Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Brief Glimpse

Worth the time to read the entire thing. It helps to clear another smudge from the surface we're given. Keep cleaning the glass.

Metroactive Features | Robots
Part of the reason University of Texas at Austin computer scientist Benjamin Kuipers stopped taking military financing is that he's seen colleagues wind up in places they'd never imagined themselves.

"DARPA and ONR and other DOD agencies support quite a lot of research that I think is valuable and virtuous," he says. "However, there is a slippery slope that I have seen in the careers of a number of colleagues. You start work on a project that is completely fine. Then when renewal time comes, and you have students depending on you for support, your program officer says that they can continue to fund the same work, but now you need to phrase the proposal using an example in a military setting. Same research, but just use different language to talk about it. OK. Then when the time comes for the next renewal, the pure research money is running a bit low, but they can still support your lab if you can work on some applications that are really needed by the military application. OK. ... Then for the next round, you need to make regular visits to the military commanders, convincing them that your innovation will really help them in the field. And so on. By the end of a decade or two, you have become a different person from the one you were previously. You look back on your younger self, shake your head, and think, 'How naive.'"