Defense, Power & Security, Technology Watch Now: Science, Technology, and Modern War: The Rational Fog

February 16, 2021
By Perry World House

Many of the most transformative scientific and technological advancements of the 20th century – nuclear fission, radar, space travel, and even the microwave oven – were the result of war or preparations for war.

What can we learn from this history in 2021? What can past technologies developed during wartime – like the use of early computational systems in the Vietnam War – teach us about the battlefield applications of new and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence? And with nationalism and militarism once again becoming powerful forces, clashing with the notion of a collaborative international scientific community, how can scientists resist the militarization of peaceful technologies?

In this edition of The World Today, M. Susan Lindee, the Janice and Julian Bers Professor of History and Sociology of Science at Penn, shared how her new book, Rational Fog: Science and Technology in Modern War, explores these questions and more.

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