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Editor’s Journal

Looking across the clam flat and the remains of a fishing weir toward the tidal marsh at Squirrel Point, Arrowsic, Maine. Photo by Lisa Margonelli.

Mud, Muddling, and Science Policy

Climate policy has traditionally been a concern for national and international policymakers who struggled to agree on limits for greenhouse gas emissions. Today it is increasingly a local matter, as every town and hamlet begins to craft a response. For the scientific enterprise, the devolution of big policy to small places poses new challenges around establishing spaces for democratic decisionmaking, building knowledge to inform those decisions, and effectively linking the two.Read More

Science Policy IRL

Amanda Arnold Sees the Innovation Ecosystem from a Unique Perch

In this installment of Science Policy IRL, we explore another sector of science policy: private industry. Amanda Arnold, vice president of governmental affairs and policy at Valneva, a private vaccine development company, talks about the role industry plays in the science policy enterprise and what she has learned about the US innovation ecosystem from working across sectors.Read More

Higher Education

Tools That Would Make STEM Degrees More Affordable Remain Unexamined

Tools That Would Make STEM Degrees More Affordable Remain Unexamined

Reducing student debt in the long term—especially for marginalized populations—requires making college more affordable in the first place. Unfortunately, current policy tools used to manage the cost of tuition and fees across the ecosystem of US higher education are falling short. Read More

Artificial Intelligence

Don’t Let Governments Buy AI Systems That Ignore Human Rights

Don’t Let Governments Buy AI Systems That Ignore Human Rights

Government procurement regulations in the United States do not require AI vendors bidding for government contracts to conduct assessments for the quality of data used to build their products, or for their products’ potential bias, risk, and impact. Merve Hickok and Evanna Hu argue that it’s time to set strict procurement requirements on this transformative technology.Read More

The ISSUES Interview

Illustration by Shonagh Rae

“AI Is a Tool, and Its Values Are Human Values.”

A pioneer in computer vision and image recognition, Fei-Fei Li has been at the forefront of artificial intelligence development for more than two decades. She talked with editor Sara Frueh about how to keep AI centered on human well-being, the ethical responsibilities of AI scientists and developers, and whether there are limits to the human qualities AI can attain.Read More

The Ongoing Transformation

This Eclipse Could Make You Cry–And Make New Scientists

Astronomer Douglas Duncan uses the emotional experience of the total solar eclipse as a gateway to learning more about science. On the latest episode of The Ongoing Transformation podcast, Duncan talks about how he has used this sense of experiential wonder as a way to invite the public into the joy of science.Read More

In Focus

An AI Society

Artificial intelligence is reshaping society, but human forces shape AI. Getting governance wrong could mean narrowing cultural narratives, de-incentivizing creativity, and exploiting workers. In a new collection of 11 essays, social scientists and humanities experts explore how to harness the interaction between AI and society, revealing urgent avenues for research and policy.

Art by Amy Karle.Read More

The Spring Issue

Spring 2024 ISSUES Cover

As decisionmaking moves toward the state and local levels, science leaders will need to understand how the landscape of opportunity is shifting and build the capacity to answer questions posed by specific geographic communities. 

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Online Exclusives


The Slippery Slope of Scientific Ethics

For students of science policy, J. Robert Oppenheimer’s work on the Manhattan Project is a quintessential case study in the ethics of science. What does the biopic about the scientist get right or wrong, which issues does it interrogate, and what does it elide?Read More

Film Review

No Ordinary Documentary

By the time they’re diagnosed, most ALS patients have only months or a few years to live. There are no cures and few effective treatments. But DC lawyer Brian Wallach, who knew nothing about ALS before his diagnosis, sought to make treatment a policy priority. A new documentary chronicles his remarkable success.Read More

Human Development

The Camouflaged Metaphysics of Embryos

Last summer, the Supreme Court overturned the right to an abortion in the United States. The ramifications of that decision continue to play out across interpretations of the whole human reproductive process, including in health care and technology. Jane Maienschein sees opportunities for thoughtful reflection and crafting of better informed, more nuanced policies.Read More

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


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

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