Reilly Center releases 2017 List of Emerging Ethical Dilemmas and Policy Issues in Science and Technology

Author: Jessica Baron

For the fourth year in a row, the University of Notre Dame’s John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values has released a list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology that we should be talking about in the coming year.

2015 Reilly Top 10 List of Ethical Dilemmas and Policy Issues in Science and Technology

This year, the issues range from freezing brains to swarms of drones and highlight issues in robotics, neuroscience, education, and medical management.

The goal of the annual list is to present items for scientists, policy makers, journalists, teachers, students, and lthe public to consider in the coming months and years as new technologies develop. The Reilly Center will follow up on the list with programming and events for its students and the public in 2017.

This year’s list includes:

NeuV’s “emotion engine” – A blend of artificial intelligence, robotics, and big data that lets your car know how you’re feeling.

Swarm warfareDARPA is looking for a way for drones to act in unison so that hundreds or thousands can be controlled on the battlefield at the same time.

Reanimating cryonics – An old fad that now aims to freeze your brain so it can be downloaded into a computer in the future.

Edublocks – By 2026 we may have a large marketplace of informal experts and learners exchanging skills and knowledge for money, buying and selling education piece by piece.

Brain hacking – Wearable devices that measure EEG waves are easy to come by, but a simple hack into your headset could reveal a whole host of your most private information.

The self-healing body – There are at least two projects going on now that aim to create bots so small they can move through your blood or attach to your nerve endings. Either by electrical stimulation or a release of chemicals, these bots may regulate our bodies before we even know something is wrong.

Medical ghost management – Pharmaceutical companies can hire firms to perform their clinical trials, write up the research, find academics to put their names on publications, place them in journals, and run their marketing campaigns. An invisible and monumental conflict of interest.

Predicting criminality – Two researchers are returning to the pseudoscience of physiognomy, claiming that they can program a computer to guess with great accuracy whether or not someone is a criminal.

Automated politics – What can we do about the thousands of Twitter bots that post hundreds of times a day with the purpose of misleading voters and skewing public opinion?

The robot cloud – A combination of massive data transfers between robots and programming robots to solve problems in their “dreams” means it’s time to talk about how much autonomy we should give them.

In the past, the Center has planned lectures, consulted with teachers, and visited classrooms to talk about the list. If you would like to speak to someone about the list and/or working with the Center on a project or event, please contact Jessica Baron at baron.17@nd.edu

More information on these issues is available at reillytop10.com. You can vote on the issue(s) you find more compelling here.

The Reilly Center explores conceptual, ethical, and policy issues where science and technology intersect with society from different disciplinary perspectives. Its goal is to promote the advancement of science and technology for the common good. You can find us at reilly.nd.edu.

 

Originally published by Jessica Baron at reilly.nd.edu on December 15, 2016.