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The Politics of Defense Spending

When: Tuesday, January 7, 2020, 5:45 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: MIT • 182 Memorial Drive • Building 2, Room 105 • Cambridge

First of a series of three sessions on The politics of defense spending: science, profits, and endless wars

Subrata Ghoshroy, MIT Research Affiliate

After the end of World War II, U.S. embarked upon a policy to spend large sums of money for defense. It was a two-pronged strategy to at once fight communism, and spur economic growth. A big part of the defense budget was for weapons R&D in order to gain a “technology-edge” over the USSR. The strategy continues nearly 30 years after the Cold War ended. Today, the U.S. defense budget is over $700 billion per year, which is more than the combined spending of the next ten nations. It includes more than $80 billion for weapons R&D. An unfathomable $1-trillion will be spent on nuclear weapons modernization over the next 30 years, shortchanging research on climate change, e.g., and many other social needs. The course will present a brief history of the “military-indistrial complex,” the defense budget and associated politics, profits and waste in weapons R&D,  whistleblowing, and the endless wars. In recent years “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) has become a focus of attention for governments, the media and universities.  In his guest lecture, Yarden Katz will discuss the forces behind the so-called AI “revolution” – who profits from its various narratives and how. He is a Fellow in Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, and received a PhD in neuroscience from MIT in 2014.

The sessions:

1/7 The politics of defense spending 

1/14 Artificial Intelligence (AI): hype and reality  (Guest Lecture by Yarden Katz, Harvard)

1/21 Defense R&D: science, profits, waste, and whistle blowing

Enrollment: Limited: First come, first served (no advance sign-up)
Limited to 59 participants
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions
Prereq: An interest in science, militarism, foreign policy, gov’t

Sponsor(s): MIT Science, Technology, and Society
Contact: Subrata Ghoshroy, E51-296, 617 253-3846, GHOSHROY@MIT.EDU

calendar_add.png Jan/07 Tue 05:45PM-07:00PM 2-105, The politics of defense spending
calendar_add.png Jan/14 Tue 05:45PM-07:00PM 2-105, AI: Hype and Reality (Yarden Katz, Harvard)
calendar_add.png Jan/21 Tue 05:45PM-07:00PM 2-105, Defense R&D
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