Other forms of Ethics (e.g. Citizen Science and AI, Animals)

During the workshop on September 11th, a participant raised the question of other forms of ethics in citizen science in the chat. Currently, discussions most of the time focus on ethics around citizen scientists and do not consider other forms of ethics. The question was what role other forms of ethics like ethics at the intersections of citizen science and animals, or citizen science and artificial intelligence currently play and what role they should play. What are your thoughts on this?

Hello everyone,

To Artificial Intelligence I can’t say much. I am a bit scared of the possibility that a robot car will get desissions programed how to react in a crisis /crash - to say I am unsure how any person can make a decision what to program to it. Pinnen Sie kopierte Textausschnitte an, damit sie nicht nach 1 Stunde gelöscht werdenLöschen Sie die Ausschnitte durch Wischen.

… What to program to a robot car.
I know there is a lot of discussion in ethics committees and eg on TV.

Science and animals:
First: do you want to know where endengered species live? How do you collect data? And how to make sure the data won’t be used to steal a plant or shot an animal? How to protect the wildlife from people trespassing like eg Mountainbiker do?

Second: you want to put animals back to nature which where bred in humans hands?
How do you select the place (including the decision not informing people of the release of animals or to inform them - as both decisions can be bad for the animals or the tolerance of the animals).
Like not informed people may feel scared or informed people may shoot them for profit.
How would you protect the animals? Eg with a GPS Tracker? How to provide data being stolen and the eg rhino been killed?
You will need trustworthy people to go into the Bush or the Dschungel to track it. How to protect both - human and animal from attack by poachers.
Or you will need a computer and satellite data.

Third: animal testing. In medical practice there are regularities and ethical standards.

Are there any other use of animals in science?
I heard about eg rats searching for land mines.
Or rats searching suitcases for dope or weapons like dogs do.
I know of GPS Tracking of birds to find out how climate change is disturbing their travel to and from South. Even track of butterflies.

Fourth: standarts worldwide?
Is any regularities to science so that animals won’t be harmed? Most times animals are in law a thing without feeling or thought.

So if someone hurts my dog and it bites back it is a injury to human and only a property damage to me (my dog). At least to my knowledge of German law.

How is this eg in India? I have no idea. I know people believing in buddismus (I have no better words for it, I know buddismus is not a religion) will not hurt any living beings. For Hindus a cow is a holy animal and not to be disturbed.
I would expect in a country with a lot of people belonging to buddismus or Hinduismus will have a different way for their law. Or not?

Or what about people said living closely with nature. Like the San or Himba in Africa or the indigene in Brazil? Innuit? Aborigines?

I’d expect that they have quite a different way to see animals. But maybe it is a cliche of me to expect them to be more protective and human in their treatment of animals.

Greetings, Eva WeiĂź

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@Eva you certainly brought up a few of the animal ethical considerations I think about in regards to AI use. Working with threatened species, is a tricky one, because to develop the AI often required a lot of validated data. Some cases are easier than others, depending on both on how furtive animals are and how much they vary in appearance and behaviour. With camera photos, animals don’t tend to change their appearances much across populations, but if looking at bird calls, birds can vary a lot in song individual, with a population, and across a species. Since rare and threatened species are particularly difficult to get data for, sharing sparse data to advance AI makes sense, but as Eva points out, the same benefits can be used perversely (e.g. to find animals for wildlife trafficking etc). We can jig location data, but there are a suite of additional considerations as well.

For a quick overview on how AI is currently actively being applied in citizen science perhaps see a recent essay in CS:T&P titled " Opportunities and Risks for Citizen Science in the Age of Artificial Intelligence" https://theoryandpractice.citizenscienceassociation.org/articles/10.5334/cstp.241/

Thinking far more broadly about the technology itself, we must also consider if what we are creating in terms of tech as the potential to inadvertently do harm to people too. Sometimes, the creation of technology creates entirely new moral dilemmas for people. It may seem rather insignificant, but if looking to gamify citizen science, should we be intentionally designed to keep people engaged (focusing on our agenda of getting more data) or should be designed to mutually benefit participants in more ways beyond the science? I would say the latter, and tech design research with participants beyond just usability to get scientific data is needed for this to occur.

If folks have access to it, I found this paper an interesting read when asking myself such questions:
Peter-Paul Verbeek. 2008. Morality in Design: Design Ethics and the Morality of Technological Artifacts, In Philosophy and Design: From Engineering to Architecture, Peter Kroes et al. (eds.). Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 91-103. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6591-0_7

Just after reading this, I watched the “Social Delima” and certainly saw some interesting parallels could become problematic for citizen science as it grows and such aspects are considered. I good go on about this stuff all day, but I should limit the screen time :slight_smile:

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