The Curse of Flexibility
Philip Reiner and Peter Hayes with Nancy Leveson
In this segment, Nancy Leveson argues that using conservative techniques and avoiding unnecessarily complex software in critical functions in NC3 systems circumvented nuclear catastrophe in the past. Today, she concludes, a new approach is needed that avoids gratuitous complexity; emphasizes less not more technology; and improves NC3 systems by developing “more powerful, socio-technical and system engineering and risk management approaches that involve paradigm changes from the approaches that are no longer working. These are only now coming into existence and will need technical advances and refinement.”
This podcast is accompanied by Nancy Leveson’s paper “An Engineering Perspective on Avoiding Inadvertent Nuclear War.”
The Fourth Leg is a series of podcasts focused on one of the most complex systems in the world today – nuclear command and control – and its increasingly complicated future. Within this series we go straight to the experts, across multiple sectors, to discuss the modernization of nuclear command and control systems.
Along with colleagues from the Nautilus Institute and the Preventive Defense Project, IST recently hosted over 50 international experts at Stanford University to anticipate technical challenges that will arise from the modernization of complex nuclear command and control systems. We aim to spotlight some of the vulnerabilities within a modernized NC3 system while furthering the conversation with this series.
Keep an eye on IST, as we will begin additional podcast series in the coming months focused on how to fix the internet, AI and global stability, and other critical tech and security issues- for now, we have so much more to talk about, so let’s get started.