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




whats new at ieet

What, Me Worry? - I Don’t Share Most Concerns About Artificial Intelligence

If We No Longer Force People to Work to Meet Their Basic Needs, Won’t They Stop Working?

Neural Data Privacy Rights - An Issue We *Should* Be Worried About

Wallach, Hughes, Vita-More, Smart, Lin, Darling @ Governance of Emerging Technologies

When Is A Minion Not A Minion? - Should We Create Aware Machines?

India: little real progress for most people during the 20-year economic boom


ieet books

Apex
Author
Ramez Naam

The Second Intelligent Species
Marshall Brain

Anticipating Tomorrow’s Politics
Ed. David Wood

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


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)







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JET

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

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


The Scientific Method is a Scientific Idea that is Ready for Retirement
May 24, 2015
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The Age of Transhumanist Politics Has Begun: Will It Change Traditional Concepts of Left and Right?
Apr 27, 2015
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We Should Consider The Future World As One Of Multi-Species Intelligence
May 20, 2015
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‘Let’s Kick Islam & Christianity out of Africa’ - interview with Nigerian activist Jd Otit
May 19, 2015
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RSS feedETHICAL TECHNOLOGY

Lawrence Krauss

What, Me Worry? - I Don’t Share Most Concerns About Artificial Intelligence

by Lawrence Krauss

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.

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Scott Santens

If We No Longer Force People to Work to Meet Their Basic Needs, Won’t They Stop Working?

by Scott Santens

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?

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Melanie Swan

Neural Data Privacy Rights - An Issue We *Should* Be Worried About

by Melanie Swan

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.

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Aubrey de Grey

When Is A Minion Not A Minion? - Should We Create Aware Machines?

by Aubrey de Grey

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”)?

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piero scaruffi

India: little real progress for most people during the 20-year economic boom

by piero scaruffi

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.

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Lincoln Cannon

The “Reputation Web” Will Generate Countless Opportunities

by Lincoln Cannon

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.

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Martine Rothblatt

Human Rights for Cyberconscious Beings

by Martine Rothblatt

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

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Valerie Tarico

Does the Biblical God Exist? - I Think We Can Do Better

by Valerie Tarico

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:

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Hank Pellissier

The Argument for Legalizing Psychedelics - Part 1: Cognitive Liberty and Creativity

by Hank Pellissier

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?

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Scott Santens

Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck

by Scott Santens

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.

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Melanie Swan

The Scientific Method is a Scientific Idea that is Ready for Retirement

by Melanie Swan

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.

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Marcelo Rinesi

The Long Stop (short story)

by Marcelo Rinesi

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.

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Martine Rothblatt and Bina48 interviewed by Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan (podcast site)

IEET Trustee Martine Rothblatt and Bina 48 are interviewed by Joe Rogan

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Lincoln Cannon

The Semi-Orthogonality Thesis - examining Nick Bostrom’s ideas on intelligent purpose

by Lincoln Cannon

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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Hank Pellissier

BiZoHa (in Uganda): the World’s First Atheist Orphanage

by Hank Pellissier

Is every orphanage in the world operated by a religious organization?

Nope. Not any more.

BiZoHa Orphanage was launched by four members of the Brighter Brains Institute - a think-and-do tank located in San Francisco’s East Bay. BiZoHa is situated in Muhokya, in Kasese province, near the Rwenzori mountains of western Uganda, close to the Congo border.

BiZoHa is the world’s first atheist orphanage.

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Leo Igwe

Understanding Witchcraft and Witch Sanctuaries in Northern Ghana

by Leo Igwe

Witch sanctuaries, described by local NGOs as ‘witch camps’, form part of the infrastructure of witchcraft in Northern Ghana. These sanctuaries are shrines, though one of sanctuaries in Gushiegu is not attached to any shrine. Tindana are the heads of the sanctuaries. The Dagbani term, Tindana, literally means - the one who owns the land. They are responsible for consulting the Tindang, the community spirit or god whenever there is a problem like drought or epidemic, war, plague, accusations of death or illness witchcraft, etc

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David Kekich

How Old Are You Now? - What’s Your Biological Age?

by David Kekich

Uh uh. Not so fast.

If your first impulse was to tell me how many years it has been since you were born, stop right there. There could be a huge difference between your chronological age and your biological age.

Let me explain.

Your chronological age measures how long you have been on this planet. Your biological age measures how you look, feel and perform—and is a gauge as to how long you will live. Recent studies have shown that the rate at which you age is only determined 25–35% by your genetics. The rest is up to you.

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Valerie Tarico

Why I am pro-Abortion, not Just Pro-Choice

by Valerie Tarico

Recently, the Daily Kos published an article titled, I Am Pro-Choice, Not Pro-Abortion. “Has anyone ever truly been pro-abortion?” one commenter asked.

Uh. Yes. Me. That would be me.

I am pro-abortion like I’m pro-knee-replacement and pro-chemotherapy and pro-cataract surgery. As the last protection against ill-conceived childbearing when all else fails, abortion is part of a set of tools that help women and men to form the families of their choosing. I believe that abortion care is a positive social good. And I suspect that a lot of other people secretly believe the same thing. And I think it’s time we said so.

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Hank Pellissier returns to IEET as Fundraiser & Interim Managing Director

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.

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Hank Pellissier

Democratic Socialism - is it Ideal for Transhumanism?

by Hank Pellissier

Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, is campaigning to be the next USA President.  He defines himself as a “Democratic Socialist” and praises Scandinavian nations. USA citizenry is largely puzzled and aghast:

“The only thing most American know about socialism is they don’t like it.” - Leo Huberman

In a survey of transhumanists, 16.9% described themselves as Socialist, 4.2% Marxist, 32.7% Liberal, 27.4 Libertarian, and 15.6 Moderate. The Transhumanist Party is running a candidate in 2016 - Zoltan Istvan. I’ll be posting a series of articles on transhumanist political positions.

In this first installment, I interview four contributors to IEET.

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Rick Searle

The Strange Prescience of Frank Herbert’s Dune

by Rick Searle

As William Gibson always reminds us the real role of science-fiction isn’t so much to predict the future as to astound us with the future’s possible weirdness.  It almost never happens that science-fiction writers get core or essential features of this future weirdness right, and when they do, according to Gibson, it’s almost entirely by accident. Nevertheless, someone writing about the future can sometimes, and even deliberately, play the role of Old Testament prophet, seeing some danger to which the rest of us are oblivious and guess at traps and dangers into which we later fall. (Though let’s not forget about the predictions of opportunity.)

Frank Herbert’s Dune certainly wasn’t intended to predict the future, but he was certainly trying to give us a warning.

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David Pearce

High-Tech Jainism: our ethical responsibility is to end suffering on a cosmological scale

by David Pearce

“May all that have life be delivered from suffering”, said Gautama Buddha.

The vision of a happy biosphere isn’t new. Jains, for instance, aim never to hurt another sentient being by word or deed. But all projects of secular and religious utopianism have foundered on the rock of human nature. Evolution didn’t design us to be happy.

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Ben Goertzel

Paranormal Phenomena, Nonlocal Mind, Reincarnation Machines - How I Came to Accept the Paranormal

by Ben Goertzel

While I’m generally an extremely stubborn person,  my opinion has radically changed on some topics over the years. I don’t view this as a bad thing. I don’t aspire to be one of those people whose ideas are set in stone, impervious to growth or adaptation.

Some of my changes of opinion have been purely “changes of heart”—e.g. in my early 20s I transitioned from a teenage solipsism to a more compassion-oriented attitude, due more to internal growth than any external data or stimuli.   

Other times, the cause of my change of opinion has been encountering some body of evidence that I simply hadn’t been aware of earlier.  

The change of mind I’m going to write about here has been of the latter kind— data-driven.

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Melanie Swan

We Should Consider The Future World As One Of Multi-Species Intelligence

by Melanie Swan

Considering machines that think is a nice step forward in the AI debate as it departs from our own human-based concerns, and accords machines otherness in a productive way. It causes us to consider the other entity’s frame of reference. However, even more importantly this questioning suggests a large future possibility space for intelligence.

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Hank Pellissier

‘Let’s Kick Islam & Christianity out of Africa’ - interview with Nigerian activist Jd Otit

by Hank Pellissier

I am interested in “secularizing” Africa because I believe this would benefit the continent intellectually, socially, and economically. To help advance this goal I support Kasese Humanist Primary School, and I co-launched BiZoHa - the world’s first atheist orphanage.

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Transformative Technology: An Evolution of Contemplative Practice

Cyborg Buddha and the New Technologies of Awareness, Smith College Buddhist Studies

Mikey Siegel, IEET Affiliate Scholar, speaking at Smith College Buddhist Studies on his “consciousness hacking” innovations

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Aaron Moritz

Ketosis Makes Your Brain Work Better, That’s Why Dave Asprey Puts Butter in his Coffee

by Aaron Moritz

Every morning for the last four and a half months, I’ve broken off a large chunk of grass fed butter (usually around 50 grams or just over three tablespoons) and a couple tablespoons of coconut oil and thrown them in a blender with my morning coffee. You might have heard of this idea, dubbed ‘bulletproof coffee’ and created by a guy called Dave Asprey. 1

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Zoltan Istvan

The Culture of Transhumanism Is About Self-Improvement

by Zoltan Istvan

Over the last few years, I’ve received various reactions from the public about my articles on transhumanism. Those reactions have ranged all across the board—from spewing hatred to mocking skepticism to genuine interest. The thing with transhumanism—the core of its message—is whatever it espouses, it’s new thinking. Whether it’s brain implants,  bionic limbs, designer babies, robotic hearts, exoskeleton suits, artificial intelligence, or gene therapies that aim to eliminate biological death, it’s decidedly uncharted territory for the human species.

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My daughter, my wife, our robot, and the quest for immortality

TED

IEET Trustee Martine Rothblatt now heads up a drug company that makes life-saving medicines for rare diseases (including one drug that saved her own daughter’s life). Meanwhile she is working to preserve the consciousness of the woman she loves in a digital file ... and a companion robot. In an onstage conversation with TED’s Chris Anderson, Rothblatt shares her powerful story of love, identity, creativity, and limitless possibility.

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George Dvorsky

Scientists Make Monkeys Smarter Using Brain Implants - Could You Be Next?

by George Dvorsky

For the very first time, scientists have demonstrated that a brain implant can improve thinking ability in primates. By implanting an electrode array into the cerebral cortex of monkeys, researchers were able to restore — and even improve — their decision-making abilities. The implications for possible therapies are far-reaching, including potential treatments for cognitive disorders and brain injuries.

But there’s also the possibility that this could lead to implants that could boost your intelligence.

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