Not Your Father’s Turing Test

The trope of the invented being breaking loose from its bonds dates back at least to the medieval Jewish myth of the golem, if not to the Garden of Eden itself. In the Romantic period, Goethe’s poem “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein were both cautionary tales of misbegotten creations. In a late 1800s children’s novel, Pinocchio yearns to be more than a puppet and achieves the transformation into a “real boy” when he develops a moral sense. In modern popular culture, the myriad stories of robots run amok are evidence of our fascination with the consequences of humans’ hubris in playing god. However, three recent novels diverge from the mainstream of a genre dominated by doomsday scenarios.Read More

Medical School

When Our Medical Students Learn Anatomy, They See a Person, Not a Specimen

Popular accounts of the Silent Mentor Program, in which anatomy students learn about their body donor’s life and family, are quick to mention how it has eased shortages of medical cadavers. But the effects of the program on medical education are much more profound: it enhances the humanity of clinicians and those they serve.Read More

Risk Management

Biosafety Needs to Redefine Itself as a Science

A recent executive order specifically notes that the Biden administration’s efforts should include “providing for research and investment in applied biosafety and biosecurity innovation.” This marks a rare opportunity to nail down a definition of biosafety so that it is established as more than a set of guidelines to be implemented.Read More

Regulating the Bioeconomy

Racing to Be First to Be Second

A new era in biology is already changing the ways in which food, fuel, and materials can be produced. It’s not hard to imagine neglected industrial hubs in the American heartland coming to life to produce biobased commodity chemicals from feedstocks grown on nearby farmland, creating jobs and reducing carbon emissions. Making this a reality will require a step change in how society approaches industry.Read More

An Age of Misinformation

Enhancing Trust in Science and Democracy

As the world negotiates unprecedented opportunities made possible by technological advances, it also confronts the interconnected crises of pandemic, war, and climate change. At the same time, misinformation and disinformation are distorting public deliberation and undermining trust in science as well as democracy itself, with consequences that are becoming increasingly stark.Read More

In Focus

Navigating a Polluted Information Ecosystem
  • Navigating a Polluted Information Ecosystem

    Fake newsmisinformation, and disinformation have become bywords for problematic online content. But these labels provide little understanding of the ways people create and share information. A new series from Issues explores how to navigate and improve today’s information ecosystems.


The Spring Issue

Spring 2023 ISSUES Cover

The Spring 2023 Issues looks at human experience and agency to explore how to navigate polluted ecosystems, how tacit knowledge is key to a safe bioeconomy, how disciplines are nurtured and defined, and much more. 

Join the Conversation

Social Media

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Listen to The Ongoing Transformation for conversations with today’s most exciting thinkers.

See Episodes


Read responses to our published essays from experts around the world.

Read Forum

Attend Events

Connect with our dynamic community of experts and policy-makers.

See Events


In response to essays published in Issues, our readers weigh in on critical topics in policy related to science, technology, and society.

Online Exclusives

The ISSUES Interview

Tristan Harris

“The Complexity of Technology’s Consequences Is Going Up Exponentially, But Our Wisdom and Awareness Are Not.”

Tristan Harris, a technology ethicist and the cofounder of the Center for Humane Technology, talked with Issues editor Sara Frueh about the challenge of online misinformation, ways to govern artificial intelligence, and a vision of technology that strengthens democracy.Read More

National Science Foundation

Centering Societal Concerns at NSF

The National Science Foundation has been operating in a hybrid mode of use-inspired research and knowledge-based innovation for most of its history. Examining the new mandates of the CHIPS and Science Act, and their relationship to past experiments at the agency, reveals how NSF can center “ethical and societal considerations” as it reorients the scientific enterprise. Read More

Human Development

The Camouflaged Metaphysics of Embryos

In June 2022, the Supreme Court decided to leave decisions about abortion to states rather than the courts—in effect forcing legislators to take positions on when life is taken as beginning. Although the court’s decision makes seemingly scientific claims, there is a need for sound, consistent definitions—starting with the different stages of human development.Read More

Community Resilience

Disaster Response Must Help Protect LGBTQ+ Communities

LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately affected by disasters. But there are actions that the federal government and other organizations can take to become trusted resources and better serve LGBTQ+ populations during disasters.Read More


Creativity During COVID

cpnas creative responses archive

A Time Capsule of Creative Responses to the Pandemic

Creativity often flourishes in stressful times. A remarkable collection of creative responses from individuals, communities, organizations, and industries is now available to explore in a new archive.Read More

Browse our recent issues