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Ethics and Military Software!

Alejandro Alvarez!
April 30, 2015!

Lets start off by saying that war and militia itself is an unnecessary waste and there is no way I
agree with it. But as unnecessary as it is, it is a fact that it wont go away, at least not for a long
time. The main reason it wont go away is because of all the interests (and money) of companies
and entire countries involved, which often results in more money for an engineer that supports the
cause with his skills. So, when thinking about whether we should allow the use of our software (or
even develop programs) for military purposes, it is hard to get to a final decision and before getting
to it, we have to asses all the moral and ethical implications. !

There are many considerations to take in account, it depends in the country and the nature of the
military forces, for instance in Mexico, the army has two main functions, to fight against organised
crime and to aid in natural disasters, in both cases the efforts are for common benefit, and I think
most of the people would agree with me when I say it is OK to help the mexican army at the
moment. But this is only one specific case in hundreds, there many violent movements going on
every day and armies behind those movements. For me right now it is impossible to evaluate each
of them, but in most of the cases we can easily pick a side.!

It also depends on the nature of the service we are giving, it is completely different to say that you
are developing a communication system that it will be used by the army than saying that you are a
hit man hired by the government. In the end, maybe the system will be used by the hit man and it
will result in deaths of people, but the essence of the task is completely different.!

A couple of years ago, I met two Pakistanis, both of them working for a military R&D company and
both of them mechanical engineers. When I asked them why the accepted a job where all their
efforts literally go in to development and production of weapons, they simply answered: We get
paid twice of what all of our exclassmates get paid and if we hadnt taken the job, somebody else
would have. So in general, even if we dont allow our software to be used, the armies will find a
way to do it themselves or to get someone to do it for them, and lets be honest about it, in most of
the cases it is not like we are gonna be creating a mass destruction weapon our selves. In simpler
terms, feeling guilty about the use some else gives to your product doesnt make you a better or
worse person and it would be a never ending cycle and we would end up pointing to the person
who invented the wheel thousands of years ago, t because he invented the wheel, civilisations
progressed, which eventually led to war and death of millions of people.!

And even if you take the decision to collaborate directly to the development of military instruments,
it can be have a good side. Most of the technologies that we use right now are a product or a
derivative of the research during the second world war, so as harsh as it seems, sometimes war
can bring good things and if we already are going to invest our efforts to war, we better do it the
best way we can, so that it exceeds the scope of the war and it becomes used for a better cause
than war. Again I am not saying that I support war or the development of weapons, I am just saying
that if you take the decision to do so considering all the external factors, it can still be a good thing,
and that doesnt convert you into a horrible person.

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