Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Santa Clara University Ethics Center focuses on preparing individuals, particularly students, to make ethical decisions and develop ethical decision-making skills. They offer various fellowships and internships to help individuals build these skills. The center has evaluated its values, vision, and strategic priorities in the past year, and has welcomed new members to the team, including Dorothee Caminiti, who focuses on the ethical issues related to personalized medicine, and Sarah Cabral, who leads the business ethics internship. The center aims to build a more ethical future with the support of donors and partnerships.


An article published on their website discusses the concept of ethics and its importance in various aspects of life. Ethics involves standards and practices that guide our behavior, including in personal, professional, and societal contexts. The article also clarifies what ethics is not, including feelings, religion, following the law, following culturally accepted norms, or science, as these do not necessarily dictate what is ethical. Instead, ethics requires knowledge, skills, and habits to make informed decisions that align with high ethical standards.


Additionally, there are subtopics within the discussion of ethics in AI. Thomas Plante wrote an article about the implications of using artificial intelligence (AI) for mental health treatment. While there are many AI-based mental health applications available today, research is needed to determine their effectiveness, and ethical issues need to be addressed. First, engineers and computer scientists should work alongside licensed mental health professionals to ensure that their products and services are safe and effective. Second, mental health applications need to maintain strict confidentiality to protect user privacy. Third, while preliminary research suggests that AI-based mental health applications may be helpful for mild to moderate symptoms, they may not be appropriate for more severe symptoms or psychopathology. Despite these potential issues, the author notes that AI-based mental health applications may be a boon to treating more people in a more affordable and convenient way, particularly given the current mental illness epidemic. However, research is needed to ensure that these applications are based on solid empirical evidence and best clinical practices.

Santa Clara University



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