Ethics

This commemorative sculpture by an Edo artist is one of 29 objects the Smithsonian is proposing to repatriate to Nigeria. 

Why the Smithsonian Adopted a New Policy on Ethical Collecting

For more than a century, museum artifacts were acquired in ways we no longer find acceptable. How can we repair the damage?

A typical Making the Road trip to South Africa includes a visit to Soweto, a township outside of Johannesburg that was the site of anti-apartheid organizing and violence for years.

Tourism Gets a Refresh in the Hands of Activists Seeking to Decolonize the Industry

Operators practicing 'solidarity tourism' push back against travel that can be environmentally and socially destructive

The William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson, Mississippi

Mississippi Returns Hundreds of Native Americans' Remains to Chickasaw Nation

Decades after their bones were placed in storage, the state has repatriated the remains of 403 Indigenous ancestors

Jennifer Doudna, a Nobel Prize recipient for her work on the gene-editing tool CRISPR, and the "life sciences revolution" are the dual subjects of Walter Isaacson's latest biography.

How Scientist Jennifer Doudna Is Leading the Next Technological Revolution

A new book from Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson offers an incisive portrait of the gene editing field that is changing modern medicine

The new A.I. systems are more complex than this bot photographed in 2005.

New Research

Human Interruption Slows Down Military Robots in Simulations

A.I. can make decisions faster than humans, raising a myriad of ethical questions when applied to weapons systems

A "living machine" containing frog stem cells in a new configuration designed by a computer algorithm. Parts shown in green are made up of frog skin cells, while parts in red are frog heart cells.

Scientists Assemble Frog Stem Cells Into First 'Living Machines'

The so-called 'xenobots' could replace traditional metal or plastic robots without polluting the planet, but they raise ethical questions

Chinese authorities found that He's team falsified regulatory paperwork.

Scientist Behind First CRISPR-Modified Babies Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

He Jiankui faced backlash immediately after announcing the twins’ birth late last year

Microneedle patches, like this one that measures about a centimeter across, could be used to deliver nanoparticles when pressed to the skin for two minutes.

This Spiky Patch Could Invisibly Record Vaccination History Under Skin

But the technology raise several ethical concerns that could stymie its progress

People are maybe good?

People Are Surprisingly Honest About Returning Lost Wallets

A large new study has found that unwitting subjects were more likely to report a lost wallet as the amount of money inside increased

Speech2Face has its limitations, including a gender bias that led it to associate higher-pitched voices with women and lower-pitched ones with men

Artificial Intelligence Generates Humans’ Faces Based on Their Voices

In trials, the algorithm successfully pinpointed speakers’ gender, race and age

New Research

China's ‘CRISPR Babies’ May Be More Likely to Die Young

The mutation that was intended to make them resistant to H.I.V. has now been linked to a shorter life expectancy

"I certainly see ourselves moving in a direction where conception through sex will come to be seen as natural, yet dangerous," says Metzl.

How To Prepare for a Future of Gene-Edited Babies—Because It's Coming

In a new book, futurist Jamie Metzl considers the ethical questions we need to ask in order to navigate the realities of human genetic engineering

New Research

Scientists Revived Cells in Dead Pig Brains

The accomplishment challenges how we ethically, legally and philosophically define death

Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee died yesterday at age 95.

A Letter to Stan Lee, Comic Book Legend, Written by One of His Biggest Fans

Movie producer and instructor Michael Uslan eulogizes his hero and mentor, whose superheroes taught him countless life lessons

Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine by Kadir Nelson (detail, above) is on view at the National Portrait Gallery through November 4, 2018.

Women Who Shaped History

Famed for “Immortal” Cells, Henrietta Lacks is Immortalized in Portraiture

Lacks's cells gave rise to medical miracles, but ethical questions of propriety and ownership continue to swirl

The magazine taught its readers to never swallow what they’re served.

In Its Heyday, Mad Magazine Was a Lot More Than Silly Jokes

The publication taught its readers how to be healthy skeptics—a lesson that media consumers need more today than ever

Researchers have analyzed the DNA of this mummified specimen from Atacama region of Chile.

Chilean Government Investigates Whether the Atacama Mummy Was Illegally Exhumed

Outraged at the recent DNA analysis of the child, the Chilean science community calls for ethical evaluations of the work

Decisions made by engineers today will determine how all cars drive.

The Ethical Challenges Self-Driving Cars Will Face Every Day

The biggest ethical quandaries for self-driving cars arise in mundane situations, not when crashes are unavoidable

Predictive policing is built around algorithms that identify potential crime hotspots..

Artificial Intelligence Is Now Used to Predict Crime. But Is It Biased?

The software is supposed to make policing more fair and accountable. But critics say it still has a way to go.

Scientists Successfully Clone Monkeys, Breaking New Ground in a Controversial Field

It is the first time that scientists have successfully cloned primates using a method known as somatic cell nuclear transfer

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