I'm currently reading The Dream Machine (which means reading a meager ~10 pages a day), and it has been a very interesting read so far. Since the first few chapters take place around the time of World War II and the Cold War, it has made me try to draw parallels on what role science would play in a modern day World War. The more I think about it and play out possible scenarios, the more scared I get.
The first atomic bomb was created in 1945. Since then, science has progressed in a multitude of disciplines that has progressed humankind into a new age. While we celebrate the breakthroughs that have a net positive reward, what about the breakthroughs that have a net negative reward associated with them? For example, scientific breakthroughs that yielded new weapons of mass destruction. Not every discovery or invention in the world was carried out with good intentions. People can also find ways to utilize theorems initially developed for good to do harm, such as virus mutation.
What scares me is what is unknown to the greater population (which includes myself). There's a lot of countries in this big world, and there's constant ongoing turmoil in different places (ex. Russia and Ukraine). If tensions lead to actions, what direction will government play in R&D for warfare? Will there be a Manhattan Project 2.0? How will non-governmental groups play roles in facilitating peace and war? Things such as media propaganda, the Internet, discrimination and prejudice could play a pivotal role in a hyper-moving world at war.
The thought of a dormant W.M.D. that is of an unknown nature to the rest of the world that could be released at the confirmation of an international leader is pretty scary.