Prompts

The information provided below are only guiding ideas and thoughts. Your piece does not need to address the examples or guiding questions that we provide. You can bring up any example or discussion that answers the larger controversy for your area of choice. If you have any additional questions about these prompts, feel free to email us at younginvestigators@stonybrook.edu!

Biology

Organ transplants are one of the most highly sought after treatments in the world. Many rely on organ transplants to survive and it is their last resort. However, it is often hard to get on the transplant list and there is a long wait. One of the new technologies that can help lessen the time spent on the waiting list is xenotransplantation. Xenotransplantation is the organ transplantation of animals to humans. 

Is xenotransplantation ethical and how does it work? 

You may consider these guiding questions: 

  • How does xenotransplantation work? 
  • Have there been any successful cases? There was a recent xenotransplantation case that was all over the news 
  • Is it ethical for xenotransplantation to occur?
  • Does xenotransplantation really help decrease the time spent on the waitlist? 
  • What are the requirements to receive a xenotransplant?

Environmental Science

Gas prices have hit historic highs, and saving money at the pump is more pressing of an issue than ever for the American people. Some are calling for increased access to high blends of biofuels to reduce transportation costs and bolster American energy independence. Biofuels are renewable energy sources derived from biomass and are commonly advocated as cost-effective and environmentally-friendly alternatives to petroleum and other fossil fuels. However, biofuel production can worsen poverty and food scarcity issues in developing countries where crop sources are grown, and they are not without environmental drawbacks.

Should America increase production of and access to biofuels, and to what extent?

You may consider these guiding questions:

  • What are the environmental benefits and drawbacks of biofuels?
  • What is the projected economic impact of implementing biofuels?
  • How does the use of biofuels impact American energy independence?
  • How does biofuel production impact poverty and food scarcity in developing countries?

Computer Science

Machine learning and artificial intelligence have made creating art easier than ever before. Users of AI art generators are able to produce elaborate stories and artworks with minimal input. Thanks to neural network and GAN algorithms, it is easier for any person, regardless of artistic expertise, to express themselves through words and illustrations. However, this raises questions about the authorship of this artwork, and about the classification of a work as art in general. It may also have potential ethical and/or cultural ramifications concerning the ownership of data used to generate this art.

What are the cultural and/or ethical ramifications of art created by AI?

You may consider these guiding questions and resources:

  • What benefits and advantages exist specific to AI and non-AI art? 
  • How can AI and non-AI art be differentiated? Should it be?
  • Are there definite parameters for valuating an art piece? If so, should those be different for AI and non-AI art?
  • Some algorithms of consideration: AI Dungeon, DALL·E 2, Dream by WOMBO

Space Research

Tourism has launched into space, but with a cost. However, the ride to space costs millions to billions of dollars for just a couple of minutes. For $5.5 billion, Jeff Bezos took a trip to space. In the coming years, space tourism will be open to the public as companies learn more about space.   

Should resources used for space research be used toward space tourism?

You may consider these guiding questions:

  • What is the future of space tourism? 
  • How does space tourism impact the economy?
  • How is space tourism related to space exploration?
  • Who should pay for space tourism?