Precognitive police

“Predictive policing could help prevent crime. But do we want a future where computer oracles and spies track us from birth?” Probably not, according to Henrick Karoliszyn. Consider this scenario: “I am walking down the street and a mobile brain scan looks at my brain along with a picture of a training camp in Afghanistan. If I’ve not been there, I’m sent happily on my way. But if I have, my brain lurches a certain way, I’m taken off the street and carted off to Guantánamo and detained indefinitely as a potential enemy combatant.” Would that be moral?

Outlook: gloomy

Are you an optimistic person always looking on the bright side? Not likely, says Jacob Burak.  But there is a bright side to the fact that we are wired to be gloomy: “In fact, studies show that depressed people may be sadder, but they are also wiser … . This ‘depressive realism’ gives the forlorn a more accurate perception of reality, especially in terms of their own place in the world and their ability to influence events.”

John Rawls: a failproof model for figuring out what is unfair

Good overview of John Rawls’ methods and philosophy.  “Many of us feel that our societies are a little – or even plain totally – ‘unfair’. But we have a hard time explaining our sense of injustice to the powers that be in a way that sounds rational and without personal pique or bitterness. That’s why we need John Rawls (1921-2002), a twentieth-century American philosopher who provides us with a failproof model for identifying what truly might be unfair – and how we might gather support for fixing things.”

Full disclosure

Do individuals have a right for their medical records to remain private after death, or can public interest prevail? Do their family members have a right to privacy? Your great grandmother had a lobotomy. You don’t know this because your family buried this bit of your family’s history. Is it morally permitted for a writer to mention your great grandmother by name in a book he is writing about the history of lobotomy? Jack El-Hai, the author of a book about lobotomy, claims it is.