Students - 2011
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Student Follow-up Activities

Following the one-week Institute program, students are encouraged to write up their projects to be chapters in a future publication. To assist in this process we include here slides of some of the presenters as used during the sessions:

- Critical Thinking Workshop
Dr. Jeff Buechner, Rutgers University

The slides in the above link on critical thinking describe a simple method for determining how good the reasons for your claims are. That is, they describe a simple method for critically assessing arguments. This is the ONLY method; anything else you might have learned is a fraud. Read it again and again, until it becomes a natural extension of yourself!! - Dr. Jeff Buechner


- Robotics, Rutgers-Merck Summer Bioethics Institute
Dr. Jeff Buechner, Rutgers University

- Challenges in Designing Robotic Brains
Dr. Jeff Buechner, Rutgers University

- Robotics, Human Enhancement, and the Ethics of Human Enhancement
Dr. Anne Barnhill, Johns Hopkins University

- Neural Networks
Dr. Alex Morgan, Rutgers University

- Logic and Reasoning in Human Beings and in Robots
Mr. Ralph Jenkins, CUNY, The Graduate Center


Bioethics Resources:
-------------------- National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature


Student Activities during the Institute Program, July 10-16:

Each day the students attended sessions consisting of either lectures, videos or hands-on activity. The lectures included technical information on robotic, computer, biological and biomedical topics. In addition, as special feature of this program, workshop sessions were included each day to provide tools for critical thinking based on philosophical concepts. The combination of these areas provided the students with the basic knowledge needed to begin to address ethical concepts in the arena of robotics.

From time to time each day the students broke up into teams of four or five to discuss the question of the day and write up a response to that question. Each team was accompanied by a Counselor and/or Institute Coordinator; the Discussion Leader also circulated among the groups.

As the week progressed, each student team was enabled to identify a particular bioethics concept in robotics of interest to them and to develop the topic complete with slides for presentation on the final day of the program.

Debate - A debate was held on the following issue: Should robots (of the future) have the same rights that human beings have? Vice Provost Marcia Brown and several members of the Rutgers University-Newark Debating Team helped prepare students for, and conduct, the debate.

We live in the so-called Information Age, inundated by a plethora of inputs at all times. Each day during the week the students met in one of the Rutgers computer labs to carry out searches for key information that they needed for the debate and also for their individual projects. In four sessions a college librarian presented material on how to properly and fully make use of library resources in searching for authenticated information.

This year's classroom activities included a video conference with students in Africa for discussion of bioethics issues as well as some personal exchanges on likes and dislikes. The students also engaged in two other videoconferences, with presenters in New York and in Vermont - it is indeed a global village that we live in.

A special session was scheduled for a presentation by a staff member of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers, the world's largest repository of jazz media, journals, music, and artifacts. Various types of jazz music were heard and discussed to engage the students in how the jazz genre relates to current music as well as to everyday life.

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