In relation to the new Cosmos series, Víctor R. Ruíz reflects [es] on how the search for scientific knowledge is becoming a question of social responsibility, and the role of scientists in the public sphere:
Both before and then, private companies and governments have agendas that don't always coincide with general interest. Oil companies continue having scientists on their payroll who are willing to sow doubts. Countries continue financing the development of high-tech arms. And sometimes, the boundaries between private and public interests are not even clear. As explained in my Naukas Bilbao talk last year, the National Security Agency (NSA) hires a third of all mathematicians in the world. The documents revealed by Edward Snowden indicate that they have implemented and even subverted Internet technologies for spying on a global scale, not so much for the anti-terrorism fight as for commercial espionage.
Víctor concludes from his scientific writer point of view:
The mad scientist cliche may seem like a myth, but the bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not created by evil militaries. We cannot turn the other cheek pretending that it is not scientists and engineers who develop technologies that are later used to spy on billions of citizens or kill civilians by remote control. Today, like yesterday, it's our duty to both speak about the passion for knowledge and to criticize the collaboration of scientists on projects that threaten our society.