Our life-spans are ever-increasing, but our health-spans are not, leading to long periods of unpleasant and expensive suffering with chronic conditions. Many of these conditions have recently been linked to the microbiome. We are constantly shaping our microbiomes through the foods we eat, the environments we experience, even the people we live and work with.
Through the American Gut Project, the largest crowdsourced and crowdfunded citizen-science project yet conducted, we now know about the microbiomes of many types of people, from the healthiest to the sickest. Potentially real-time analysis of our microbiomes could guide our daily decisions in a way that optimizes our microbiomes for extending our health-span. Although the potential benefits of such research are clear, what are the risks (e.g., privacy concerns) that need to be identified and addressed?
Rob Knight is Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering and Computer Science & Engineering and is Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego. He authored “Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes” and co-authored “Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.” His work combines microbiology, DNA sequencing, ecology and computer science to understand the vast numbers of microbes that inhabit our bodies and our planet. He was recently honored with the 2017 Massry Prize for his microbiome research.
Advertisers are always looking to better understand consumers’ preferences and decision making. The application of neuroscience knowledge and techniques to answer market and media research questions is not new but in our digital age, the practice raises new questions about privacy, informed consent, and consumer autonomy in decision making. Dr. Carl Marci, Chief Neuroscientist at Nielsen explores the ethical concerns that arise and explains some of the tools used by advertisers in this growing field.
When you hear the word “drone,” what first comes to mind?
Most people usually think of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated by the military in order to spy on citizens and drop bombs on unsuspecting targets.
Lucien Miller, CEO of Innov8tive Designs, explains that the first drone, called the Kettering Bug, was flown almost a hundred years ago, in 1918. Early drones like this were essentially torpedoes with wings, unguided aircraft that dropped bombs with little target accuracy. It was these types of UAVs that have led people to fear the term drone and the destruction associated with them.
But today, drones and UAVs are rapidly gaining commercial popularity as UAV systems are becoming available at prices non-military budgets can afford. Miller says modern UAVs are becoming so small, they can be purchased for as little as $400. And now their uses extend far beyond covert military operations, such as search and rescue missions, endangered species protection, and infrastructure inspection, just to name a few.
Keith McLellen, CEO of ROV Systems joins the show to discuss the risks that come with the benefits of drones, the biggest concern being an increase in aerial surveillance and an invasion of privacy.
UCTV celebrates the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s ground-breaking novel, Silent Spring, with a series of videos presented by the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology.
In the final episode of the series, Dorothy Sears of the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Christina Deckard of the SPAWAR Systems Center, and science journalist Lynne Friedmann discuss the hurdles Carson overcame as a women in science 50 years ago. To put Carson’s struggles in perspective, these women in the modern field of science reveal their current struggles with inequality. Watch their insightful discussion in “Women in Science: 50 Years After Silent Spring“: