Now that exams are over, I have time to reflect on the material I’ve covered over the last 4 months. From Cognitive Systems and Philosophy of Perception to Functional Programming, I’ve had an extremely varied curriculum. A strong common theme which ran through all my school work this term was the ethical practices and ramifications of scientific work: from discussions of the bioethics of genetic modification, to more abstract debates over what rights, if any, we should afford to a hypothetical True AI.
As good as this has all been, and as much as I believe that ethics should be given a more prominent place in all undergraduate science programs, one simply cannot escape the fact that when it comes to advancing the frontiers of scientific knowledge, ethics can be a big ol’ wet towel. How much more advanced would our civilization be if we weren’t guided by our silly moral principles? How many more answers would be within our grasp if we didn’t have to give so much thought to the rights or general physical well being of our fellow man?
In order to answer that hypothetical, I’ve compiled a short-list of unethical experiments which would genuinely advance our scientific knowledge: