The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Cathy O'Neil is a Fellow with the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program.
O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard and worked as a math professor at Barnard College before switching over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw and as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene. She is a regular contributor to Bloomberg Opinion and in 2016 wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. She is the CEO of ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company, and a member of the Public Interest Tech Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her latest book, The Shame Machine: Who Profits in the New Age of Humiliation, came out in March 2022.