Where did this evil stuff come from? Are we evil? I’m perfectly willing to stipulate you are not evil. Neither is your boss evil. Nor is Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. And yet the results of our work, our best most altruistic work, often turns evil when it’s deployed in the larger world. We go to work every day, genuinely expecting to make the world a better place with our powerful technology. But somehow, evil is sneaking in despite our good intentions.
I’m going to make an argument in this talk that dissent is valuable not merely to establish your moral dimension or to make a moral act or moral posture. It’s essential to scientific progress. So we can’t do without dissent; it’s not an affectation.