Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Sunday, April 14, 2024 — Houston, TX

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Facing the STEM Superiority Complex

(01/22/20 3:03am)

The modern world doesn’t know how to integrate STEM, the humanities and the social sciences. We’ve come to the point where our society values technological innovation as the best way to solve any and all problems that arise. Scientific development without consideration for people and regulation creates significant issues, from racist algorithms that favor white patients over black patients to Amazon’s Alexa recording our conversations. These are instances where we thought of STEM as entirely separate from humanities and social sciences, and as a result, important ethical and social considerations were completely overlooked. The aforementioned algorithms are a result of neglecting the social determinants of health and the biases in medicine that are reflected in historical datasets. Smart speakers have been recording millions of hours of intimate home conversations that are being analyzed and parsed without the explicit consent of users. Because technology is incredible and has the ability to do amazing things to positively impact the world, we need to integrate it with the humanities and the social sciences in order to prevent mass abuses.