Fortune

Woe is me,” said Albert Einstein on learning of the bombing of Hiroshima.

It’s not unusual for inventors, researchers, and developers to rue their creations. Although Einstein didn’t work directly on the atomic bomb, he regretted his role in encouraging its development.

Similarly, Alfred Nobel, who developed dynamite and other weapons technologies, launched the Nobel Peace Prize to award promoters of peace,which Einstein interpreted his motivation for establishing the prize as atonement.

As to whether any invention or discovery is intrinsically positive or negative, ask Arthur Galston, whose research led to the development of Agent Orange, an herbicide intially intended to help grow crops but which caused extensive environmental damage as well as birth defects when used in Vietnam.

He said in 2003, “You know, nothing that you do in science is guaranteed to result in benefits for mankind. Any discovery, I believe, is morally neutral and…

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