One experiment that has had a huge positive impact on society, but also has the potential to result in unethical consequences is genetic engineering.
Scientists have been studying our DNA to detect mutations, identify our risk for certain diseases, and detect our inherited traits for medical, genealogical, and even forensic purposes. It's main goal, however, is to identify "key" genes in the human DNA, which control the expression of specific traits and diseases, so that they could be edited, corrected, and manipulated.
Through the years, these experiments has lead to several advancements that has benefited society.
In medicine, it has helped geneticists develop new cures and therapies to cure specific diseases. It has also helped prospective parents better prepare for the birth of their babies with newborn screening. It has even helped individuals identify their risk for certain diseases, so they can prepare accordingly. In the future, the hope is that through genetic engineering, scientists can eventually eradicate disease and extend the human lifespan.
In other fields, it has also helped improve food security through the development of genetically engineered crops and farm animals. And biologists today believe that with genetic engineering, the possibility of resurrecting formerly extinct animals like the mammoth or dodo is not far behind.
Despite these positive impacts, our genetic engineering experiments are still fraught with issues and dilemmas that can render it unethical.
One of the biggest ethical issues surrounding genetic engineering is the slippery slope it presents toward "designer babies", and eventually, eugenics where selective breeding is used to engineer a superior race. The argument is that while genetic engineering can help prevent diseases linked to faulty DNA, it also predisposes the population to the idea of "designer babies", where parents can pick and choose the traits they want for their offspring.
Given how expensive these procedures could be, this could lead to a society where rich people's children will be biologically superior over their middle class counterparts. And if taken a few steps further, the events of the 1997 sci-fi film Gattaca about a "not too distant future" where nearly everyone has been genetically-engineered, may not be too far fetched.
And finally, one of the breakthroughs scientists are hoping to achieve is the ability to edit human germline cells, such that any enhancements done on a person can be carried over to his or her offspring, as well.
This could be considered unethical because while the person gave his consent to have his DNA changed, his offspring did not. So, this begs the question of how far should we go in our attempts to improve our DNA.
It is clear that genetic engineering is one experiment that has had a huge impact on society. From securing our food source to potentially eradicating diseases and creating a healthier population with a longer lifespan. However, given its potentially unethical consequences, genetic engineering is also a field where we should thread lightly.
Hope this helps.
My mad scientist unethical psychology experiment would be something similar to what the protagonist character did in Ray Bradbury's short story "The Toynbee Convector". I would manipulate the population into believing in a positive future with props and faked documentation.
I'd go a little further than the short story and start "gaslighting" the population. I would take certain random individuals and brainwash them into believing they went into this positive future and returned. In other words instead of alien abductions it would be random people who start accidentally having timeslips into the future and "bringing back" examples of what the future is like.
The "Golden Rule" is the only experiment that I believe will have great impact on society as a whole.
How does the Golden rule impact the society?
Firstly, you won't be able to apply the Golden rule if you don't know what the Golden rule is all about.
The Golden rule is also known as the "law of reciprocity". It states that do unto others what you wish to be done onto you. This means you have to want and love for others what you love and want for your own self.
The Golden rule can impact the society and the world as a whole by enabling every individual applying the Golden rule into their lives. I will make a few list about how it can positively impact our world and society.
1) ZERO CRIME RATE: Are you gonna be happy if anyone engage in any criminal activities with you such as stealing, raping, oppression, etc. If your answer is NO, don't do that for others. The Golden rule doesn't support crime.
2) INCREASING HAPPINESS : Everyone always wants to be happy and no one wants to be sad. Will you be yourself whenever people make you sad? If your answer is NO, stop making people sad because you don't like to feel sad. The Golden rule supports making everyone happy just like you want to be happy.
3) PROMOTING LOVE: How do you feel whenever you feel loved by people? I am sure it is a very great feeling. If feeling loved by people is a great happiness for you, you also have to love others. Always enable you love other people the way you wish to be loved. I believe whenever there is love, they can never be war and this increases the peace of the world. Let always enable we spread love anywhere we find ourselves because it is the Golden rule.
4) HELPING OTHERS: Won't you loved to be helped whenever you need a helper? I am sure everyone wants this. The fact is you have to start helping others the way you wish to be helped as this constitutes the Golden rule.
5) MAKING IMPACT : No one has ever applied the Golden rule without them making impact. The Golden rule enables you to make positive impact in people's lives as it deals develop a sense of compassion for others. Anyone who applies Golden rule is automatically making an impact. The more our impact in people's lives, the more the development of our environment.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps.
I realize that you are probably looking for a scientific experiment as an answer, but I'd like to take things in a bit of a different direction—hope that's okay with you.
I'd like to propose a social experiment that would be unethical because it's not known what the end result would be.
The experiment I'd propose would be the abolishment of government entirety. For tens of thousands of years we've allowed ourselves to be convinced that we must be subjects of a governing class that provides us with the rules needed to operate within society. While I can more easily understand the need for governance in the discontinued eras of the past, I'm not completely convinced that it's as needed in today's connected world. I'm also not convinced government isn't needed. Day in and day out, our "leaders" make decisions not on behalf of their constituents or subjects, but instead they make decisions that further their own power and wealth for themselves and the cronies who control them.
That said, if we were to take such a bold leap, I do feel that we would ultimately come out the other end of "the experiment" better, as we would have the tools needed to create a new form of governance that is reflective of our collective values, and of our newfound ability to each have a voice in real time. The blockchain is the single biggest advancement in technology that could stand to replace centralized governance/economic engines with decentralized, better thought out and transparent varients of each.
Would absolute mayhem break out? Maybe. Would it last for all time? Probably not.
Why am I convinced that Anarchy wouldn't lead to unending chaos? Because I'm quite certain that chaos isn't something the majority of us value.
Therefore even if removing the rules—rules that only rule followers currently follow—for a period of time might result in short term chaos, and potentially the untimely death of many individuals and loss of property, I have no doubts that eventually those of us who are good, kind, and empathetic beings (the majority of people) would find a way to reframe society in a manner that best serves the majority as opposed to the elite castes that have always held all the power since the beginning of humanities time on this planet.
Is what I speak of above unethical? Absolutely, good people would certainly die! Would the sacrifice be worth it? Maybe, but I wouldn't want to be the person responsible for making that decision.
Hope this was at the very least, an interesting read!