305 Items

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Legacy of Ash Carter

| Fall 2022

As tributes and memories poured in following the sudden death of Belfer Center Director Ash Carter on October 24, it became increasingly clear that his legacy of teaching and serving will live on through the students he taught, colleagues he mentored and worked alongside, and the many individuals whose lives he touched during his work in and out of government. 

Here, through the words of students, colleagues, government officials, and others, we share something of the incredible impact of this extraordinary man known as “Professor Carter,” “Secretary Carter,” “Sir,” and just “Ash.” 

1996 photo with Russian defense minister Pavel Grachev, Ukrainian Defense Minister Valery Schmarov, and U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry (with Ash Carter, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs) planting sunflowers at the site which formerly housed a missile silo at a military base near Pervomaysk, Ukraine.

Department of Defense via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

In Memoriam: Ash Carter's Critical Role in Nuclear Security and Policy

  • Amb. (ret.) George A. Krol
| Nov. 05, 2022

Ambassador George Krol (ret.) recounts Ash Carter's unique qualities and the seminal role he played in developing U.S. policy toward the newly independent republics of the former Soviet Union in the mid-1990's.  "He left a lasting impression on all of us," Amb. Kool writes, "including, I contend, in many of the republics of the former USSR."

On the right is Miklhail S. Gorbachev with then Belfer Center Director Graham Allison on the left. With a Harvard Kennedy School JFK Jr. Forum backdrop behind them. 

Martha Stewart

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s Legacy

Former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who is known for ending the Cold War, dissolving the Soviet Union, and changing the map of Europe, died Tuesday, August 30. He was 91.

We asked several Center experts for their thoughts on Gorbachev and his impacts – and how his life and actions are relevant to the challenges the world faces today.

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Primer: Social Media Recommendation Algorithms

| Aug. 25, 2022

The use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok is increasingly widespread, currently amounting to billions of users worldwide. Social media companies deploy proprietary recommendation algorithms to automate the selection, ranking, and presentation of content on the platform’s “feed” or recommended content section, every time a user opens or refreshes the site or app. However, social media recommendation algorithms have a range of privacy, security, information quality, and psychological concerns for users. 

A successful approach to the regulation of social media recommendation algorithms will require a combination of government regulation, self governance, and external oversight to facilitate value alignment across these diverse actors and tackle the various challenges associated with this technology. This publication explores the technical components of social media recommendation systems, as well as their public purpose considerations. 

In this March 17, 2014 file photo protesters rally outside the Iowa Air National Guard base, in Des Moines, against the use of drones to carry out military strikes. Diplomats in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 began discussing at the United Nations whether new international laws are needed to govern the use of “killer robots” -  lethal autonomous weapons systems that could go beyond human-directed drones.

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Analysis & Opinions - Daedalus

The Moral Dimension of AI-Assisted Decision-Making: Some Practical Perspectives from the Front Lines

| Spring 2022

This essay takes an engineering approach to ensuring that the deployment of artificial intelligence does not confound ethical principles, even in sensitive applications like national security. There are design techniques in all three parts of the AI architecture–algorithms, data sets, and applications–that can be used to incorporate important moral considerations. The newness and complexity of AI cannot therefore serve as an excuse for immoral outcomes of deployment by companies or governments.

Ukraine Votes at IAEA 64th General Conference

Dean Calma / IAEA

Analysis & Opinions - At the Brink

Did Ukraine Make a Mistake by Giving Up Nuclear Weapons?

| Mar. 30, 2022

In the 90s, Ukraine made the decision to dismantle the thousands of former Soviet nuclear weapons left on its territory. Nearly 3 decades later, Russia has invaded Ukraine using its own nuclear arsenal to bully other nations from interceding. In this special episode of AT THE BRINK, we explore whether Ukrainian denuclearization was a fateful mistake and if a nuclear Ukraine could have prevented the Russian invasion.

Announcement - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Belfer Center Annual Report 2021

| Feb. 02, 2022

An elementary law of physics states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I like to think that a similar phenomenon exists in the Belfer Center’s line of work. In fact, I believe the principle of it is encoded in our DNA: when challenges and crises arise, we respond—and often with greater force and determination.