Two year ago, researchers Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog concluded that engineers were far more likely to be members of violent Islamist groups than average citizens of the same countries. (IEEE Spectrum reported on the initial research in 2008. ) Since then, says an article in today’s New York Times Magazine, more data from terrorist attempts of all sorts supports the engineer/terrorist connection.
Gambetta and Hertog found the connection only in right-wing groups, suggesting that there’s something about the engineering mindset that is influencing the connection, not just the fact that engineering skills are valuable to terrorist groups. Others say the data set is simply too small to be meaningful in any way.
What do you think?
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.