Scapegoating security researchers harms society

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Clarke's Third Law is a warning, not a recommendation.

"Any sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," the science fiction writer said, but the flip side to the wonder and delight we get from magical-seeming technology is fear and anxiety and loathing.

Ordinary folks want potions and spells. But when things go wrong, they burn witches.

Computers aren't magic, and we are not mages. We must demystify the world we now live in. We must ease the growing social anxiety, and so defuse the ticking time bomb that threatens to hurt us all. In the long term, that means more and better STEM education, with minimum technical fluency requirements, for all students. In the short term, we need better translators — journalists and teachers, but also geeks to advise lawmakers and judges in private. Help govern well or be governed badly.

The herd impulse to scapegoat is ancient and universal, and it happens over and over again in different context, languages, countries and cultures around the world. Few societies are wise enough to divert their anger to a goat, as the Old Testament Hebrews did. The human urge to purge is strong.

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