Introducing DIDIY D4.6: Ethical issues in Education and Research

D4.6 undertakes to identify and analyze some of the main ethical issues pertaining to DiDIY in education and research, with a view to suggesting how to positively move forward (e.g., policy-wise).

We begin by considering the topic of DiDIY in education. Using D4.1 (“Research Space and Agents”) as our initial starting point, we review the benefits and potential pitfalls (when it comes to educational outcomes, equality of opportunity, etc.) of the introduction of DiDIY in the educational context, and consider additional relevant issues including the use of DiDIY to attract more women to STEM fields, and the need to educate young people on how to use DiDIY ethically.

We then move on to discussing DiDIY in research. While highlighting its benefits, we do not find it to raise a wide range of unique ethical concerns (as opposed to concerns that it might inherit from other phenomena, such as citizen science). Because of this, we broaden the scope of our discussion to cover DiDIY applications of cutting-edge research (including 3D bioprinting), both for therapeutic purposes and for human enhancement. These raise various ethical issues, safety being the most prominent one. We find that some of these issues do support a prohibition on the use of DiDIY tools for enhancement purposes, but only in specific contexts and under specific sets of assumptions; no general presumption against such use seems defensible.