Self-driving Cars

As self-driving cars get closer to being part of everyday life on the road, what are the broader social, legal, and even ethical questions they present? Such issues will become more urgent and important as collisions and accidents involving self-driving or semi-autonomous vehicles occur more often. Mohan Trivedi, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, founding director of the Computer Vision and Robotics Research Laboratory, as well as the Laboratory for Intelligent and Safe Automobiles (LISA) at the University of California San Diego, discusses these challenges.

Watch: A Quest for Human Robot Cohabitation: Humans in the Age of Autonomous Driving – Exploring Ethics

Click here to view all the programs in the Exploring Ethics series.

Can We Talk? Communicating Through the Cancer Journey

25296As our series on cancer continues, we take a look not at the symptoms of the disease but at the way we talk about the disease. The words we choose and the tone we employ can greatly impact the way patients, caregivers, medical professionals, and families move through the cancer journey.

In this unique look at conversations about cancer, professor Wayne Beach of San Diego State University shares audio and video examples of how communication occurs among those affected in the context of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Deborah Mayer, an advanced practice oncology nurse from the University of North Carolina follows with a look at the different meanings of the word “cancer,” the discomfort of difficult conversations, and the challenge of expressing basic fears.

Watch Communicating Through the Cancer Journey: Can We Talk? — Overthrowing the Emperor of all Maladies: Moving Forward Against Cancer Series — Exploring Ethics online now or click here to view the entire series.

Exploring Ethics of Drones and Other UAVs

When you hear the word “drone,” what first comes to mind?

Most people usually think of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated by the military in order to spy on citizens and drop bombs on unsuspecting targets.

Lucien Miller, CEO of Innov8tive Designs, explains that the first drone, called the Kettering Bug, was flown almost a hundred years ago, in 1918. Early drones like this were essentially torpedoes with wings, unguided aircraft that dropped bombs with little target accuracy.  It was these types of UAVs that have led people to fear the term drone and the destruction associated with them.

But today, drones and UAVs are rapidly gaining commercial popularity as UAV systems are becoming available at prices non-military budgets can afford. Miller says modern UAVs are becoming so small, they can  be purchased for as little as $400. And now their uses extend far beyond covert military operations, such as search and rescue missions, endangered species protection, and infrastructure inspection, just to name a few.

Keith McLellen, CEO of ROV Systems joins the show to discuss the risks that come with the benefits of drones, the biggest concern being an increase in aerial surveillance and an invasion of privacy.

Watch “Drones and Other UAVs: Benefits and Risks – Exploring Ethics” to hear from Miller, McLellen, and retired Commander Bob Osborne, who worked for the LA County Sheriffs department for 38 years, about the life-saving and livelihood-threatening technology of modern drones.

Watch other videos about UAVs and Drones.

Women in Science – Looking Back, Looking Ahead

UCSD-TV celebrates the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s ground-breaking novel, Silent Spring, with a series of videos presented by the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology.

In the final episode of the series, Dorothy Sears of the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Christina Deckard of the SPAWAR Systems Center, and science journalist Lynne Friedmann discuss the hurdles Carson overcame as a women in science 50 years ago. To put Carson’s struggles in perspective, these women in the modern field of science reveal their current struggles with inequality. Watch their insightful discussion in “Women in Science: 50 Years After Silent Spring“:

Check out all of the videos in the Silent Spring Series!

Elephants and the Ethics of Extinction

Domestic cats in America kill millions, maybe even hundreds of millions of song birds each year.

It is estimated that one third of all song bird species are declining in the United States. If this pattern continues, people will eventually be forced to take sides on which animals existence is more important.

This is just one example Robert Wiese, Chief Life Sciences Officer at the San Diego Zoo, gives to illustrate the way humans interfere with the ebb and flow of animal populations. He discusses what happens when people introduce foreign species to an unfamiliar ecosystem with no natural predators and why it’s important to maintain checks and balances in populations.

If humans cause the decline in a species’ population, are they responsible to restore it? With success stories like the captive breeding program of the California Condor, we know that it is possible to save species from extinction. But at what cost?

Check out “Elephants or People? Ethical Dilemmas in Recovering Endangered Species,” part of “The Silent Spring Series-Exploring Ethics.”

Check out more videos about the environment and conservation.