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Science Ethics Center Reaches Milestone

Michael Kalichman, co-founding director of the Center for Ethics in Science a...

Credit: Center for Ethics in Science and Technology

Above: Michael Kalichman, co-founding director of the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology, speaking at the University of San Diego in 2011.

Science Ethics Center Reaches Milestone

GUEST:

Michael Kalichman, co-founding director, The Center for Ethics in Science and Technology

Transcript

The questions raised by scientific research can be explosive. Should we edit our children’s genes? What safeguards should we put in place for artificial intelligence? How should the public be informed about clinical trials?

The Center for Ethics in Science and Technology ventured into that volatile area over 13 years ago, holding discussions on some of the most controversial subjects in the sciences. The Center will have its 100th talk Wednesday night at the Fleet Science Center.

Co-founding director Michael Kalichman said local research into embryonic stem cells and self-learning machines prompted the center’s creation in 2004, providing a venue for scientists to engage directly with the public about their concerns.

For the 100th talk, Kalichman will focus on research on vaccines, personalized medicine and climate change.

“All three of those topics weren’t in the Center’s line of sight (in 2004). Some of our big questions now were different than they were back then. That’s a sign of progress, I guess,” he said. “I say, ‘I guess,’ because, how much of this means we are simply never learning our lessons and how much is that the challenges are simply new?”

Kalichman joined KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday with more on how science ethics discussions have changed over the past decade.

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