8. Dangerous research tends to be self-preserving

Every institution aspires to its own self-preservation, and talk of dangers can lead to the end of funding for new projects. Accordingly, scientists involved in these projects have every personal incentive to defend them and downplay the dangers. No funding, no paycheck. Unfortunately, in cases where the area of research in question threatens to annihilate mankind for eternity, this can be rather dangerous to the rest of us. For instance, one wonders why Google bought and is now pumping money into Boston Dynamics, who are primarily known for manufacturing military robotics. We thought their motto was, “Do no evil..?” It is unfortunate that the most powerful and exciting technologies tend to be the most dangerous, and have the most qualified and charismatic scientists and spokespersons to defend their continued funding. This is why every project must be subject to some degree of objective outside scrutiny. People close to potentially dangerous corporate projects—like the robotics projects at Google—have an ethical obligation to monitor what is going on and notify groups concerned with global catastrophic risk in case anything thing is amiss. The safety of the planet is more important than Google's stock price.