I think what struck me the most about the articles was the idea of becoming a sell-out, someone who’s not necessarily purely motivated by wanting “cushy” life but forced into it, whether it’s financial constraints and dependencies like Elon Musk is facing with the US government or even choosing a high profit driven lifestyle. It’s a conversation I’ve heard a lot around Stanford campus regarding CS; some of the top students in the world have to make the choice between working for Facebook, Google, Microsoft (not to trivialize their incredible work), or other top tech companies, or taking a bigger risk and going into social impact work that might not have the same pay-off.
It’s hard for me to talk about what I want to do in the future, but I think I derive success more by impact than anything quantifiable. The article about social responsibility, though I’m not interested in research, does mention the need to make “decisions regarding the appropriate use of science in addressing societal issues and concerns” and “bring their specialized knowledge and expertise to activities and discussions that promote the education of students and fellow citizens”. This I agree with wholeheartedly. No matter what field I end up in, I think it’s my personal responsibility as a scientist and representative of STEM to use my powers for good, as dramatic as it sounds, in terms of passing the information forward and trying to apply my knowledge toward the greater good, not necessarily for a profit driven purpose.