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Today we’re going to talk about ethical data collection. From the Tuskegee syphilis experiments and Henrietta Lacks’ HeLa cells to the horrifying experiments performed at Nazi concentration camps, many strides have been made from Institutional Review Boards (or IRBs) to the Nuremberg Code to guarantee voluntariness, informed consent, and beneficence in modern statistical gathering. But as we’ll discuss, with the complexities of research in the digital age many new ethical questions arise.

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Hi I'm Adrian Hill and welcome back to crash course statistics.

Today we're going to take a step back from sampling and regressions to talk about the impact of all that statistical gathering. We've seen that the interpretation of this information can have real, lasting effects on our society, but its collection can also have lasting effects on the subjects.

The process of gathering and applying statistics can affect real people's lives, which means there's a responsibility to gather and use this data ethically. Today we're gonna discuss five stories. Four of them are real and all of them can help us learn where collecting data can go wrong and how we can help prevent these things from happening again. (0:41) <intro music>

Our first story begins in 1822 when a young fur-trapper named Alexis saint martin got shot in the stomach when another trapper's gun accidentally went off.

The wound was serious, but a local army doctor, William Beaumont, was able to stabaize saint martin through a series of presumably painful anesthetic free surgeries. But doctor Beaumont couldn't close the wound, which left a small hole called a gastric fistula that allowed access to the stomach. Saint martin was out of a job since its hard to be an active fur trapper with a hole in your stomach.

So he signed a contract to become a servant to doctor Beaumont. In addition to traditional chores, saint martin participated in all sorts of experiments at the whim of the doctor. Beaumont (1:32)