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Mapping Wild Cards

Inspired by: FP7 » Scientists up for murder as ethical issues for research are abolished

version: 7 / updated: 2011-04-27
id: #1729 / version id: #1024
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Anthony Walker
List of all contributors by versions (mouse over)
Last changed by: Rafael Popper
WI-WE status:

Source of inspiration

European Commission Framework Programme for RTD (FP7)

Theme/activity of inspiration

CAPACITIES: Science and society

Sub-theme/area of inspiration

Strategic activities

Optional reference/s to FP7 project/s

Use the following format: Project Acronym (Project Reference No.). Use commas if more than one project is associated to this Wild Card, for example: ALFA-BIRD (213266), SAFAR (213374), LAPCAT-II (211485)


(max. 9 words)

Scientists up for murder as ethical issues for research are abolished


(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Wild Card (approx. 150 words)
All ethical issues are removed from research and development, but there is an uprising of an opposition until there are calls for researchers to be accused of murder. As research trials on humans becomes prevalent, vulnerable sections of society (homeless, people with mental illness, 3rd world societies) are exploited and become guinea pigs for very risky research trials.


Ethics, research and development, researchers, murder, uprising


(max. 250 characters)

As all ethical issues are removed from research and development, there is an uprising of an opposition fuelled by calls for researchers to be accused of murder after parts of society become human guinea pigs.


Closest timeframe for at least 50% likelihood
Please use one of the following options:

Features of life if the wild card manifests

Feature 2: education and research environment
Reduction in researchers through fear. Limited control over quality of research results (fraudulent and incorrect claims of research).
Feature 3: consumers, markets and lifestyles
No standards, therefore potential for vested interests in promoting own products (by manipulating research results and societal need (e.g. vaccine to cure all claimed).
Feature 5: politics and global affairs
Propaganda of results dependent on demographic need.
Feature 6: health and quality of life
Human and self-testing to become more prevalent. Human trafficking increases. Vulnerable sections of society are exploited (as the need for money is important – ‘here is £1000 if I can trial a drug on you’) Possibility of creation of new social underclass. Tests on pregnant women could create new genetic deformities.

Type of event

Human planned (e.g. terrorist attack or funded scientific breakthrough)

Type of emergence

please select (if any) describe related trend or situation
A new development/situation
(e.g. a Romani state is established in central Europe; A message from an alien civilisation existing on a distant planet is received and understood, etc.

Historical parallels

Ethical controls have grown with time in the past so this is


please specify:
please select
Level 1: important for a particular country Not likely to be universal so would affect collaboration

Early indicators

(including weak signals)

There are currently differences between different countries, particularly the developed world which is also vulnerable to exploitation from outside countries.

Latent phase

Obstacles for early indentification

information/communicational filters (media/editorial interests, language, reasoning)
cultural/religious filters (values, traditions, faith, spiritual beliefs)
institutional filters (rules, laws, regulations)
political filters (party or ideological interests)

Manifestation phase

Type of manifestation

In a probably enclosed way (e.g. geographically, sectorally)

Aftermath phase

Important implications
Transformation of a system (e.g. new applications, change in stakeholders relations/influence)


May be manipulated for gain on a national level

Key drivers or triggers

Provide up to 2 possible drivers or triggers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
please describe
Driver / Trigger 1
please describe
Driver / Trigger 2
Social Interest in ethics reduced
Economic Presedance
Political Decision

Potential impacts (risks & opportunities)

Timeframe options
Risks Opportunities
(within 1 year after the Wild Card manifests)
Growth of direct action groups
short term
(1 to 5 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Reduction in researchers

Potential stakeholders' actions

it occurs
it occurs
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) Policy decision Policy decision
Academic/Research sector Voluntary ethics code adopted
Non-for-profit organisations (e.g. NGOs, political parties, social movements, voluntary associations) Pressure applied Pressure applied
Media Reporting

Relevance for Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Ethics and abuse of S&T Free rein
Governance and trust in democracy Affected

Relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Health Most likely to affect humans directly

Pan-European strategies potentially helping to deal with the wild card

please justify:
particularly relevant
Improving researchers mobility and career development by, for example, realising a single labour market for researchers. Less likely to have unilateral national action

Relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
Less likely to have unilateral national action (for researchers mobility and careers). Research results need to be monitored for quality.