My name is Mark Avrum Gubrud. I am an adjunct professor in the Curriculum in Peace, War & Defense at the University of North Carolina. My PhD is in ultra-low temperature and nanoscale experimental physics, earned at the University of Maryland, College Park. I have taught physics at the University of North Carolina, and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University. I can be reached at gubrud at gmail dot com.
I have proposed robot and space arms control, and responded to “transhumanist” thinking. These are the topics I think, speak and write about most often.
More broadly, I am concerned with emerging technology and human security. Technology should enable us to solve practical problems and protect what we value. But the explosive growth of technology upsets balances that have evolved over hundreds, thousands and millions of years, resulting in social, economic and environmental disasters. Emerging technology also fuels dangerous arms races, and as technology invades the physical body and pervades the social environment, it may become an acid bath for humanity.
I do not believe the answer to this is the rejection of technology, or the imposition of rules from outside ourselves. Moral codes that can’t withstand questioning are brittle, and shutting down thinking makes people easy to manipulate. The cult of nature is not much better than the cult of technology. The universe is dominated by natural forces that are often hostile to us, and we are at home a world that is partly natural, partly human-made. We need to find a balance that can withstand the rapid changes that we know are coming.
Military forces should protect, not threaten us. Economic arrangements should enrich, not impoverish us. Politics should be our voice and will. These are not just utopian ideals. They are transformations of our institutions and ideas that are necessary for survival.
Technology should serve human ends, not become the end of humanity.