Saturday, August 17, 2013

Should all humans have equal access to all the knowledge of humanity?

Should all humans have equal access to all the knowledge of humanity? I read about the technological tools which were used to create the Atom bomb. How should humanity manage knowledge like the knowledge of making Atom bombs? Can the knowledge  be "managed" in terms of ensuring that it  does not  fall into the wrong hands?

As per the books  I read, significantly rudimentary tools were used to craft the American bombs used in world war II. The kind of computing technology used in particular was tiny compared to the capability that is now available to the average human. It has been more than 68 years since the knowledge of making an Atom bomb was generated. We have been able to guard it quite well, despite the plethora of knowledge sharing mechanisms that we have invented and made available to every human. I am not aware of any significant restriction placed on what can and cannot be taught in terms of first principles about absolutely any field of knowledge possessed by humanity. While I am of course aware that no one is permitted to offer cheap and publicly available courses in making Atom bombs, I am not sure how much of the component technologies are cheaply and publicly taught.

How difficult is it in 2013 for a intelligent person with bad intentions to piece together publicly available knowledge (first principles) and easily accessible technological tools to figure out the knowledge of making Atom bombs on his/her own? Does one need to be genius to do this?

How difficult is it for someone with access to the knowledge to consciously or unconsciously leak it to the globe in a second through Twitter and/or Facebook? I know that it is far too easy.

As humanity, we have managed to avoid  a global war for 68 odd years. As the bites of  the current financial  troubles mount, our geopolitics is no longer safe. The incentives for powerful individuals, groups, governments to incentivise intelligent persons to figure out "globe domination" tools may be mounting. Are our institutional mechanisms adequate to manage the fragile peace? [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtOhj8ump58 ]

We have seen a cold war, which built a pile of weapons on both side over multiple years. We were lucky that no idiot on either  side pressed the wrong button. When there will be large number  of  parties  with  large number of buttons, how will we protect against the random idiot destroying us all?

It is now urgent to manage knowledge in society? Balancing democratic ideals of equality, liberty, fraternity with the restrictions we need to place on knowledge generation and sharing activities is going to be difficult. It almost seems like democracy may no longer be suitable in its currently understood form.
 
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