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What would be the implications of research and development projects being mostly funded by the private sector instead of the Pentagon?

The Pentagon funds most robotics research and development programs, but what would happen if it is was mainly funded by private industry, the space program, or an environmental change response agency? Would there be different social issues and challenges? Would the purposes of robots be more consumer based instead of military?

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the role of technology's use in the future? Do you have trust or confidence in the ability of the government to regulate the emerging technology, so as to obtain social benefits while mitigating social costs?

What are the assumptions in your opinion? i.e. technology is the only thing influencing social issues, the government isn't lowering their spending and the private sector is just upping theirs, or robotics wouldn't be as military based.

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    Jul 8 2011: I tend to agree government has more tendency NOT to reveal things because it is power oriented which we all know many times they compete with the very people they govern which makes them competing with EVERYBODY. They are into a "greater good".
    Private sectors however is profit oriented, so the whole point they do it would be to push it as fast and to as many people as possible. And that can only happen if people "like" it cause it's useful. Only time they might hold things back is if it would kill another "best selling product" of their own which means it's something serving people well already. So they might sabotage progress... but never results. Unfortunately, private sectors often misuse their luxury of privacy by conducting unhealthy competition. These commerce maneuvers are the ones that sometimes do harms to people.
  • Jul 16 2011: Some projects need more capital than a company is willing to cough up. The army can fund things which are far fetched-yet can have huge implications. Both a government and civilian approach is needed. But the government should only fund big ticket items and let the small stuff be researched by companies.
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    Jul 8 2011: i came up with ELOTRA that stands for : Electronic Lock-on-Target Remote assistant.
    Dont ask me how i came up with this, i first made the name then the meaning.

    It's like an interface where you can connect to any of ur devices trough the remote assistant. In here you can pick targets and lock on them. To let your robots make tea when u wake up or when close to home. You can put on heater or airco, what ever! Warm ur bed when u close ur eyes to much... lulz

    What you think of the name?
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    Jul 8 2011: example: internet. it started as a DoD project, under the name of DARPA. the number of nodes attached were almost constant in time. then the private sector laid a hand on it, and there is an unbelievable expansion since.

    example 2: space exploration. in 1969, the first man on the moon. 2011: NASA is incapable of moon travel. near future: private industry will take over, and before 2020, the first private moon landing will happen, and then the number of visitors to the moon will increase exponentially with time.
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    Jul 7 2011: Private Industry does lot's of research on thier own. The Results are Propriatary so you never know about it.
    If you asked IBM for some Research money, you can bet IBM would own all you learned.
    Public money is easier to get.
    DOD told me they put out an RFP for things, and Phd's respond with proposals.
    That's how a lot of the worlds really great things have come about.
    So many other Gov. entities do the same.
    I'm still alive today because of what Medicine learned through Gov. Grants.
  • Jul 7 2011: Raising money on a scale of 1 - 10 is atleast a 100. It is easier get an appirotation thru congress than to do a large privte placement.
    All the best,

    Duane Byron Carlson
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    Jul 4 2011: Well if we did not have pentagon research, we would not have the internet. Government and esp the pentagon can be wasteful, but that does give them certain liberties to create things that do not have easily practical reasons for being, but can be be huge once they hit. We would not have cell phones either if not for a space program, which I do not believe was pentagon funded, but was driven by the cold war. Just because the military develops a technology does not mean it will have a military application. In fact as long as we have a pentagon I would like them to do more of this types of research rather than directly finding ways to kill other people.

    That said I think there is a bit of a different culture now than there was in times past. Many people choose not to work for the pentagon, leaving them to the private market. 50 odd years ago there was little opportunity this leaving them stuck with defense research jobs.

    Ultimately though I believe the people developing the research are smarter than those funding it, private or public. I like to think those in the DARPA program in the 50/ 60s were smart enough to know some peer to peer network such as the internet had little military application which needs some pattern of hierarchy to function. I also like to think those in such research positions today are playing the same game. Then again now we have more games to play and maybe we really should start looking at them.