Notre Dame’s Reilly Center Releases Its Annual Top 10 of Ethical Dilemmas and Policy Issues in Science and Technology

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The John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values at the University of Notre Dame has released its annual list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology for 2016. ReThis marks the fourth year the Center has released a list, designed to get people thinking about potential dilemmas before the science or technology goes mainstream. Readers are encouraged to vote on the issue they find most compelling and in need of discussion at and clicking on the vote button.

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.

The Center generates its annual list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology with the help of Reilly fellows, other Notre Dame experts, and friends of the center.

The ethical dilemmas and policy issues for 2016 (presented in no particular order) are:

  • CRISPR/Cas9 – technology for gene editing
  • Rapid whole genome diagnosis – a way to record and catalog the genomes of newborns in order to improve disease detection
  • Talking Barbie – a new Barbie who wants to record conversations she has with your child
  • Digital labor rights – a discussion of the tension between anonymous workers and anonymous bosess.
  • Head transplants – a procedure that one doctor has promised to develop by 2017
  • Disappearing drones – drones that deliver payloads and then poof into thin air without any indication of who sent it
  • Artificial wombs – the potential to grow a human fetus outside of a woman’s body is creating concerns with women’s rights advocates
  • Bone conduction for marketing – Verizon already has the technology to transmit ads to your brain through your bones (as well as your skin)
  • Lethal cyber weapons – a potentially lethal computer program capable of causing a real-world damage
  • Exoskeletons for the elderly – technology that aids labor but postones retirement.

If you have questions about the Top 10 List, please contact Jessica Baron at


Originally published by Jessica Baron at on December 08, 2015.