When it comes to nuclear weapons, we’re living a paradox. On one hand, the world’s nuclear nations have committed to eventual elimination of nuclear weapons altogether under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the most widely supported arms control treaty in history. On the other hand, the international community still subscribes to a 20th-century doctrine called “mutually assured destruction”—in which over 15,000 nuclear weapons, in various states of readiness and reliability, underpin global security strategy.
Yet the threats we face today—cyberwar, the ideologies of non-state actors, the all-too-real spectre of catastrophic human error, a system in which one world leader controls the fate of the world—have made us less safe than ever. Because the NPT lays out no specific deadlines, the public has few ways to hold governments accountable for action, and geopolitical tensions can make disarmament goals seem implausible—even naive.
There is an urgent need for effective, scalable solutions to help ensure a positive outcome to this stalemate. And we believe that solution just might come from you, our extended SU global community.
To that end, we are excited to partner with N Square in sponsoring 1-2 Impact Scholars to come to Singularity University to help spur the development of game-changing solutions that bring new momentum to this elusive challenge.
“It’s time to break the stranglehold that nuclear weapons have on our imaginations, to invest in the creative solutions that come from working backward from a future we want rather than plodding forward from a present that brings all the mental models and biases of the past with it. It’s time to pledge our resources as leaders in exponential technology and media, education and finance, to work on this old problem in new ways, to ask ‘How might we?’
If ever there was a moonshot worth supporting, this is it.”
—Erika Gregory, Managing Director, N Square Collaborative
Meet N Square
N Square is a multimillion dollar initiative designed to stimulate innovation in the fields of nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and safety and security. N Square is the brainchild of five of the largest peace and security funders in the United States: The Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ploughshares Fund, and the Skoll Global Threats Fund. N Square is based on the idea that new forms of cross-sector collaboration—combined with the sheer ingenuity of an engaged public—will enable us to innovate our way to a world free from the risks associated with nuclear weapons and the materials required to produce them. N Square is currently developing a network of innovators, influencers, and experts in technology and media.
What is an N Square Impact Scholar?
Through this partnership, we seek to activate and unite a generation of leaders and innovators behind the vision of ending the weapons era by 2045, the 100th anniversary of their creation, and stimulate innovation to accelerate solutions that can help us reach an abundant future. If ever there was a moonshot worth supporting, this is it.
Why do we believe this is even possible? Because of the burgeoning community of mission-driven leaders who, like you, are harnessing technology to improve the lives of a billion people or more. Because the nuclear threats field is already lit up with innovation—in satellite threat detection, international diplomacy, crowdsourced radiation monitoring, and more. And because current events have put nuclear weapons back on the public agenda.
We applaud N Square’s commitment to finding, funding, and scaling promising solutions to disarm our world; making the nuclear field more broadly visible; and enabling identifiable progress and a sense of possibility.
Who We're Looking For
We're looking for you if you're inspired by N Square's vision, welcome collaboration, and can propose innovative, scalable solutions that leverage exponential technologies.
Specifically, the ideal candidates for the N Square Impact Scholars Program are familiar with the context of nuclear weapons and/or are hungry to learn more, and also meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Social impact rockstars in nonprofits, NGOs, or government agencies
- Champions for diversity, equity, and inclusion in technology, innovation, and business
- Citizens of communities around the world, especially those in developing or emerging markets
- Tech-domain experts and innovation leaders focused on social impact
- Academic leaders training the next generation in technology and entrepreneurship
- Entrepreneurs and investors working on addressing humanity's grand challenges with cutting-edge tech and innovation
The N Square Impact Scholars Opportunity
N Square Impact Scholars will have opportunities to learn more about the field and to collaborate with nuclear weapons experts in such settings as:
- The SU Global Summit, a 3-day event dedicated to uniting brilliant leaders from around the world, showing them the latest emerging technologies, and empowering them to go out and create positive impact on a global scale
- Novel Technologies, Techniques and Methods for Safeguards and Arms Control Verification, a workshop hosted by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management at Sandia National Labs, New Mexico
- The Public Policy and Nuclear Threats Boot Camp at UC San Diego in La Jolla, California
- N Square-hosted, cross-sector workshops
Resources to Learn More About the Global Nuclear Threat
Here is an excellent tutorial about the nuclear threats landscape. We also recommend the following resources:
- Survey of current global nuclear weapons stockpiles
- Hope is a Bad Strategy: Building a Network of Nuclear Innovators
- Why Our Nuclear Weapons Can Be Hacked; New York Times, March 2017
- Implications of a nuclear weapons “exchange”
- Nuclear Threat Initiative overview of the threats we face
- I Wish I Didn’t Know That! Real-Life Tales of Close Calls, Screwups, and Nuclear Near Misses
- How little we do know! Millennials discuss nuclear weapons in Join the Conversation