People Are Really Great at Forgetting If Their Jeans Are Made Through Child Labour

We humans are plenty talented at seeing, hearing, and speaking no evil. But when push comes to shove, as a recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research demonstrates, we’re also great at forgetting any evil existed at all—especially if that memory loss will make our buying choices a little less guilt-ridden. Read More >>

Google Censors Gorillas Rather Then Risk Them Being Mislabelled As Black People—But Who Does That Help?

Two years ago, the object-recognition algorithm fueling Google Images told a black software engineer, Jacky Alciné, his friends were gorillas. Given the long, racist history of white people claiming the people of the African diaspora are primates instead of human beings, Alciné was predictably upset. As was his employer: Google. Read More >>

Good Luck Trying to Pronounce the Names of the American Kennel Club’s Newest Dog Breeds

The adorable and challengingly named Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen are the first breeds to be added to the American Kennel Club roster since 2016. Read More >>

Why the Law Doesn’t (and Sometimes Shouldn’t) Protect Us From the Algorithms That Rule Our Lives

Most people are aware that algorithms control what you see on Facebook or Google, but automated decision-making is increasingly being used to determine real-life outcomes as well, influencing everything from how fire departments prevent fires to how police departments prevent crime. Given how much these (often secretive) systems have come to dominate our lives, it’s time we got specific about how algorithms can hurt people. A new report seeks to do just that. Read More >>

AI Professor Details Real-World Dangers of Algorithm Bias

However quickly artificial intelligence evolves, however steadfastly it becomes embedded in our lives—in health, law enforcement, sex, etc.—it can’t outpace the biases of its creators, humans. Microsoft Researcher Kate Crawford delivered an incredible keynote speech, titled “The Trouble with Bias,” at Spain’s Neural Information Processing System Conference on Tuesday. In Crawford’s keynote, she presented a fascinating breakdown of different types of harms done by algorithmic biases. Read More >>

Unconscious Patient With ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Tattoo Causes Ethical Conundrum at Hospital

When an unresponsive patient arrived at a Florida hospital ER, the medical staff was taken aback upon discovering the words “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” tattooed onto the man’s chest—with the word “NOT” underlined and with his signature beneath it. Confused and alarmed, the medical staff chose to ignore the apparent DNR request—but not without alerting the hospital’s ethics team, who had a different take on the matter. Read More >>

This Guy Just Injected Himself With a DIY HIV Treatment on Facebook Live

Tristan Roberts sits sandwiched between two men on a couch in a bland DC apartment, with leafy, dusk-lit trees peeking out from the sheer curtains behind him. The mundanity of the setting betrays the extremity of what is about to happen next. On the elliptical glass coffee table in front of him is a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a tray holding a glass of water, several vials, and syringes. Roberts is about to inject himself with an experimental gene therapy for HIV, a DIY prototype treatment designed by three biohacker friends. The treatment had never been tested in humans. Read More >>

Why Banning Killer AI Is Easier Said Than Done

As we head deeper into the 21st century, the prospect of getting robots to do the dirty business of killing gets closer with each passing day. In Max Tegmark’s new book, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, the MIT physicist and founder of the Future of Life Institute contemplates this seemingly sci-fi possibility, weighing the potential benefits of autonomous machines in warfare with the tremendous risks. The ultimate challenge, he says, will be convincing world powers to pass on this game-changing technology. Read More >>

Unethical Breeding is Creating Serious Health Problems for German Shepherds

German Shepherds are among the most popular dog breeds in the world, but their numbers have started to decline. New research suggests the decreasing demand for German Shepherds may have something to do with the breed’s propensity for health problems—likely the result of selective breeding for cosmetic traits. Read More >>

When Will Robots Deserve Human Rights?

Films and TV shows like Blade Runner, Humans, and Westworld, where highly advanced robots have no rights, trouble our conscience. They show us that our behaviours are not just harmful to robots—they also demean and diminish us as a species. We like to think we’re better than the characters on the screen, and that when the time comes, we’ll do the right thing, and treat our intelligent machines with a little more dignity and respect. Read More >>

Over 7,000 Bodies May Be Buried Beneath Mississippi University

In what sounds like a clichéd horror movie premise, a recent investigation suggests as many as 7,000 bodies are buried across 20 acres at the Mississippi Medical Center Campus—the former site of the state’s first mental institution. Officials at the university now face the grim task of pulling 100-year-old bodies out of the ground for scientific analysis. Read More >>

Widely-Reported Study on Fish and Microbeads Might Have Been Faked

A headline grabbing-study published in Science last year that warned about the effects of plastic microbeads on larval fish is on the verge of being retracted. In a case involving missing data, shoddy research methods, and outright fabrication, it’s one of the most egregious examples of scientific fraud we’ve seen in quite some time, and a case in which there’s plenty of blame to go around. Read More >>

Report: Uber Had Yet Another Secret Tracking Program Called ‘Hell’

Uber has made a lot of questionable decisions behind closed doors, and today, yet another one emerged. According to The Information, between 2014 and 2016, Uber used secret software called “Hell” in order to track drivers from its biggest rival, Lyft. Read More >>

India and New Zealand Were Wrong to Recognise Rivers as Persons

Courts in New Zealand and India have granted legal personhood status to three rivers. The strange status is meant to protect the waters from pollution, but the measure could lead to unintended consequences, while undermining efforts to grant personhood status to living beings who actually deserve it. Read More >>

Five Major Cancer Studies Are Proving Difficult to Reproduce

Humanity would understand very little about cancer, and be hard-pressed to find cures, without scientific research. But what if, when teams recreated each other’s research, they didn’t arrive at the same result? Read More >>