The Be Better Club

An informal ethics discussion group

Students, faculty, and staff interested interested in talking with us about contemporary ethical issues are welcome to participate in the bi-weekly “Be Better Club,” an informal but informed bi-weekly discussion group. Topics are chosen by community interest and driven by your thinking.

Discussions are held by Zoom and are open to everyone. Join us at
https://ucf.zoom.us/j/94911033007

Previous Discussions

March 31, 2023

Thought Experiments in Ethics

Thought experiments are designed by ethicists to support arguments. But how helpful are they?

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/p9BxhuKN2Mk


February 28, 2023

Wealth and Inequality

Wealth tax, universal basic income, automation and technology. What makes wealth distribution a justice issue?
FRAMING PODCAST: 15 October 2023. Wealth Inequality Escalation. Stats & Stories.


January 31, 2023

Water Scarcity and Ethical Access to Resources

When natural resources become threatened, how do we share ethically? We’ll talk tragic commons and changing climates.
FRAMING PODCAST: Baraka. 28 March 2022. A Drowning World: Kenya’s Quiet Slide Underwater. The Long Read.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/wO6Z_ekff6k


November 29, 2022

Critical R* Theory and FL HB7

Some concepts become politicized. We’ll discuss tensions between politics, policy, and power.
FRAMING PODCAST: Hayes. 15 June 2022. Understanding ‘How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics’ with Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò. Why is This Happening?

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/_ofn7J1mnXM


October 25, 2022

Public/Private Partnerships

Do we make moral exceptions to otherwise tricky ethical issues during crises? Should we?
FRAMING PODCAST: Marks, J. 11 March 2022. The Perils of Partnership. UCF Ethically Speaking.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/XUym03B1PrQ


September 27, 2022

Extraterrestrial Environmentalism

What do we do about space trash, off-planet pollutants, and interplanetary invasive species? What is an environmental ethics of space?
FRAMING PODCAST:Adkins. 9 December 2021. Space Environmentalism. Celestial Citizen.


August 30, 2022

Rights and Personhood

What sorts of things have rights? How do we decide? We’ll talk babies, cephalopods, and artificial agents.
FRAMING PODCAST: Peña-Guzmán and Anderson. 7 June 2022. Animal Personhood. Overthink.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/KsXS_95kmjY


April 27, 2022

Humans, Inhumans, and the In-Between

Chatbots push us down the hill into uncanny valleys, but also might help us connect. UCF Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Stevie Carnell will join us to talk about her cutting-edge work on teh Ethics of Conversational User Interfaces.
FRAMING PODCAST: 5 May 2019. The Ethics of Chatbots. The Conversologist, Ep2..

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/UfTeshLHfQ8


March 30, 2022

Baby Xenobots and Other Potential Horrors

So xenobots procreated. We’ll talk implications, both positive and negative, of the rise of artificial life.
FRAMING PODCAST: Levin, M. 12 October 2021. Synthetic Living Organisms. UCF’s Ethically Speaking.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/luoCdohmcnY


March 16, 2022

Facial Recognition, AI, and You

Like the old western, there’s good, bad, and ugly here. We’ll talk them through and see where you stand.
FRAMING PODCAST:MIT. 12 October 2021. How AI is Destroying Our Moral and Civil Efficacy. Bold Stories. Future Focused.

Review on YouTube 


February 28, 2022

Rise of the Robots

As robotics become more advanced, robots play a bigger and bigger role in tasks that humans traditionally have done. What are the ethical limits, if any, to their rise?
FRAMING PODCAST: Beard, M. 25 December 2020. Should Robots Replace Humans? Short and Curly.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/joGlW5V4DBc


February 14, 2022

Morally Neutral or Morally Neutered?

The volume is up in the critique against perceived political bias in higher education. What gives? What does the future look like?

FRAMING PODCAST: Coaston, J. 8 December 2021. Can a New University Really Fix Academia’s Free Speech Problem? The Argument.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/g0qEUnOw634


November 9, 2021

Data Scraping and the IRB

What are the ethically relevant differences between data scraped from online social media and other human subjects data?
FRAMING PODCAST: Rodebaugh, T. and Leary, M. September 2014. More than meets the IRB – Social media research ethics: Considering the Facebook “emotional contagion” study. HRPO Podcasts.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/joGlW5V4DBc


October 26, 2021

AI and Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous systems challenge views of responsibility, blame, and agency. What should a future of ethical AI look like?
FRAMING PODCAST: Burnley, M. 01 April 2021. “A.I. in the Driver’s Seat.” A.I. Nation.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/KeeQTvwwYh0


October 12, 2021

Online Learning, Choice, and Equity

Cameras on or off? Attending live or listening later? How do we balance engagement, privacy, and choice for students learning online?
FRAMING PODCAST: Stommel, J. July 29, 2020. How to Be Together in Learning Online. Teaching in Higher Ed.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/_qTwoEaDnGo


September 28, 2021

Intellectual Property, Ownership, and Theft

What are the ethical concerns around intellectual property? What are their implications in new FL legislation like FL HB 7017 and 1523?
FRAMING PODCAST: Aronczyk, A. 26 June 2020. Seed Spy. Planet Money. After Dinner Conversation.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/rvLWgwOLSA0


September 14, 2021

Free Speech, Intellectual Diversity, and HB 233

What’s the relationship between intellectual diversity and free speech in academic contexts?
FRAMING PODCAST: Gladstone, B. 04 June 2021. There is No ‘Cancel Culture’. On The Media.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/phmqcB_6wbM


August 31, 2021

Vaccines, Variants, and Uncertainty

As we negotiate viral variants, what’s the right thing to do? How do we deal with ongoing uncertainty about a changing risk landscape?
FRAMING PODCAST: Baker and Maxmen. 04 June 2021. Coronapod: Uncertainty and COVID ‘lab-leak’ theory.

Review on YouTube https://youtu.be/ZYAloMFnlgI