Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies


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Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view







ieet books

Apex
Author
by Ramez Naam

The Second Intelligent Species
by Marshall Brain

Anticipating Tomorrow’s Politics
by Ed. David Wood

Post- and Transhumanism: An Introduction
by Robert Ranisch and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner eds.


ieet events

Wallach, Hughes, Vita-More, Smart, Lin, Darling @ Governance of Emerging Technologies
May 26 -28, 2015
Scottsdale, AZ USA


Sorgner @ International Festival of Philosophy
May 31 , 2015
Cologne, Germany


Wallach, Bostrom on “Technological Unemployment and the Future of Work”
June 3 , 2015
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Brin @ Augmented World
June 8 -10, 2015
Santa Clara, CA USA


Danaher @ Clinical Neuroethics: Bench to Bedside
June 17 -19, 2015
Paris, France


PRODUCTIONS OF “CITIZEN CYBORG”
June 27 -10, 2015
NYC, NY USA


Ramez Naam on “Enhancing Humans, Advancing Humanity”
July 22 , 2015
San Francisco, CA USA


Vita-More, Rothblatt, Hughes @ Juniata H+ Conference
July 26 -31, 2015
Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA USA


Sorgner @ International Conference on the Integration of Science, Technology and Society
August 3 -7, 2015
Daejeon, S. Korea


Hughes, Sorgner @ Beyond Humanism Conf: From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?
September 15 -18, 2015
Seoul, S. Korea


ieet news

Hank Pellissier returns to IEET as Fundraiser & Interim Managing Director
(May 20, 2015)

We are pleased to announce that IEET Affiliate Scholar Hank Pellissier is returning to the staff as IEET Interim Managing Director and Fundraiser. Hank was Managing Director from 2011-2012. The 2012-2015 Managing Director, Kris Notaro, who continued Hank’s work and helped recruit more than a hundred additional IEET writers, will begin directing the Rights of the Person Program, focusing on issues of consciousness and personhood.

IEET Readers Lean Toward Possibly Purposeful Universe
(May 8, 2015)

We asked “Does the universe have a purpose?” and of the 120 of you that answered only a quarter said unequivocally “yes.” A third were unequivocally in the “No” purpose camp. But a third held out for purpose being possible, either as a result of our being in a simulation or as something we begin to understand as we become superintelligent.


Technoprogressives Not Enthusiastic about Party-Building (Apr 21, 2015)

IEET Launching Annual Fundraiser (Mar 18, 2015)


ieet articles


We May be Systematically Underestimating the Probability of Annihilation
by Phil Torres
May 27, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

This article examines the risks posed by “unknown unknowns,” which I call monsters. It then introduces a taxonomy of the unknowable, and argues that one category of this taxonomy in particular should lead us to inflate our prior probability estimates of annihilation, whatever they happen to be. The lesson here is ultimately the same as the Doomsday Argument, except the reasoning is far more robust.


Aristotle, Robot Slaves, and a New Economic System
by John G. Messerly
May 27, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jaron Lanier’s book “Who Owns the Future?” discusses the role that technology plays in both eliminating jobs and increasing income inequality. Early in the book Lanier quotes from Aristotle’s Politics:

If every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus, which, says the poet, “of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods; ”if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves.

Aristotle saw that the human condition largely depends on what machines can and cannot do; moreover, we can imagine that machines will do much more.


Hate Speech Hurts - Should It Be Banned?
by Aaron Moritz
May 27, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Sticks and stones can break my bones
, but words can never hurt me

The Nursery Rhyme is Bulls**t. Words hurt.

They don’t physically damage our bodies, but the pain is palpable. It’s also measurable in our brain activity. Social rejection activates the same parts of our brain as a punch to the face or a broken arm.


India: little real progress for most people during the 20-year economic boom
by piero scaruffi
May 26, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

First of all, someone needs to demystify the idea that Westerners have of India. There are two modern empires in Asia: Russia and mainland China. They are empires because they rule over subjects who, given a choice, would probably not want to be part of them and these are big chunks of territory with huge natural resources (Chechnya and other Muslim regions in the case of Russia, Tibet and Xinjang in the case of China). India is never listed alongside them because it used to be a colony. Somehow the colonial past deters people from seeing what is relatively obvious: India too is an empire just like China and Russia that rules over many “conquered” regions that, given a choice, would probably secede.


Three Transhumanist Organizations Fund “Science & Literacy Centre” in Uganda
by Hank Pellissier
May 26, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

The Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA) the Christian Transhumanist Association,  and Alcor Life Extension Foundation  have teamed up to establish a “Science & Literacy Centre” in Kyarumba, a small village in western Uganda. The project has attained 85% of its funding via generous individuals who donated money primarily at the GoFundMe campaign site.


From Children of ‘Witches’ to ‘Child Witches’ in Ghana
by Leo Igwe
May 26, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Children are among those who populate the witch camps in the Northern Ghana. These children are not at the sanctuary because they were accused of witchcraft. They are at these shelters because their mothers or grand mothers were accused. But from my observations, many of these children end up suffering as a result the label of witchcraft applied to their mothers or grand mothers. The belief in child witches exist among the Dagomba and other ethnic communities in the Northern region. But it takes a different dimension.


What, Me Worry? - I Don’t Share Most Concerns About Artificial Intelligence
by Lawrence Krauss
May 26, 2015 • (2) CommentsPermalink

There has of late been a great deal of ink devoted to concerns about artificial intelligence, and a future world where machines can “think,” where the latter term ranges from simple autonomous decision-making to full fledged self-awareness. I don’t share most of these concerns, and I am personally quite excited by the possibility of experiencing thinking machines, both for the opportunities they will provide for potentially improving the human condition, to the insights they will undoubtedly provide into the nature of consciousness.


If We No Longer Force People to Work to Meet Their Basic Needs, Won’t They Stop Working?
by Scott Santens
May 26, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

What underlies a question like this is that it’s okay to force people to work by withholding what they need to live, in order to force them to work for us. And at the same time, because they are forced, we don’t even pay them enough to meet their basic needs that we are withholding to force them to work.

What is a good word to describe this?


Neural Data Privacy Rights - An Issue We *Should* Be Worried About
by Melanie Swan
May 26, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

A worry that is not yet on the scientific or cultural agenda is neural data privacy rights. Not even biometric data privacy rights are in purview yet which is surprising given the personal data streams that are amassing from quantified self-tracking activities. There are several reasons why neural data privacy rights could become an important concern.


When Is A Minion Not A Minion? - Should We Create Aware Machines?
by Aubrey de Grey
May 26, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

If asked to rank humanity’s problems by severity, I would give the silver medal to the need to spend so much time doing things that give us no fulfillment—work, in a word. I consider that the ultimate goal of artificial intelligence is to hand off this burden, to robots that have enough common sense to perform those tasks with minimal supervision.

But some AI researchers have altogether loftier aspirations for future machines: they foresee computer functionality that vastly exceeds our own in every sphere of cognition. Such machines would not only do things that people prefer not to; they would also discover how to do things that no one can yet do. This process can, in principle, iterate—the more such machines can do, the more they can discover.

What’s not to like about that? Why do I NOT view it as a superior research goal than machines with common sense (which I’ll call “minions”)?


The “Reputation Web” Will Generate Countless Opportunities
by Lincoln Cannon
May 26, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Technological change is accelerating and transforming our world. Assuming trends persist, we will soon experience an evolutionary shift in the mechanisms of reputation, a fundamental on which relationships are based. Cascading effects of the shift will revolutionize the way we relate with each other and our machines, incentivizing unprecedented degrees of global cooperation.

In 2015, you probably have more computing power than that of the Apollo Guidance computer in your smartphone, and yet Moore’s Law continues unabated at its fiftieth anniversary. Machines are becoming faster and smaller and smarter.


Human Rights for Cyberconscious Beings
by Martine Rothblatt
May 25, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Even if they aren’t flesh, “mindclones” deserve protection.

For much of the 20th century, capital punishment was carried out in most countries. During the preceding century many, like England, had daily public hangings. Today, even Russia, with a mountainous history of government-ordered executions, has a capital-punishment moratorium. Since 1996, it has not executed a criminal through the judicial system.

If we can learn to protect the lives of serial killers, child mutilators, and terrorists, surely we can learn to protect the lives of peace-loving model citizens known as mind clones and bemans—even if they initially seem odd or weird to us.

excerpt from Virtually Human: The Promise and Peril of Digital Immortality


Does the Biblical God Exist? - I Think We Can Do Better
by Valerie Tarico
May 25, 2015 • (3) CommentsPermalink

On May 20 I participated in a four person debate about the existence of God at Western Washington University. On the ‘yes’ side were Mike Raschko and Mark Markuly  from the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. On the ‘no’ side were Bob Seidensticker and me. Here are my remarks:


The Argument for Legalizing Psychedelics - Part 1: Cognitive Liberty and Creativity
by Hank Pellissier
May 25, 2015 • (2) CommentsPermalink

Marijuana is increasingly being legalized; there are presently ten nations that have either decriminalized cannabis, or are moving rapidly in this direction.

Will psychedelics - psilocybin, LSD, peyote, ayahuasca - soon follow?


Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck
by Scott Santens
May 24, 2015 • (3) CommentsPermalink

Late last year, I took a road trip with my partner from our home in New Orleans, Louisiana to Orlando, Florida and as we drove by town after town, we got to talking about the potential effects self-driving vehicle technology would have not only on truckers themselves, but on all the local economies dependent on trucker salaries. Once one starts wondering about this kind of one-two punch to America’s gut, one sees the prospects aren’t pretty.


The Scientific Method is a Scientific Idea that is Ready for Retirement
by Melanie Swan
May 24, 2015 • (3) CommentsPermalink

The scientific idea that is most ready for retirement is the scientific method itself. More precisely it is the idea that there would be only one scientific method, one exclusive way of obtaining scientific results. The problem is that the traditional scientific method as an exclusive approach is not adequate to the new situations of contemporary science like big data, crowdsourcing, and synthetic biology.


The Long Stop (short story)
by Marcelo Rinesi
May 22, 2015 • (2) CommentsPermalink

The truckers come here in buses, eyes fixed on the ground as they step off and pick up their bags. Truckers aren’t supposed to take the bus.


The Semi-Orthogonality Thesis - examining Nick Bostrom’s ideas on intelligent purpose
by Lincoln Cannon
May 22, 2015 • (4) CommentsPermalink

In his Orthogonality Thesis, Nick Bostrom proposes that “intelligence and final goals are orthogonal: more or less any level of intelligence could in principle be combined with more or less any final goal.”

However, there’s a problem hinted at by the combination of “orthogonality” and “more or less”. Nick acknowledges that intelligent purpose actually does have some constraints. And arguably those constraints are actually quite strong,  which would mean the Orthogonality Thesis is rather weak

But the weakness may not be fatal. We can formulate a Semi-Orthogonality Thesis that actually accounts better for Nick’s own observations and reasoning without overstating their ramifications, which remain momentous.


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The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.

ieet multimedia

Martine Rothblatt and Bina48 interviewed by Joe Rogan
Guest image
Martine Rothblatt

Transformative Technology: An Evolution of Contemplative Practice
Guest image
Mikey Siegel

My daughter, my wife, our robot, and the quest for immortality
Guest image
Martine Rothblatt

The Awareness
Guest image
Henry Dunham

The Ethics of Moral Enhancement
(May 18, 2015)

Science Fiction is Really Important But Not Because It’s Right
(May 14, 2015)

Has the world improved in the last 60 years? (90min)
(May 13, 2015)



comments

Peter Kinnon on 'What, Me Worry? - I Don’t Share Most Concerns About Artificial Intelligence' (May 26, 2015)

instamatic on 'Does the Biblical God Exist? - I Think We Can Do Better' (May 26, 2015)

spud100 on 'The Argument for Legalizing Psychedelics - Part 1: Cognitive Liberty and Creativity' (May 26, 2015)

spud100 on 'What, Me Worry? - I Don’t Share Most Concerns About Artificial Intelligence' (May 26, 2015)

Lincoln Cannon on 'The Semi-Orthogonality Thesis - examining Nick Bostrom’s ideas on intelligent purpose' (May 26, 2015)

rms on 'Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck' (May 26, 2015)

dobermanmac on 'The Semi-Orthogonality Thesis - examining Nick Bostrom’s ideas on intelligent purpose' (May 26, 2015)

JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life




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The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376