We aim to develop a new, practicum-based science ethics training program which will be particularly appropriate for the diverse, practically oriented student population at the University of Houston. This project, "Experiencing Ethics", is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Click here to read more about this effort.
Coverage in the journal Science of the AAAS
The journal Science had a nice commentary about our Ethics in Science program.
The article is entitled "Responsibly conducting research."
It is also posted at the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science
at the National Academy of Engineering.
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Why Trust Science?
Do doctors really know what they are talking about when they tell us vaccines are safe? Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when our own politicians don’t? In this landmark book, Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength—and the greatest reason we can trust it. Read more ...
Urgent Action Needed Over Artificial Intelligence Risks to Human Rights
Urgent action is needed as it can take time to assess and address the serious risks this technology poses to human rights, warned the High Commissioner: "The higher the risk for human rights, the stricter the legal requirements for the use of AI technology should be". Ms. Bachelet also called for AI applications that cannot be used in compliance with international human rights law, to be banned. Read more ...
A Russian Missile Creates Enough Space Junk to Pose Risk to Astronauts for Years
The U.S. is condemning a "dangerous and irresponsible" test of a Russian anti-satellite missile that blasted a cloud of debris into Earth's orbit and forced astronauts aboard the International Space Station to briefly take shelter as a precaution. Russia denies that it put any spacecraft or astronauts in danger. Read more ...
Emotion-Detecting Tech Should Be Restricted by Law - AI Now
A leading research centre has called for new laws to restrict the use of emotion-detecting tech. The AI Now Institute says the field is "built on markedly shaky foundations". Despite this, systems are on sale to help vet job seekers, test criminal suspects for signs of deception, and set insurance prices. It wants such software to be banned from use in important decisions that affect people's lives and/or determine their access to opportunities. Read more ...
Have We Learned from the Mistakes of the Past?By Deepa Dhungel | December 15, 2019
There is no doubt that science has advanced outstandingly. This would not be possible without the substantial researches done in the past. However, there have been so many incidences that have overlooked humanity in the pretext of science. For examples: the human radiation experiments, the infamous Tuskegee study, the case of tobacco etc. They are questionable not just on ethical but also on moral grounds. We do not hesitate to criticize the past incidences and condemn them for being unethical and heinous. Read more ...
An Emotionless ScienceBy Jennyffer Smith | December 15, 2019
Science is cold like an operating table, sharp like a scalpel, and unforgiving like animal experimentation. Emotion, on the other hand, is empathetic. It is concerned. It is kind. Many think that science and emotion are antagonistic. From the above descriptions, it would appear they are quite opposite. It would even seem like the attempt to blend emotion into science would only dilute and soften the latter. However, this is not the case at all. In fact, scientific exploration is at its best when the two work in harmony. Indeed, emotion may soften science, but this makes science both humane and human. Read more ...
The Importance of Social Responsibility in Science and TechnologyBy Linjiang Lou | December 15, 2019
We live in an age where science, medicine and technology are rapidly advancing. Such rapid advancements in these fields means more knowledge, and with more knowledge comes great power. For example, with technologies such as artificial intelligence, we have the ability to design self-driving cars or autonomous weapons. With genome editing technology, we have the power to modify DNA for treating diseases or creating designer babies. Read more ...
Science Ethics BlogBy Francisco Guzman | December 15, 2019
Throughout the course, I learned of many case studies where techno-scientific experts engaged, often unwittingly, in unethical behavior. Early in the semester, I was taught that science was not a “value-free”production of knowledge; rather, it is a career that can be subject to scientists’ emotions, conflicts, biases and failings. With this in mind, I questioned how in each of the cases, individuals could hold strongly to their paradigms and beliefs despite evidence refuting their positions and warning of harm. My initial impression was that the experts dehumanized subjects and needlessly harmed them, but this answer proved too simplistic and dismissive. Read more ...
History of Science
After introducing the students to the basic principles of writing, the course emphasizes practice on topics drawn from the science history record. Emphasis is placed on the interaction between science, technology, and society/culture in 20th century America. The topics are diverse covering all STEM fields. The course is CORE – Writing in the Disciplines (WID). Read more ...