Has science come too far?
By: Matthew Indge, Brett Barrett and Shelby Jaramillo
The word part
Since mankind’s birth, science and research have always been performed. But the struggle comes in balancing scientific gains with ethical research and development. We believe science shouldn’t be limited so long as there is minimum cost, be it in money or resources, for maximum gain.
The first essay in the journal is about stem cells and their research. Because stem cells are so good at healing severe disabilities, they are a potentially incredible tool. However many cry foul on stem cells because they are a byproduct of abortion, a very sensitive issue in politics. Because of both the controversy of their acquisition as well as ethical reasons, research has began on different ways to obtain stem cells from other sources, including cloning.”Therapeutic cloning (also called embryo cloning) is the creation of embryos for use in biomedical research. The objective of therapeutic cloning is not to create clones but to obtain stem cells.” This seems like the proper course of science in our opinion. The process of refining a tool has begun, and with time, many benefits will come from branching research. Hopefully someday all stem cells can be taken from a better source.
The second essay is on artificial intelligence, which will be referred to as AI from here on out. The dangers of artificial intelligence are usually represented with violent riots and uprising from machines, however there is another threat, which is far more imminent. “By definition a fully autonomous system is one that we have no control over.”(From Matt’s paper)AI allows for automation. What might be automated varies, but the first thing to usually be automated is labor. Suppose commercial AIs start to sell. A single purchase of an ai that can run an entire McDonald’s will make human employees unnecessary, except for perhaps repairs. If this is done across the country, how many countless people may be put out of work? While AIs may be helpful, they could also cripple the working class. We believe that alone is reason enough to be wary of advancement in this field.
The third essay is about cloning. Much like stem cells, cloning could have vast medical uses. However this is a very hot topic when speaking in ethics. Would only organs be cloned, or would entire people be cloned? Currently, research is headed towards only cloning organs and potentially fetuses. This provides personal organs for those who need them, and a source of stem cells. This combination could bring humanity into a new era of medicine. Whether or not the same people who oppose stem cells from abortions will have the same issue with cloned fetal tissue is unknown, but cloning organs does not harm anyone, and could vastly improve quality of life across the country.
The common theme across our papers is that science should always be balanced with the costs of its development. Science is meant to advance humanity forward, but if we’re using more than we get to move forward, we’re really stepping backwards.