Monday, September 10, 2018

Judges needed for Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Regional Competition

Illinois Tech's Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) invites you to serve as a judge or moderator at the Chicago High School Ethics Bowl Regional Competition which will take place on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at Illinois Tech's Mies (Main) Campus. Teams from all over the Midwest will be competing, and it should be a day of lively discussion and debate!

During an ethics bowl, teams are presented with ethical dilemmas which they have had the opportunity to study and analyze and are asked questions about the cases. They are then judged on the quality of their analysis of each situation. The event is competitive but not adversarial—teams can agree but for different reasons. The format allows for teams to respond to each other, and to respond to questions from the judges; the goal is to raise students’ ethical awareness and sensitivity, encourage collaborative thinking and promote civil discourse.

The day will start at 8:30 a.m. with a judges' orientation and run until around 4:30 p.m.
If you are interested in volunteering or have further questions, please contact Kelly Laas, CSEP Librarian at Please feel free to share this information with anyone who might be interested in participating in this event.

Illinois Tech will be hosting the high school ethics bowl regional competition on January 26th as well, and we welcome your participation at one or both events!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Call for Papers for Special Issue of Science and Engineering Ethics

Call for Papers
Special Issue of the journal Science and Engineering Ethics
Brain-Based and Artificial Intelligence: Socio-ethical Conversations in Computing and Neurotechnology
Editors: Elisabeth Hildt, Kelly Laas, Monika Sziron, Stephanie J. Bird
We are inviting papers to be included in a special issue of Science and Engineering Ethics  that seeks to explore the convergences and disparities in approaches to intelligence in neuroscience and computer science. The topic for this special issue comes from a May 2018 workshop organized by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology, that reflected on how brain-based intelligence is similar to artificial intelligence (AI) and also how both can be combined in neurotechnology. Papers submitted for this special issue should explore the ethical and social implications that arise in AI and neurotechnology. Here the term “brain-based” intelligence encompasses both human and non-human animal intelligence. This special issue aims to advance an interdisciplinary discussion between scientists, practitioners, and scholars around these questions.
Both conference presenters and new authors are invited to submit an abstract for consideration.
Topics of contributions may include but are not limited to:
●    Finding a Common Language: Psychology, Neuroscience, and AI
●    Understanding Intelligence: The Physiological and the Mechanical
●    Ethics of Anthropomorphic Design and Processes in AI
●    Ethical and Social Implications of AI and Neurotechnology
●    Rights in AI and Neurotechnology: Policies, Regulations and Legislation
●    Similarities and Differences of Ethics in AI and Neuroscience
●    Science-fiction: Friend or Foe?
●    Merging of Brains and AI Technology
●    Brain-Computer Interfaces
●    Hybrid Intelligence
Submissions of up to 5,000 words are invited from the fields of neuroscience, computer science, engineering, psychology, philosophy, ethics, law, political science and social science.
Please submit an abstract (or revised workshop abstract) of up to 500 words. Abstracts are due September 15, 2018 and should be sent to Elisabeth Hildt at Authors of selected abstracts will be notified of the editors' decision by October 1, 2018 and invited to submit a full paper. They will also receive further information regarding the formal requirements of the paper.
Full papers, of up to 5,000 words in length, double-spaced and in 12 point font are due December 15, 2018.
All manuscripts will go through the journal’s double blind peer review process.

General Information can also be found on the website of Science and Engineering Ethics (see Instruction for Authors):

Friday, April 28, 2017

Join the Ethics Center for a play and discussion of Queen at the Victory Gardens Theater on May 10th!

Join the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions to watch the play Queen  at the Victory Gardens Theater on Wednesday, May 10th at 7:30 pm. Following the play (run time about 90 minutes), we will take part in a discussion at the theater. Those of us still deep in conversation may adjourn to the Red Line Pub later to continue sharing thoughts and ideas.

All are welcome! 

If interested, please email Kelly Laas at

Synopsis of the play: PhD candidates Sanam and Ariel have spent the better part of the last decade exhaustively researching vanishing bee populations across the globe. Just as these close friends are about to publish a career-defining paper, Sanam stumbles upon an error in their calculations, which could cause catastrophic damage to their reputations, careers, and friendship. Now, Sanam is confronted with an impossible choice: look the other way or stand by her principles and accept the consequences?

Location: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 North Lincoln Ave. Chicago IL 60614

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sports, Coaching, and Ethics

Sports is an area especially affected by ethics because there is an assumed, but not always upheld, end-goal: fair competition. There is also a great deal of money that goes into a small number of sports, putting enormous pressures on subverting this goal. Fair competition can be squandered by the organizing bodies, social attitudes, players and coaches. Examples include the historical race-segregation in baseball, falsifying age to compete in the Olympics, players taking performance-enhancing drugs, and players taking money to throw a match. A more recent example is showcased by the ongoing investigation of North Carolina NCAA team, whose players allegedly took fake classes to meet the GPA requirements for student athletes. In these ethical situations, what responsibilities fall to the coach, and what obligations does the coach have?

The Australian Sports Commission code from 2006 offers a list of guidelines for coaches of junior athletes. For instance, coaches should not yell at players for a mistake or for not winning, they should give all players fair time to play, make sure all equipment and facilities are safe, and cannot make inappropriate contact with the players. Lastly, the coach is tasked with respecting each person’s dignity and rights. The American Football Coaches Association code from 1992, meant for adult players, does not explicitly ban yelling or relationships. Instead, it does note that a coach must be respectful of others’ views, must only act within their realm of expertise, and must try to avoid causing harm to players or others. Furthermore, it states that relationships may occur but it requires these relationships to not affect the coaches’ objectivity.

The Canadian Curling Association’s Code of Ethics from 2010 also gives a brief list of statements a coach is intended to follow. They are expected to follow the rules of the sport, respect players from both teams as well as officials, and to uphold the spirit of the rules. These statements contain no mention of dealing with conflict of interest.

What are your opinions about sports and ethics? There are many more codes to explore at Ethics Codes Collection to see which codes may contain them.

The Ethics Code Collection is managed by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. Look forward to a new and improved website come September!

Written by Alice Amell

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Importance of Ethics in Counseling

Many of us may know the basic ethical boundaries in counseling such as confidentiality - a therapist won’t disclose personal details except in cases where they are required such as when the client has serious intent to harm themself or others. However, due to the nature of the relationship as very personal, powerful, and impactful, there are many more things to be concerned about like if and when to use diagnoses, what type of therapy to use or recommend, etc.

The Code of Ethics given by the American Counseling Association (ACA) is one of the more in-depth codes of ethics I have seen, boasting nine sections that cover topics from the therapist’s relationship with other professionals to the process of making ethical decisions. In addition to these topics, the core ethical principles are outlined from the outset such as autonomy, nonmaleficence, fidelity, and others. In fact, under the teaching and training section, counselors are instructed to continually educate their students in ethics because it is so crucial in this field.

From this code, the importance of continual self-improvement is also shown; therapists are encouraged to keep professional relationships with others in order to improve their own counseling services. They are required to educate themselves with current standards in the field to best serve the client. Finally, if their client can benefit from therapies they are not experienced in, they should inform their client so they are able to make the informed decision whether to pursue that option further.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s (BACP) Ethical Framework is similar in structure and length to the ACA’s code. It first gives principles and values of counseling as a whole and then gives specifics for topics such as quality of care, trust, training, research, etc. One difference between the two codes is that the BACP also lists the aspirational and personal moral qualities for counselors such as empathy, sincerity, and courage. Each of these qualities relates to giving the best services they can to a client. Curiously, the BACP does not touch on the use of diagnoses.

Given the era of technology we now live in, some counselors offer services over the internet instead of in-person if for whatever reason an in-person meeting is unfeasible or undesirable. The National Board for Certified Counselors released a code in 2005 called The Practice of Internet Counseling. Forms of internet counseling may be email, chat, or video. There are specific things to keep in mind when giving counseling through the internet rather than in-person: maintaining secure interactions, making sure you are conversing with the right person and not someone else using their account, and talking about the possibility of misunderstandings due to lack of visual and/or tonal cues.

Are there areas of counseling you were surprised these codes of ethics did or did not include? If they weren’t, they may be in other codes not mentioned from the Ethics Codes Collection.

The Ethics Code Collection is managed by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. Look forward to a new and improved website come September!

Written by Alice Amell

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Advertisements: How far can they go?

Advertisements: How far can they go?

 Are advertisements harmless entertainment such as those we enjoy during the Super Bowl, an inescapable but morally permissible annoyance, or manipulative and potentially harmful? Many of us would recognize that advertisements can influence us. Because of this influence, there laws in place to prevent certain types of advertisements. Two large issues in advertising is the accuracy of the statements given, as well as protections for children.  And when these laws are broken, lawsuits follow - such as one person who sued over the misleading ad campaign claiming that red bull gives you wings.

What do various ethical codes say about advertising? The Advertising Standards Authority of New Zealand code illuminates some of the morally questionable practices - first and foremost, an advertisement cannot mislead or deceive. This is not only an ethical standard but also a legal one in many countries. They then list different criteria that ads must follow, one being that an ad must be identifiable as an ad. That is, you must be able to tell what is and what is not an advertisement. The importance of this point is that, according to Brucks, Goldberg, and Armstrong in a 1986 study, you need to know you are consuming an ad to use cognitive defenses. If you know you are consuming an ad, then you can appropriately assume it is biased and persuasive and respond accordingly. If you do not know you are consuming an ad, then you may make false assumptions and be more likely to buy into whatever the ad is selling, figuratively and literally. This becomes especially important when dealing with children. Brucks, Goldberg, and Armstrong estimate that children can know the intent of ads by age seven, but cannot fully process and defend against them until age eleven. Due to the more vulnerable nature of children, there are many more regulations protecting them, varying in each country.

In concordance with the Advertising Standards Authority of New Zealand code, many other codes carry the requirement of non-deceiving, such as the Canadian Marketing Association’s code and the American Marketing Association’s code. The Canadian code also touches on children’s rights - ads are not supposed to urge children to ask their parents to purchase items. Marketers can also not accept purchases from children without parents consent. There is an emphasis not only on young children but also on teenager’s rights not to be exploited due to their lack of maturation and knowledge. The other two codes mentioned do not give any specific recommendations or cautions for marketing to children or teenagers.

What ethical issues do you think advertisements may pose? Are they answered by any of the above-mentioned codes? There are many more at the Ethics Codes Collection.

The Ethics Code Collection is managed by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. Look forward to a new and improved website come September!

Written by Alice Amell

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ethics of Birdwatching

Birdwatching. A lesser-known hobby that does not seem to raise many ethical issues.  Turns out, organizations even have a code of ethics for the hobby! Take the Brookline Bird Club. They take their hobby, and implications that we may not have realized existed for it, very seriously.

The Brookline Bird Club points out the dangers of disturbing birds in their natural habitat, and lays out guidelines for how to best avoid harming them. They even account for the changes in season, and the difference in behavior of different species. They also care for keeping the environment healthy, including a recommendation to stay on designated paths in parks and woods, so as to not trample anything growing there. Also interestingly, they specifically tell their members to behave politely around others to not create a bad name for the group. While many organizations have similar codes, it’s interesting to see that a hobby like bird watching could have something like this too!

The American Birding Association code has similar ethical requirements - to ensure the welfare of birds in their own environments. It also gives details on what to do if you want to attract birds to other environments. If you set up a simple bird feeder, it’s important to also keep in mind a few things. You don’t want the food and water to be contaminated so make sure to keep it clean. You also don’t want to lure birds to predators, so keep the cat away!

However, they also have the specification of helping new members in their own groups. This code has many more specific examples of scenarios, and also recommends being willing to teach others. They claim that the knowledge and experience you gain should be freely shared among the group. Who would have thought people would get so dedicated about something like finding rare birds?

There is plenty more information where that came from, and it can all be found in the links provided. More interesting ethical codes exist on the Ethics Codes Collection website, so feel free to look around!

The Ethics Code Collection is managed by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. Look forward to a new and improved website come September!

Written by Alice Amell and Tabitha Anderson