In a healthy scientific enterprise, theories and conclusions may be revised when new data become available.
The same standards might need to be applied to data collection itself. The way data are collected, and who gets to decide what data should be collected next, can determine whether or not results are useful. For instance, there have been decades of research on climate science, but there has not been a proportionate implementation of the findings. In “How Climate Science Could Lead to Action,” Samantha Jo Fried discusses a modified approach to research called the civil engagement paradigm, in which communities would have multiple opportunities at each research step for their concerns to be heard and used to inform data collection and models.
In this issue’s Ethics column, Yvette Pearson similarly discusses the fact that technology implementations must balance what is undoubtedly beneficial against the potential to nonetheless do harm. In “Child-Robot Interactions,” Pearson clearly outlines the ways that robots can help children learn better, or can help them deal with illnesses, among other benefits. But she invites us to carefully consider the concurrent issues of potential violation of privacy, or misuse of trust, when our most vulnerable members of society, our children, are put in contact with new technology.
In this issue we are conducting an experiment ourselves, and we need data from you to determine its benefits. In response to a number of reader requests, we have added to some of our longer articles a box labeled “Quick Take.” This box contains a few interesting facts from the article, to give readers a flavor of what to expect from a full read of the text. A quick take won’t tell you all the important points in the article, but we hope it will encourage you to dive in and learn more. So let us know what you think. Do you find this feature useful? We have a hypothesis, but our experiment can’t work without your data. Let us know via our website contact form, email, or social media. —Fenella Saunders (@FenellaSaunders)