Ethics in the News – Ukraine Crisis and Media Ethics, College in the Metaverse, Science’s Racial Bias, Code for Ethical Art Collecting, & More

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Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Presents a Moral Crisis, Not Just a Military One
“The West cannot afford a further humanitarian fumble in the Ukraine crisis. Autocrats around the world claim that Western commitment to human rights and rule of law is a hypocritical sham. They must be proved wrong.”

Media and Journalism

Ukraine raises moral question of war as a spectator event
“The rise of social media has not only changed how we watch war but also how that coverage is controlled. Scroll through Twitter, and you can watch civilian-filmed scenes on the ground in Ukraine, whether it’s a child screaming in terror at a nearby explosion or a fiery conflagration in the night sky or a Ukrainian woman shouting at a Russian soldier. But those rawer images are mixed with a flood of video-misinformation, particularly prevalent on TikTok, where videos from other times and places are relabeled as live coverage from Ukraine.”

Media Malpractice and Information War in Ukraine
“[The Western media’s] double standard is all the more apparent in how prominent journalists have discussed the war. CBS reporter Charlie D’Agata apologized after describing Ukraine as “civilized” compared to places like Iraq or Afghanistan, but he is far from alone. Others have similarly expressed shock that a war could happen outside a “third world nation” to people who “seem so like us.” In response to such examples, the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association released a statement condemning “orientalist and racist” rhetoric and demanded that newsrooms apply the same consideration to all victims of war.”

Why Zelenskyy’s ‘selfie videos’ are helping Ukraine win the PR war against Russia
“As an expert in digital social media platforms, I believe there are three reasons Zelenskyy’s videos instantly made the war in Ukraine deeply personal and resonant for so many[: an authentic message, connecting with the audience, immediacy of the message.]”

AI and Technology

AI, Robotics And Ethics: Harnessing The Power Of Intelligent Machines To Benefit Humans
“Though very little actual policy has been produced, there have been some notable beginnings. A 2019 EU policy document from the Center for Data Innovation posited that “Trustworthy AI” should be lawful, ethical and technically resilient, and spelled out the requirements to meet those objectives: human oversight, technical robustness, privacy and data governance, transparency, fairness, well-being, and accountability. This has since been codified into proposed legislation.”

College could take place in the metaverse, but these problems must be overcome first
“Will the metaverse bring better news for higher education? Potentially. But to build flourishing universities in the metaverse, computer engineers, higher education leaders and policymakers will have to solve some difficult problems. Here are five challenges that I view as the most urgent to address.”

The Quiet Way Advertisers Are Tracking Your Browsing
“Creepy cookies that track all your online activity are (slowly) being eradicated. In recent years major web browsers, including Safari and Firefox, have restricted the practice. Even Chrome has realized that cookies present a privacy nightmare. But stopping them ends only one kind of online tracking—others are arguably worse.”

The tech industry talks about boosting diversity, but research shows little improvement
“It looks to us as though the recipe for increasing diversity in the tech sector is at least in part to increase diversity at the managerial level. It also looks like increased diversity is good for business, although it is also possible that well-run firms hire more diverse labor forces. Unfortunately, this combination is not widespread. Dramatic improvements in employment diversity are confined to only 10% of firms.”

Politics

There’s finally momentum to stop stock trading in Congress
“There’s wide agreement among voters that legislators should be banned from trading stocks while in Congress, since their position can give them access to information about companies and industries that ordinary people don’t have. While there are some policies in place to at least provide transparency about how legislators are making money from the stock market, there aren’t significant punishments for violating those rules.”

Science

Africa’s Oldest DNA Is Helping Address Science’s Racial Bias
“A Siberian cave yielded up a bone that DNA analysis revealed belonged to a woman from 90,000 years ago who was half Neanderthal and half Denisovan. Another skeleton from the same cave gave us Neanderthal DNA from 120,000 years ago. But all of this DNA has something in common: Almost all of it comes from Europe and Asia. The oldest DNA from sub-Saharan Africa—the place where the whole human story began—dates back to less than 10,000 years ago. Now a new discovery of the oldest African DNA is pushing back against this bias, and in the process revealing how our ancestors lived and moved around the continent tens of thousands of years ago.”

The Manhattan Project Shows Scientists’ Moral and Ethical Responsibilities
“The Manhattan Project demonstrates that physicists must wrestle with the tight bonds of our research with national security. As civilian funding in science shrinks, the incentive to pursue support from the military grows… I think if most physicists were asked to build a weapon, they would object. But if the military meets you on your own terms, offering to fund your basic research, the decision is difficult.”

Meat Consumption

1 in 10 Americans say they don’t eat meat – a growing share of the population
“Until fairly recently most people who said they avoided eating meat cited religious and cultural beliefs, animal welfare concerns and personal health precautions. Newer motives have arisen. Environmental activists urge Americans to shun meat. And adopting a vegan diet is increasingly fashionable because of the growing list of celebrities such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Stevie Wonder and Natalie Portman who say they refrain from eating animal products.”

Art

A New Code for Ethical Collecting Calls on the Art Market to Do Better by Transparently Working with Dealers
“Last week, the collective released the text of their efforts at the ARCO Madrid art fair. Titled Code of Conduct for Contemporary Art Collectors, the 11-page manual provides a template for collectors of all levels for ethically acquiring, exhibiting, and donating art, which was also reviewed by the group’s advisory team.”

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