This Week in PR Ethics (4/29/21) – Power, Research, Linux and Genetics

This week the key ethics issues all dealt with creation in one way or another. Is eliminating bias enough in AI development? Can you sabotage Linux for research? What about creating chimeras for medical research?

  • Ethics and Power – MIT Tech Review this week has a great article on ethics and AI – with a call to go beyond looking at ethical norms to the power AI will have. It is not disregarding ethics, just looking at broadening the stakeholders in their development. The author calls for inclusion of civil society groups activists, advocates addressing issues of climate justice, labor rights, data protection?


  • Ethics and research – This story fascinates me. Researchers at the University of Minnesota allegedly inserted bad Linux kernel patches as part of a research study, making the operating system more vulnerable to hackers. This is a great example of not thinking of the ethics of a situation and a great reminder to all PR pros, that you need to know what your tech and R&D staff are doing to be prepared.


  • Ethics and Genetics – To finish off the theme this week, the ethical implications of human-monkey hybrids is a great example of ethics issues that arise in science and biotech. To put it simply, should we do something because we can?
Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
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Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


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