John J. Cronin of Notre Dame University is taking inventory of his achievements. In its 2013 inaugural list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology, the Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values emphasizes science and technology’s relationship to society. In the Reilly Center, a variety of disciplinary perspectives combine to examine conceptual, ethical and policy issues arising from the intersection of science and technology with society. Towards the advancement of science and technology, its goal is to promote the interest of As well as fellows from Notre Dame, other experts and friends of the center helped to generate the inaugural list for the With the advent of new technologies, the center sought to present a list of items scientists and laypeople should consider in the months and years to come. As a result, it will have a monthly feature of one of these issues on its website, allowing readers to ask questions and access resources.
Personalized genetic tests/personalized medicine
There are several ethical dilemmas and policy decisions to be made
The advent of fast, low-cost genetic sequencing in the past ten years has provided the public with direct access to genome sequencing. By contrast, it has been difficult for both physicians and genetic counselors to recognize and implement what they have learned. Is there a risk of privacy violations here? How do we protect the data that is so personal and private? Is the world heading toward a new era of therapeutic intervention to improve quality of life, or are we headed toward
Hacking into medical devices
A pacemaker is one example of a medical device that could be a target for The security vendor IOActive’s Barton Jack recently showed how to compromise the security of a pacemaker by breaching the device’s security from a laptop and making it deliver a shock of 830 volts. Why is it so important to keep these devices
It is now legal for Google to operate its autonomous cars in three states — Nevada, Florida, and California. Developing fully automated vehicles that are safer and more efficient than human-operated vehicles is one of Google’s goals, and the company is planning to adapt the Zipcar concept to this effort. In my opinion, an ethical discussion of automation and the issue of access for people with different income levels are just to name a few of the difficult ethical, legal, and policy questions
Three-dimensional printing has the potential to be used to build anything from architectural models to human organs, so we could be on the verge of printing personalized pharmaceuticals or even home-printed explosives and guns in the future. Now, 3-D printing is largely the realm of artists and designers, but we can see what a future might look like when 3-D printers become affordable and there are patterns for every product, both benign and malicious, eliminating the need for manufacturing.
Adaptation to climate change
There is an ethical discussion to be had about the differences in climate change sensitivity among people across the globe. It is vital that we find effective and safe ways to aid people with the effects of climate change. We must also learn how to handle and manipulate wild species and the environment in order to protect While some adaptation strategies are highly technical (such as building sea walls to stem the rise in sea levels), others are cultural and social in nature (such as changing farming
Low-quality and counterfeit pharmaceuticals
It was uncommon for developing countries where these issues frequently occur to be able to test for low-quality and counterfeit pharmaceuticals before recently, which required complex equipment. There are several issues raised by the tremendous amount of pharmaceutical intermediaries and active ingredients, from the technical (improvements in manufacturing practices and analytical capabilities) to the ethical and legal (for example, India allowed manufacturing of life-saving drugs even if it violated The law of patents).
As machines (both for peaceful purposes and for weapons) progress from being controlled by humans, to being automated, to being autonomous, with the ability to act without human intervention, there is an ever-increasing need for human involvement. Because these systems operate without human control and are designed to function and make decisions on their own, they have grown exponentially in terms of ethical, legal, social, and policy implications. The actions of autonomous systems are under the control of whom? Do scientists have a responsibility to design robotic systems that will decrease human fatalities if robotic technology has the potential to reduce them?
Human-animal hybrids (chimeras)
Thus far, scientists have kept hybrids between humans and animals in cellular form. The release of animal stem cells and embryos, or even more modest scientific experiments, violate the dignity of the human being and blur species boundaries. Research into interspecies interactions is it the next step in understanding human nature and curing disease, or is it a slippery slope towards creating new species and causing ethical dilemmas?
Ensuring access to wireless and spectrum
Across developed and developing nations, mobile wireless technology is having a profound impact on society. We are interacting with these technologies actively in unprecedented ways in communication, in conducting business, in learning, in forming relationships, in navigation, and in entertainment. As a result, government organizations increasingly rely on the radio spectrum to carry out their mission critical tasks. A convergence between advances in wireless technology and societal needs presents many challenges and opportunities in terms of making the most effective use of As a result, we must now have a policy discussion about how to make the most effective use of this precious resource, and how to close the digital divide for underserved populations (rural, low-income, developing areas).
Data collection and privacy
Are we aware of the huge amounts of data we give to commercial entities every time we use social media, shop with a store discount card, or purchase goods online? In an age when microprocessors and permanent memory are affordable technology, we must be open to thinking about what types of information we should collect and retain. Would it make sense to create diabetic insulin implants that could alert your doctor or insurance provider when you make poor diet choices, and should that decision make you ineligible for certain kinds of Would it be a good idea if cars were equipped with sensors that monitored speed and other measures of driving quality? Should the data from these sensors be made available to the authorities after crashes? In order to bridge the gap between data collection and meaningful outcomes, appropriate policy discussion is required.
It is already possible to enhance your health by using pharmaceuticals, surgery, mechanical and neurological techniques. Yet this same kind of enhancement can be used to enhance the human biological function beyond what is expected in a society. How do we know what is therapy and what is In today’s world, when so many people lack access to basic therapeutic medicine, how can humans justify enhancing their bodies?