Ethics in the News: ChatGPT, Psychedelics, and Research

Science and Research

How to fold Indigenous ethics into psychedelics studies

“More recently, psychedelics have exploded onto the stage of Western science. Clinical trials of these substances in the past 15 years have produced remarkable results in the treatment of depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, and end-of-life anxiety. Media buzz has generated a rush to legalize their therapeutic use, catapulting the global psychedelic drugs market from $3.8 billion in 2020 to an estimated $11.82 billion by 2029. But both Native and non-Native critics say the industry is ignoring the emotional, cultural, and ecological harms it is causing the Indigenous peoples who originated psychedelic medicine.”

In wake of gene-edited baby scandal, China sets new ethics rules for human studies

“Many researchers welcome the new regulations, which set requirements for ethics reviews of research involving humans and human materials such as tissue, fertilized eggs, and embryos. The new rules extensively revise regulations adopted in 2016 and aim to close loopholes exposed by biophysicist He Jiankui in 2018 when he claimed his team had made heritable alterations to the DNA of human embryos that were later born as twin girls. He spent 3 years in prison for conducting “illegal medical practices.”

Why the ethics of octopus farming are so troubling

“Octopuses can pile on a staggering 5% of their body weight in a day which makes them an appealing prospect for aquaculture, though they are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity. Nueva Pescanova claims to have made an important scientific breakthrough, however, which will allow them to raise successive generations of Octopus vulgaris, otherwise known as the Atlantic common octopus. The firm argues that farming octopus will reduce fishing methods such as sea-bed trawling, for example and ensure a supply of “marine-based food” while also “relieving pressure on wild fishing grounds.”

Experts stress upon ethics, use of simple language for science in Hyderabad

“He said plagiarism has to be avoided and urged scientists to give citations and acknowledge the work of other researchers. He elaborated on ethics that included sharing facilities, conducting experiments that involve humans and animals, the environment, the responsibility of authors and referees, among other things.”

Technology and Privacy

ChatGPT has many uses. Experts explore what this means for healthcare and medical research

“Incorporating this sophisticated chatbot in patient care and medical research raises a number of ethical concerns. Using it could lead to unintended and unwelcome consequences. These concerns relate to confidentiality, consent, quality of care, reliability and inequity.”

Your brain may not be private much longer

“Yet Farahany is no Luddite: She believes we should be free to embrace neurotechnology if we choose — but only if we also update our laws so we can reap its benefits without courting its risks. She argues that we need to revamp human rights law with a focus on protecting our cognitive liberty — the right to self-determination over our brains, our thoughts, our inner world.”

Why We Prefer Some Privacy Nudge Over Others

“Choice architecture should focus on transparency. An action can be considered manipulative if it is not transparent. It can be stated that individuals should be informed about such interventions in order to preserve their autonomy and to protect them from abuse by nudges. Accordingly, nudges should be designed in a way that it is possible for everyone who is paying attention to notice the nudge and the intention of the choice architecture.”

Researchers Discuss Implications of Using AI to Address Mental Health at Harvard Law School Webinar

“Moore spoke next on the report’s lack of coverage of socioeconomic disparities exacerbated by AI in what she described as the Global South and the Global North. Looking towards the future, she stressed the importance of ethnographic exploration in the Global South in ‘postcolonial computing, decolonial computing, and data extractivism.’”


Drew University Brings Care Ethics and Theory to Medical and Health Professions

“Providing quality care is often overlooked as a standard in providing exceptional healthcare in today’s world. Care is everywhere, but the pandemic showed care can be challenging. Care and caregiving are fundamental to emotional and physical well-being—for both the patient and caregiver. Drew’s first-of-its-kind Medical & Health Humanities program is one of the few U.S.-based programs that offers courses in care theory and ethics.”

Patients vs. customers: the ethics of health care as a business

“Traditional models of health care have viewed patients primarily as passive recipients of medical care, with little control over their treatment or the healthcare system as a whole. This was the paternalistic model. In recent years, however, there has been a strong shift to a more patient-centered approach, in which patients are seen as active participants in their own care and are given more control over their treatment options. Gone is parental control. And it is a good thing.”

Ethical concerns when recruiting children with cancer for research

“This study provides empirical insight into recruitment of children with cancer, from the perspectives of healthcare professionals. It also contributes to the understanding of recruitment as a relational process, where aspects of vulnerability, trust and relationship building are important, alongside meeting informational needs.”

Abortion Laws Stand Between Pregnant Texans and the Care They Need

Bhavik Kumar, who practices family medicine and is a former abortion provider, is facing similar dilemmas in Houston. “We’re now bound and gagged from actually doing what we are trained to do,” Kumar said. “The ethics and the morality of that are just absurd. There are no ethics when we have to abide by a law that is in opposition to everything we know, all of our training, all of our understanding about actually taking care of patients and providing care.”

“I’m Not Sick!”: Ethical Dilemmas With Treatment Over Objection

“Consultation-liaison psychiatrists and trainees are often consulted to assess capacity in medically admitted patients who have a history of psychiatric illness. Subsequent decisions about providing medical and psychiatric treatment over objection (TOO) may involve hospital ethics committees and legal counsel.”

Law and Politics

Politics & Ethics in the Mobilization of Social Science for National Security

“The relationship between social research and security concerns can, if left unchecked, lead to astonishingly pernicious results. This is precisely what happened at the American Psychological Association. In 2015, an extensive independent legal investigation found that senior APA executives—including its ethics officer—secretly colluded with military officials to create a watered-down ethics policy that permitted psychologists to participate in the Defense Department’s so-called enhanced interrogation program.”

Ron DeSantis hit with an ethics complaint from Trump super PAC

“It asks the commission to probe whether pro-DeSantis super PACs, his “personally lucrative book tour” and a continued wave of state-level campaign contributions, among other things, “are unlawful because they serve his personal political objectives, are in furtherance of his personal financial gain at the expense of Florida taxpayers, and are intended to influence his official decision to resign from office.”

Another Allegheny County Executive candidate calls for ethics reform in local government

“Lamb called for all candidates and public officials to sign what he called a Pledge of Good Governance that would include promises to disclose job expenses and support open meetings and transparency while not accepting gifts from people trying to exert influence.”

Roundup: Repealing Iraq War Approval; SCOTUS Has No Ethics Code

“A bill ending Iraq war authorizations has cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate and is expected to be taken up by the chamber for a final vote next week, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Federal judges are all bound by an ethics code — so why aren’t Supreme Court justices?”

House Ethics Committee Announces Investigation into George Santos

“The panel voted earlier this week to open the investigation into the embattled Republican to determine whether Santos engaged in unlawful activity related to his campaign, possible failure to disclose information to the House, violation of conflict of interest laws and violation of sexual misconduct laws, according to a statement from the committee.”

Standards of Conduct 

California Bar Could Mandate Lawyer Misconduct Reporting

“A proposed first-ever California rule requiring attorneys to report other lawyers’ misconduct to the state bar is out for comment and could be acted upon by the California Supreme Court as early as this summer.”

Georgia Supreme Court undecided on fate of appeals judge accused of ethical misconduct

“The three-member panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission in January recommended that the state high court permanently remove suspended Court of Appeals Judge Christian Coomer. The panel’s report said he violated ethics rules on how a lawyer should treat a client and improperly used campaign funds for personal expenses.”

Misconduct investigation underway after federal judge in California has 13-year-old daughter of defendant handcuffed

“The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals is investigating a misconduct allegation against a federal judge who called a 13-year-old girl out of the spectator’s gallery at her father’s supervised release revocation hearing and had her handcuffed and placed in the jury box, according to court documents.” 

‘No Hispanics’ or ‘grandmotherly types’: NY prosecutors face complaints over jury bias

“Ten current and former New York prosecutors who judges say illegally screened out potential jurors because of race or religion are facing ethics complaints that could prompt investigations or disciplinary actions. Judges have already ruled either during trial or in appeals that all 10 prosecutors broke the law. But a group of law professors is now bringing ethics complaints against the prosecutors in the hopes of holding them accountable for what they did.”


Ethisphere Announces the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies

“Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, today announced the 135 honorees representing 19 countries and 46 industries that have earned the coveted designation of World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2023. Each of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies® receives access to a new Digital Analytical Scorecard experience. It provides an overview of how the applicant scored against the World’s Most Ethical Companies honorees in key categories, and offers access to 15 key Ethics Quotient® data points, along with associated resources, in an interactive format powered by The Sphere—Ethisphere’s new Ethics and Compliance benchmarking platform.”

For ethical lessons from Silicon Valley Bank, turn to spies

“An accepted framework for making ethical judgments is absolutely necessary in the morally ambiguous world intelligence officers inhabit. The ethical responsibilities of our spies apply not just to themselves and their organization, but to all Americans. It is we who empower them, and to us, they are ultimately accountable.”

Starbucks Turns to Acting Ethics Chief After Executive Departs

“Starbucks is facing increased regulatory scrutiny as it copes with the fallout from alleged union-busting efforts involving baristas at its stores. Dozens of white-collar workers and managers at Starbucks signed an open letter protesting the company’s policies toward retail employees and a new return-to-office policy.”

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