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Time to Dismiss the Stanford Prison Experiment? – Inside Higher Ed (Greg Toppo | June 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 24, 2018
 

The 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment has long been considered a window into the horrors ordinary people can inflict on one another, but new interviews with participants and reconsideration of archival records shed more light on the findings

The Stanford Prison Experiment is often (too often) used to justify why research ethics review arrangements exist. The use of scandal egregious ethical lapses are fundamentally flawed – because they implicitly reinforce the message that the role of review is to protect participants from dangers a reckless researcher might fail to recognise. This discussion piece suggests there is another reason not to use it: The research design might have been seriously flawed and the conclusions it reached possibly false.

Since its inception nearly 47 years ago, the Stanford Prison Experiment has become a kind of grim psychological touchstone, an object lesson in humans’ hidden ability to act sadistically — or submissively — as social conditions permit.
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Along with Yale University researcher Stanley Milgram’s 1960s experiments on human cruelty, the August 1971 experiment has captured Americans’ imaginations for nearly half a century. It is a long-standing staple of psychology and social science textbooks and has been invoked to explain horrors as wide-ranging as the Holocaust, the My Lai massacre and the Abu Ghraib prisoner-torture scandal.
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But new interviews with participants and reconsideration of archival records are shedding new light on the experiment, questioning a few of its bedrock assumptions about human behavior.

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‘Silicon Valley is ethically lost’: Google grapples with reaction to its new ‘horrifying’ and uncanny AI tech – Financial Post (Mark Bergen | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 8, 2018
 

The most talked-about, futuristic product from Google’s developer show isn’t even finished yet — and Google hasn’t agreed how to do it.

After watching the demo you might be left wondering: How long until large-scale telephone surveys are conducted by digital assistants? How should we handle disclosure/deception? Should the assistant be named in the research output?

At its I/O conference on Tuesday, Alphabet Inc.’s Google previewed Duplex, an experimental service that lets its voice-based digital assistant book appointments on its own. It was part of a slate of features, such as automated writing in emails, where Google touted how its artificial intelligence technology saves people time and effort. In a demonstration on stage, the Google Assistant spoke with a hair salon receptionist, mimicking the “ums” and “hmms” pauses of human speech. In another demo, it chatted with a restaurant employee to book a table. The audience of software coders cheered.
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Outside the Google technology bubble, critics pounced. The company is placing robots in conversations with humans, without those people realizing. The obvious question soon followed: Should AI software that’s smart enough to trick humans be forced to disclose itself. Google executives don’t have a clear answer yet. Duplex emerged at a sensitive time for technology companies, and the feature hasn’t helped alleviate questions about their growing power over data, automation software and the consequences for privacy and work.
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(US) ‘Right-to-try’ bill passes Congress – CNN (Michael Nedelman and Jacqueline Howard | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 3, 2018
 

With a House of Representatives vote Tuesday, Congress passed legislation that could give terminally ill patients a way to independently seek drugs that are still experimental and not fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Despite being lauded by some politicians (including subsequent to this story President Trump) this law is likely to concern most people involved in human research ethics (it certainly does concern us).

The House voted 250-169 in favor of the bill, which the Senate passed in August. The bill will now be sent to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.
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“This is an extraordinarily great day,” Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, one of the original cosponsors of the bill, said in a press conference after the event. Donnelly said he met with Vice President Mike Pence a few weeks ago and urged him to push for a House vote on the bill.
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Facebook’s New Data Restrictions Will Handcuff Even Honest Researchers – Wired (Robbie Gonzalez | March 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 24, 2018
 

LAST WEEK, WHEN news broke (again) that Cambridge Analytica had allegedly misused 50 million Facebook users’ data, it immediately raised a difficult question: When a company possesses information about some 2 billion people, is its chief obligation to share that information, or protect it?

It appears the changes by Facebook will make it harder for researchers, but we suspect the wider community will be completely fine with that.

The answer’s not as obvious as you might think. To social and computer scientists, Facebook is arguably the most valuable data repository on earth. Insight into many of the most pressing issues of our time, from social media’s role in political processes to technology’s impact on individual wellbeing, could well reside on the social network’s servers—a fact that has led many scientists and policymakers to call for more permeable borders between public researchers and Facebook’s private data hoard.
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But then Cambridge Analytica happened, and gave a lot of researchers a scare: Tapping into Facebook’s data is already more onerous than many of them would like. How would the company’s reaction to one of its most devastating public disasters to date affect their access going forward?
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