Ethics


In ten years, how will the machines that run your daily existence respond when confronted with life-or-death decisions? Matthieu Cherubini at the Royal College of Art offers prototypes of Humanist, Protector, and Profit-Based moral parameters for self-driving cars:

Many car manufacturers are projecting that by 2025 most cars will operate on driveless systems. How can such systems be designed to accommodate the complicatedness of ethical and moral reasoning? Just like choosing the color of a car, ethics can become a commodified feature in autonomous vehicles that one can buy, change, and repurchase, depending on personal taste.

Three distinct algorithms have been created – each adhering to a specific ethical principle/behaviour set-up – and embedded into driverless virtual cars that are operating in a simulated environment, where they will be confronted with ethical dilemmas.


Nathaniel Rich writes for the New York Times Magazine that “bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up…






Psychologists for Social Responsibility is an independent, non-profit organization that applies psychological knowledge and expertise to promote peace, social justice, human rights, and sustainability. Members are psychologists, students, and other advocates for…








An interesting question posed by Michael Specter in The New Yorker‘s new Science & Tech section: On April 12, 1955, Jonas Salk, who had recently invented the polio vaccine, appeared on the…








Shades of Nazi Germany? Alyssa Newcomb reports for ABC News:

Two University of California at Davis surgeons have been banned from doing human research after they injected bacteria into the head wounds of consenting terminally ill patients without university authorization, according to a letter sent from the school to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The university ordered Drs. J. Paul Muizelaar and Rudolph J. Schrot to immediately “cease and desist” doing the procedure last fall, according to the letter, dated Oct. 17, 2011, obtained by the Sacramento Bee.

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi has ordered a review into the actions of Muizelaar, who is chairman of the department of neurological surgery at UC Davis, and Schrot, an assistant professor…




In a world of ever-widening extremes – from weather patterns to wealth disparities to polarized politics – what does it mean to be a moderate? More specifically, how does this term apply…