Science and Engineering Ethics
Springer Science+Business Media
About: Science and Engineering Ethics is an academic journal published by Springer Science+Business Media. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Philosophy of science & Research ethics. It has an ISSN identifier of 1353-3452. Over the lifetime, 2138 publications have been published receiving 41704 citations.
Topics: Philosophy of science, Research ethics, Scientific misconduct, Information ethics, Social responsibility
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: Present and anticipated methods for cognitive enhancement create challenges for public policy and regulation and raise a range of ethical issues.
Abstract: Cognitive enhancement takes many and diverse forms. Various methods of cognitive enhancement have implications for the near future. At the same time, these technologies raise a range of ethical issues. For example, they interact with notions of authenticity, the good life, and the role of medicine in our lives. Present and anticipated methods for cognitive enhancement also create challenges for public policy and regulation.
TL;DR: This article systematically and comprehensively analyses academic literature concerning the ethical implications of Big Data, providing a watershed for future ethical investigations and regulations and identifies eleven themes that provide a thorough critical framework to guide ethical assessment and governance of emerging Big Data practices.
Abstract: The capacity to collect and analyse data is growing exponentially. Referred to as ‘Big Data’, this scientific, social and technological trend has helped create destabilising amounts of information, which can challenge accepted social and ethical norms. Big Data remains a fuzzy idea, emerging across social, scientific, and business contexts sometimes seemingly related only by the gigantic size of the datasets being considered. As is often the case with the cutting edge of scientific and technological progress, understanding of the ethical implications of Big Data lags behind. In order to bridge such a gap, this article systematically and comprehensively analyses academic literature concerning the ethical implications of Big Data, providing a watershed for future ethical investigations and regulations. Particular attention is paid to biomedical Big Data due to the inherent sensitivity of medical information. By means of a meta-analysis of the literature, a thematic narrative is provided to guide ethicists, data scientists, regulators and other stakeholders through what is already known or hypothesised about the ethical risks of this emerging and innovative phenomenon. Five key areas of concern are identified: (1) informed consent, (2) privacy (including anonymisation and data protection), (3) ownership, (4) epistemology and objectivity, and (5) ‘Big Data Divides’ created between those who have or lack the necessary resources to analyse increasingly large datasets. Critical gaps in the treatment of these themes are identified with suggestions for future research. Six additional areas of concern are then suggested which, although related have not yet attracted extensive debate in the existing literature. It is argued that they will require much closer scrutiny in the immediate future: (6) the dangers of ignoring group-level ethical harms; (7) the importance of epistemology in assessing the ethics of Big Data; (8) the changing nature of fiduciary relationships that become increasingly data saturated; (9) the need to distinguish between ‘academic’ and ‘commercial’ Big Data practices in terms of potential harm to data subjects; (10) future problems with ownership of intellectual property generated from analysis of aggregated datasets; and (11) the difficulty of providing meaningful access rights to individual data subjects that lack necessary resources. Considered together, these eleven themes provide a thorough critical framework to guide ethical assessment and governance of emerging Big Data practices.
TL;DR: The widespread adoption and use of social media by members of the public throughout the world heralds a new age in which it is imperative that emergency managers adapt their working practices to the challenge and potential of this development, but they must heed the ethical warnings and ensure that social media are not abused or misused when crises and emergencies occur.
Abstract: This paper reviews the actual and potential use of social media in emergency, disaster and crisis situations. This is a field that has generated intense interest. It is characterised by a burgeoning but small and very recent literature. In the emergencies field, social media (blogs, messaging, sites such as Facebook, wikis and so on) are used in seven different ways: listening to public debate, monitoring situations, extending emergency response and management, crowd-sourcing and collaborative development, creating social cohesion, furthering causes (including charitable donation) and enhancing research. Appreciation of the positive side of social media is balanced by their potential for negative developments, such as disseminating rumours, undermining authority and promoting terrorist acts. This leads to an examination of the ethics of social media usage in crisis situations. Despite some clearly identifiable risks, for example regarding the violation of privacy, it appears that public consensus on ethics will tend to override unscrupulous attempts to subvert the media. Moreover, social media are a robust means of exposing corruption and malpractice. In synthesis, the widespread adoption and use of social media by members of the public throughout the world heralds a new age in which it is imperative that emergency managers adapt their working practices to the challenge and potential of this development. At the same time, they must heed the ethical warnings and ensure that social media are not abused or misused when crises and emergencies occur.
TL;DR: Focus-group discussions with 51 mid- and early-career scientists reveal a dark side of competition in science that contributes to strategic game-playing in science, a decline in free and open sharing of information and methods, and sabotage of others’ ability to use one’s work.
Abstract: Competition among scientists for funding, positions and prestige, among other things, is often seen as a salutary driving force in U.S. science. Its effects on scientists, their work and their relationships are seldom considered. Focus-group discussions with 51 mid- and early-career scientists, on which this study is based, reveal a dark side of competition in science. According to these scientists, com- petition contributes to strategic game-playing in science, a decline in free and open sharing of information and methods, sabotage of others' ability to use one's work, interference with peer-review processes, deformation of relationships, and careless or questionable research conduct. When competition is pervasive, such effects may jeopardize the progress, efficiency and integrity of science.
TL;DR: It is concluded that the reports address adequately various ethical, social, and economic topics, but come short of providing an overarching political vision and long-term strategy for the development of a ‘good AI society’.
Abstract: In October 2016, the White House, the European Parliament, and the UK House of Commons each issued a report outlining their visions on how to prepare society for the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI). In this article, we provide a comparative assessment of these three reports in order to facilitate the design of policies favourable to the development of a ‘good AI society’. To do so, we examine how each report addresses the following three topics: (a) the development of a ‘good AI society’; (b) the role and responsibility of the government, the private sector, and the research community (including academia) in pursuing such a development; and (c) where the recommendations to support such a development may be in need of improvement. Our analysis concludes that the reports address adequately various ethical, social, and economic topics, but come short of providing an overarching political vision and long-term strategy for the development of a ‘good AI society’. In order to contribute to fill this gap, in the conclusion we suggest a two-pronged approach.