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Science and Engineering Ethics

Benjamin Hale, Lucy McAllister
Electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing form of waste worldwide, associated with a range of environmental, health, and justice problems. Unfortunately, disposal and recycling are hindered by a tendency of consumers to resist recycling their e-waste. This backlog of un-discarded e-waste poses significant challenges for the future. This paper addresses the reasons why many people might continue to value their technological artifacts and therefore to hoard them, suggesting that many of these common explanations are deficient in some way...
May 17, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Stanislav Škapa, Marek Vochozka
The European Union's (EU) funding of electricity made of biogas that is obtained from purpose-grown plants accelerated the global boom of renewable energy two decades ago. Tens of thousands of biogas plants were built in EU farms soon after. As this specific trend toward renewable energy globally spreads, it has the potential to alter the features of agriculture in the future. Such conceptual changes are related to a variety of socio-economic and environmental implications that manifest itself over a large time scale...
May 16, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Mohammad Hosseini, Luca Consoli, H A E Zwart, Mariette A van den Hoven
Much has been said about the need for improving the current definitions of scientific authorship, but an aspect that is often overlooked is how to formulate and communicate these definitions to ensure that they are comprehensible and useful for researchers, notably researchers active in international research consortia. In light of a rapid increase in international collaborations within natural sciences, this article uses authorship of this branch of sciences as an example and provides suggestions to improve the comprehensibility of the definitions of authorship in natural sciences...
April 23, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Steven Umbrello
Safe-by-design (SBD) frameworks for the development of emerging technologies have become an ever more popular means by which scholars argue that transformative emerging technologies can safely incorporate human values. One such popular SBD methodology is called value sensitive design (VSD). A central tenet of this design methodology is to investigate stakeholder values and design those values into technologies during early stage research and development. To accomplish this, the VSD framework mandates that designers consult the philosophical and ethical literature to best determine how to weigh moral trade-offs...
April 10, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Geerten van de Kaa, Jafar Rezaei, Behnam Taebi, Ibo van de Poel, Abhilash Kizhakenath
Proactively including the ethical and societal issues of new technologies could have a positive effect on their acceptance. These issues could be captured in terms of values. In the literature, the values stakeholders deem important for the development of technology have often been identified. However, the relative ranking of these values in relation to each other have not been studied often. The best worst method is proposed as a possible method to determine the weights of values, hence it is used in an evaluative fashion...
April 8, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Ilaria Ampollini, Massimiano Bucchi
Most studies of research integrity in the general media focus on the coverage of specific cases of misconduct. This paper tries to provide a more general, long-term perspective by analysing media discourse about research integrity and related themes in the Italian and United Kingdom daily press from 2000 to 2016. The results, based on a corpus of 853 articles, show that media coverage largely mirrors debates about integrity and misconduct. In fact, salient themes in the news include the importance to overcome the so-called "rotten apple" paradigm; the key role of public trust in science; and the need to address flaws in the peer-review system...
April 3, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Rebecca Davnall
Questions of what a self-driving car ought to do if it encounters a situation analogous to the 'trolley problem' have dominated recent discussion of the ethics of self-driving cars. This paper argues that this interest is misplaced. If a trolley-style dilemma situation actually occurs, given the limits on what information will be available to the car, the dynamics of braking and tyre traction determine that, irrespective of outcome, it is always least risky for the car to brake in a straight line rather than swerve...
April 1, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Rita Vasconcellos Oliveira
The rapid growth of human population and associated industrialisation creates strains on resources and climate. One way to understand the impact of human activity is to quantify the total environmental pressures by measuring the 'footprint'. Footprints account for the total direct and/or indirect effects of a product or a consumption activity, which may be related to e.g. carbon, water or land use, and can be seen as a proxy for environmental responsibility. Footprints shape climate and resource debates, especially concerning environmental strategies...
March 28, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Taylor Stone, Filippo Santoni de Sio, Pieter E Vermaas
This paper proposes that autonomous vehicles should be designed to reduce light pollution. In support of this specific proposal, a moral assessment of autonomous vehicles more comprehensive than the dilemmatic life-and-death questions of trolley problem-style situations is presented. The paper therefore consists of two interrelated arguments. The first is that autonomous vehicles are currently still a technology in development, and not one that has acquired its definitive shape, meaning the design of both the vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure is open-ended...
March 22, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Lily Eva Frank
Moral bioenhancement, nudge-designed environments, and ambient persuasive technologies may help people behave more consistently with their deeply held moral convictions. Alternatively, they may aid people in overcoming cognitive and affective limitations that prevent them from appreciating a situation's moral dimensions. Or they may simply make it easier for them to make the morally right choice by helping them to overcome sources of weakness of will. This paper makes two assumptions. First, technologies to improve people's moral capacities are realizable...
March 21, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Steffen Steinert, Orsolya Friedrich
Ethical issues concerning brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have already received a considerable amount of attention. However, one particular form of BCI has not received the attention that it deserves: Affective BCIs that allow for the detection and stimulation of affective states. This paper brings the ethical issues of affective BCIs in sharper focus. The paper briefly reviews recent applications of affective BCIs and considers ethical issues that arise from these applications. Ethical issues that affective BCIs share with other neurotechnologies are presented and ethical concerns that are specific to affective BCIs are identified and discussed...
March 13, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Emmanuel Kingsford Owusu, Albert P C Chan, Ming Shan, Erika Pärn
Construction process stages are argued to be vulnerable to the prevalence of corrupt practices. However, the validity of this argument has not been empirically explored in the extant literature of construction management. Therefore, this study examines the stages of the construction process susceptibility to corruption and its most prominent forms of corrupt activities (within the respective stages). A total of forty-four project-related professionals were involved in an expert survey to assess such susceptibilities and the criticality of the identified corrupt activities at each stage...
March 13, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Henri-Corto Stoeklé, Mauro Turrini, Philipe Charlier, Jean-François Deleuze, Christian Hervé, Guillaume Vogt
Networks for the exchange and/or sharing of genetic data are developing in many countries. We focus here on the situations in the US and France. We highlight some recent and remarkable differences between these two countries concerning the mode of access to, and the storage and use of genetic data, particularly as concerns two-sided markets and dynamic consent or dynamic electronic informed consent (e-IC). This brief overview suggests that, even though the organization and function of these two-sided markets remain open to criticism, dynamic e-IC should be more widely used, especially in France, if only to determine its real effectiveness...
March 12, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Geoff Keeling
This paper argues against the view that trolley cases are of little or no relevance to the ethics of automated vehicles. Four arguments for this view are outlined and rejected: the Not Going to Happen Argument, the Moral Difference Argument, the Impossible Deliberation Argument and the Wrong Question Argument. In making clear where these arguments go wrong, a positive account is developed of how trolley cases can inform the ethics of automated vehicles.
March 4, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Noor Munirah Isa, Nurul Atiqah Zulkifli, Saadan Man
The recent development of CRISPR/Cas9 technology has rekindled the ethical debate concerning human germline modification that has begun decades ago. This inexpensive technology shows tremendous promise in disease prevention strategies, while raising complex ethical concerns about safety and efficacy of the technology, human dignity, tampering with God's creation, and human genetic enhancement. Germline gene editing may result in heritable changes in the human genome, therefore the question of whether it should be allowed requires deep and careful discussion from various perspectives...
March 4, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Alison Kretser, Delia Murphy, Stefano Bertuzzi, Todd Abraham, David B Allison, Kathryn J Boor, Johanna Dwyer, Andrea Grantham, Linda J Harris, Rachelle Hollander, Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Sarah Rovito, Dorothea Vafiadis, Catherine Woteki, Jessica Wyndham, Rickey Yada
A Scientific Integrity Consortium developed a set of recommended principles and best practices that can be used broadly across scientific disciplines as a mechanism for consensus on scientific integrity standards and to better equip scientists to operate in a rapidly changing research environment. The two principles that represent the umbrella under which scientific processes should operate are as follows: (1) Foster a culture of integrity in the scientific process. (2) Evidence-based policy interests may have legitimate roles to play in influencing aspects of the research process, but those roles should not interfere with scientific integrity...
February 27, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Gilda Barabino, Monique Frize, Fatimah Ibrahim, Eleni Kaldoudi, Lenka Lhotska, Loredana Marcu, Magdalena Stoeva, Virginia Tsapaki, Eva Bezak
The aim of this article is to offer a view of the current status of women in medical physics and biomedical engineering, while focusing on solutions towards gender balance and providing examples of current activities carried out at national and international levels. The International Union of Physical and Engineering Scientists in Medicine is committed to advancing women in science and health and has several initiatives overseen by the Women in Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering Task Group. Some of the main strategies proposed by the Task Group to attain gender balance are: (a) identify and promote female role models that achieve successful work-life balance, (b) establish programs to develop female leaders, (c) create opportunities for females to increase the international visibility within the scientific community, and (d) establish archives and databases of women in STEM...
February 26, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Charles C Verharen
In the twenty-first century, Stephen Hawking proclaimed the death of philosophy. Only science can address philosophy's perennial questions about human values. The essay first examines Nietzsche's nineteenth century view to the contrary that philosophy alone can create values. A critique of Nietzsche's contention that philosophy rather than science is competent to judge values follows. The essay then analyzes Edward O. Wilson's claim that his scientific research provides empirically-based answers to philosophy's questions about human values...
February 26, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Shan Jing, Neelke Doorn
Moral responsibility is one of the core concepts in engineering ethics and consequently in most engineering ethics education. Yet, despite a growing awareness that engineers should be trained to become more sensitive to cultural differences, most engineering ethics education is still based on Western approaches. In this article, we discuss the notion of responsibility in Confucianism and explore what a Confucian perspective could add to the existing engineering ethics literature. To do so, we analyse the Citicorp case, a widely discussed case in the existing engineering ethics literature, from a Confucian perspective...
February 26, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
Thomas C King, Nikita Aggarwal, Mariarosaria Taddeo, Luciano Floridi
Artificial intelligence (AI) research and regulation seek to balance the benefits of innovation against any potential harms and disruption. However, one unintended consequence of the recent surge in AI research is the potential re-orientation of AI technologies to facilitate criminal acts, term in this article AI-Crime (AIC). AIC is theoretically feasible thanks to published experiments in automating fraud targeted at social media users, as well as demonstrations of AI-driven manipulation of simulated markets...
February 14, 2019: Science and Engineering Ethics
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