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Social Issue Essay

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Social Issues Essay Ch 10 Social Issues Q1 In this essay I will be discussing a range of social issues related to the development and research of controversial scientific developments, and considering the extent of responsibility - if any - that scientific researchers have towards how their results are used in today's world. I will be discussing research in the field of nuclear power, genetic engineering and artificial intelligence, and providing a range of different viewpoints before arriving at my conclusion. I would like to begin by explaining why I have termed the above developments as controversial. Whether one's opinion of the relevant subject is based on a range of ethical theories such as consequence-based or character-based ethics, it is clear that the above subject matter inevitably leads to deep thought provocation and strong belief in either side of the relevant argument. The subject of nuclear power is one such subject which is has been in the news of recent years and has stirred up a great deal of controversy with regards to that nuclear power being used as weapons of mass destruction by Iran1 (BBC News Online, 2006). ...read more.


Jack Scarisbrick, Anti-Abortion group Life, 1998). While the methods used in this particular research - using tissue from aborted foetuses - may fly in the face of deeply-seeded religious and moral views, the clear benefits of the research cannot be reputed and the scientists should be commended for their work. Just because their research is controversial, does not mean that responsibility for these so-called immoral acts should be placed on them when their intention is to benefit the health of people worldwide. The subject of artificial intelligence is an equally interesting issue, raising concerns that the human race will become less emotional and consequence-based and more contract-based in its ethical reasoning. Since Alan Turing first published research into the issue over fifty years ago in 19504 (Brookshear, 2007, p456), whereby computers could be developed to "think" in a pre-programmed and logical manner similar to humans, there have been many new developments by researchers. ...read more.


P1). The ability, for example, to prevent inherited diseases and conditions from being passed down to a child is of great interest for the health of the human race, and just because some parents would like to choose the sex of their babies 8 (Time, 1999, P2) do not mean that scientists should be held responsible for the actions of few. Equally with artificial intelligence, continual research I feel is very important although as Prof. Nigel Shadbolt was quoted as say, they should ensure that an off switch of types is built in so that "...the human designers, understand the ethical implications and how we build the override and safety into these systems" 9 (The Naked Scientists, 2007). Overall I would like to conclude by saying categorically that I do not believe the scientists should be held responsible for their results, or the actions of few in regards to issues on grounds of morality or world safety. The scientists only conduct the crucial research, it is up to the world as to how their work is implemented. ...read more.

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