And I'm definitely of the opinion we all have differing opinions and
experiences that can help shape that discussion for the better.

That's been my point from the beginning.  And why this is in privmsg
and not on list.

Cheers,

    Matt

On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 11:29 AM, Jacob Appelbaum <jacob at appelbaum.net> wrote:
> On 04/04/2012 09:55 AM, Matt Joyce wrote:
>> Jake military strength is not synonymous with capacity to kill.  That is a
>> naive notion.  DARPA does have a fierce military role.  There is no
>> questioning that.  However the thrust of my post was in pointing out that
>> their goals largely are focused on preventing conflict.  In so far as the
>> military does not act without orders from elected leadership this is a
>> certainty.  All conflict is not of their design.  Preparing for it and
>> ending it is their function.
>>
>> Yes they keep the swords sharp.  But that in and of itself is an action
>> open to a largely subjective prediction of consequence.  Peace can be kept
>> simply by keeping everyone aware of negative consequences.
>>
>> Really outside the scope of discussion though.
>>
>
> Hi Matt,
>
> ( I'd be more inclined to buy your argument if I hadn't been to Iraq and
> actually seen what the U.S. military does with that technological
> superiority first hand. Our military is currently engaged in two major
> conflicts (Iraq and Afghanistan) and to suggest that we're trying to
> prevent conflict in any way is naive. Actually, it's blindly stupid
> because WE ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN MURDERING PEOPLE IN THOSE COUNTRIES.
> Ahem. My personal experiences isn't the point but I'm harder to convince
> than most because of it. My statements are not meant as arguments from
> authority but rather to give you perspective on why I find this
> discussion less than theoretical. )
>
> DARPA states nothing about prevention of conflict in their mission
> statement. Thus, I think you lack evidence to support your assertion
> that they are focused on preventing conflict. They expressly state that
> they work toward the superiority of the U.S. military.
>
> So without evidence, as the saying goes, one may dismiss without
> argument, your assertions.
>
> Now here's the thing: I really can't respect your position because
> you're basically taking a cowardly position. You're constantly trying to
> downplay the negative aspects of keeping "the swords sharp" without
> acknowledging that this means murdering people.
>
> I can respect DARPA funding in some circumstances - places where
> rational adults are paid to do something that isn't ONLY useful for
> killing people - as a really simple example. I have a much harder time
> supporting what sounds like a moral vacuum, a propaganda exercise and
> the construction of say, military vehicles.
>
> It isn't that these things _can't_ be put to good use, rather one must
> remember that their good use is not inevitable but their negative use is
> actually inevitable if the project is successful.
>
> All the best,
> Jake
>
>
>> -Matt
>> On Apr 4, 2012 2:10 AM, "Jacob Appelbaum" <jacob at appelbaum.net> wrote:
>>
>>> On 04/03/2012 09:42 AM, Matt Joyce wrote:
>>>>
>>>> And I want to remind you.  DARPA isn't in the business of killing people.
>>>> It's in the business of engineering peace where there is none.  War and
>>>> chaos do not achieve the objectives of DARPA or the US military.  Their
>>>> goal is to END conflict.  They don't start it.  They get tasked to "end
>>> it"
>>>> usually on favorable terms.  You want to equate defense work with
>>> "murder"
>>>> I'd point the finger at the ambassadors, senators, and other political
>>>> entities that allow war to happen.  Some of them will own that
>>>> responsibility and some of them will shirk it.  But to place blame on
>>> DARPA
>>>> for it is somewhat absurd.
>>>>
>>>> Just some thoughts.
>>>>
>>>
>>> Hi Matt,
>>>
>>> I just wanted to quote Darpa's home page[0] for you:
>>>
>>> "The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was established
>>> in 1958 to prevent strategic surprise from negatively impacting U.S.
>>> national security and create strategic surprise for U.S. adversaries by
>>> maintaining the technological superiority of the U.S. military.
>>>
>>> "To fulfill its mission, the Agency relies on diverse performers to
>>> apply multi-disciplinary approaches to both advance knowledge through
>>> basic research and create innovative technologies that address current
>>> practical problems through applied research.  DARPA’s scientific
>>> investigations span the gamut from laboratory efforts to the creation of
>>> full-scale technology demonstrations in the fields of biology, medicine,
>>> computer science, chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics, material
>>> sciences, social sciences, neurosciences and more.  As the DoD’s primary
>>> innovation engine, DARPA undertakes projects that are finite in duration
>>> but that create lasting revolutionary change.
>>>
>>> So when you say they're not in the business of killing people, you're
>>> almost right - they sub-contract it out. It's a distinction without a
>>> difference for most people.
>>>
>>> ( I wrote a lot of other stuff but then I realized I originally just
>>> wanted to correct your misstatement for the record of other
>>> noisebridge-discuss readers and not to argue with you.)
>>>
>>> All the best,
>>> Jake
>>>
>>> [0] http://www.darpa.mil/our_work/
>>>
>>
>


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