Forbidden Research

Forbidden Research: Why We Can’t Do That

presented by Alexandra Elbakyan, J. Nathan Matias, Karrie Karahalios

Quite often when we’re ask­ing these dif­fi­cult ques­tions we’re ask­ing about ques­tions where we might not even know how to ask where the line is. But in oth­er cas­es, when researchers work to advance pub­lic knowl­edge, even on uncon­tro­ver­sial top­ics, we can still find our­selves for­bid­den from doing the research or dis­sem­i­nat­ing the research.

Forbidden Research: Rites vs. Rights — Islam, Women’s Rights, and Global Security

presented by Alaa Murabit, Saeed Khan

If we look at a lot of the things we’ve been speak­ing about today, be it genet­ic engi­neer­ing or the things that occur in our dai­ly lives, the chal­lenge of repro­duc­tive rights, or glob­al peace and secu­ri­ty, a lot of the stag­na­tion, a lot of the chal­lenges, are actu­al­ly root­ed either in the per­cep­tion of reli­gion or in the polit­i­cal manip­u­la­tion of reli­gion.

Forbidden Research: Sexual Deviance: Can Technology Protect our Children?

presented by Christina Couch, Ethan Zuckerman, Kate Darling, Ron Arkin

One of the big things that we’re going to talk about here is para­phil­ia. We’re going to talk about sex­u­al deviance. We’re going to talk about the prob­lem of peo­ple whose sex­u­al desires lead to attrac­tion to chil­dren, lead to attrac­tion towards vio­lent sex, lead to sex­u­al trans­gres­sion in one fash­ion or anoth­er.

Forbidden Research: Messing with Nature Part I: Genetics

presented by George Church, Kevin Esvelt, Megan Palmer, Ryan Phelan

When it comes to a field as fast-moving and as high of stakes as genet­ic engi­neer­ing, how do we pro­ceed wise­ly? How do we bal­ance our own wild­ness and civil­i­ty as we devel­op increas­ing­ly pow­er­ful ways to inter­act with the liv­ing world?

Forbidden Research: Messing with Nature Part II: Climate

presented by David Keith, Gernot Wagner, Stewart Brand

Solar geo­engi­neer­ing rests on a sim­ple idea that it is tech­ni­cal­ly pos­si­ble to make the Earth a lit­tle more reflec­tive so that it absorbs a lit­tle less sun­light, which would part­ly coun­ter­act some of the risks that come from accu­mu­lat­ing car­bon diox­ide in the atmos­phere. When I say tech­ni­cal­ly pos­si­ble, it appears that at least doing this in a crude way is actu­al­ly easy, in the sense that it could be done with com­mer­cial off-the-shelf tech­nolo­gies now, and it could be done at a cost that is real­ly triv­ial, sort of a part in a thou­sand or a part in ten thou­sand of glob­al GDP.

Forbidden Research: Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance

presented by Bunnie Huang, Edward Snowden

When I announced the talk on Twitter, some­body imme­di­ate­ly was like, Lawful abuse, isn’t that a con­tra­dic­tion?” But if you think about it for just a moment it might seem to be a lit­tle bit more clear. After all, the legal­i­ty of a thing is quite dis­tinct from the moral­i­ty of it.

Forbidden Research Welcome and Introduction: Cory Doctorow

presented by Cory Doctorow

At that moment when every­body is sud­den­ly car­ing about this stuff, that’s the moment at which nihilism can be avert­ed. It’s the moment in which nihilism must be avert­ed if you’re going to make a change. Peak indif­fer­ence is the moment when you stop con­vinc­ing peo­ple to care about an issue, and start con­vinc­ing them to do some­thing about it.

Forbidden Research Welcome and Introduction: Ethan Zuckerman

presented by Ethan Zuckerman

As we dug into this top­ic, we real­ized research gets for­bid­den for all sorts of rea­sons. We’re going to talk about top­ics today that are for­bid­den in some sense because they’re so big, they’re so con­se­quen­tial, that it’s extreme­ly dif­fi­cult for any­one to think about who should actu­al­ly have the right to make this deci­sion. We’re going to talk about some top­ics that end up being off the table, that end up being for­bid­den, because they’re kind of icky. They’re real­ly uncom­fort­able. And frankly, if you make it through this day with­out some­thing mak­ing you uncom­fort­able, we did some­thing wrong in plan­ning this event.

Forbidden Research Welcome and Introduction: Joi Ito

presented by Joi Ito

Talking to peo­ple who study the his­to­ry of sci­ence, and you look at Nobel Prize win­ners, many of them have real­ly tak­en sort of career-threatening risks in order to win Nobel Prizes. So even sci­ence, which feels like an area where you’re sup­posed to ques­tion author­i­ty and think for your­self, you actu­al­ly have to be rather risk-taking and dis­obe­di­ent.

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