Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies






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




whats new at ieet

Sorgner, Wallach @ International Conference on the Integration of Science, Technology and Society

The Social Fabric of a Technically Advanced Society

America’s best-kept sex secret: lots of us don’t want it

Free Will Does Not Exist - Should it be a Transhumanist Enhancement?

Will Transhumanism Lead to Greater Freedom?

The Yuck Factor — What Planned Parenthood Smears, Homophobia, & Middle School Have in Common


ieet books

Envisioning Politics 2.0
Author
David Wood and Alexander Karran eds.

The Future of Business
Ed. Rohit Talwar

A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control
Wendell Wallach

Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach
Roman Yampolskiy


comments

Khannea Suntzu on 'The Social Fabric of a Technically Advanced Society' (Aug 2, 2015)

isambard on 'The Meaning of Freedom' (Jul 31, 2015)

johnmesserly on 'Transhumanist Therapy II: A Century of Electronic Psychotherapy' (Jul 31, 2015)

Peter Wicks on 'Free Will Does Not Exist - Should it be a Transhumanist Enhancement?' (Jul 31, 2015)

johnmesserly on 'America’s best-kept sex secret: lots of us don’t want it' (Jul 30, 2015)

spud100 on 'Free Will Does Not Exist - Should it be a Transhumanist Enhancement?' (Jul 30, 2015)

Peter Wicks on 'Free Will Does Not Exist - Should it be a Transhumanist Enhancement?' (Jul 30, 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


If We Can Achieve Gay Marriage and Legal Pot, We Can Fix Climate Change Too
Jul 18, 2015
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Transhumanism: there are [at least] ten different philosophical categories; which one(s) are you?
Jul 8, 2015
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(12) Comments

Transhumanism – The Final Religion?
Jul 16, 2015
(8568) Hits
(6) Comments

Robosapiens – merging with machines will improve humanity at an exponential rate
Jul 7, 2015
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RSS feedETHICAL TECHNOLOGY

Nicole Sallak Anderson

The Social Fabric of a Technically Advanced Society

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

There is so much human potential. I see it everywhere I turn. Yet something seems to hold us back, ever so slightly, from actually becoming a stable species. Yes, we have come a long way, yet at this moment in time it seems we have but two choices before us, begin to cooperate and live in harmony, or destroy everything, including our planet.

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Valerie Tarico

America’s best-kept sex secret: lots of us don’t want it

by Valerie Tarico

America’s obsession with sex is rivaled only by America’s obsession with repressing sex—except for the millions of Americans who find the whole thing simply uninteresting.

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Hank Pellissier

Free Will Does Not Exist - Should it be a Transhumanist Enhancement?

by Hank Pellissier

Humans Do Not Have Free Will.

I agree with that statement. So do the vast majority of today’s scientists; neurology and psychology journals increasingly define free will as “an illusion… a figment of our imagination.”

In his 1932 “My Credo” Albert Einstein wrote “I do not believe in free will.”  In the best-seller Free Will, Sam Harris declares the notion “incoherent.” Neuro-philosopher Garrett Merriam opines in an IEET interview “the notion of ‘free will’.. [is a] useless concept… I have high hopes that neuroscience will…eliminate [it]…”

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John G. Messerly

Will Transhumanism Lead to Greater Freedom?

by John G. Messerly

A friend emailed me to say that he believed that transhumanists should strive to be free, if free will doesn’t currently exist, or strive to be freer, if humans currently possess some small modicum of free will. He also suggested that becoming transhuman would expedite either process. In short he was claiming that transhumanists should desire more freedom.

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Valerie Tarico

The Yuck Factor — What Planned Parenthood Smears, Homophobia, & Middle School Have in Common

by Valerie Tarico

Medical procedures and research are yucky. Good healthcare means getting over it. If religious conservatives have their way, reproductive healthcare will be dictated by the same psychology that drives middle school jokes about genitals, dead babies and poop—our instinctive squeamish reaction to things that are disgusting and shocking, especially if they relate to sex. Good thing public health advocates and medical providers have a higher set of priorities.

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Rick Searle

The King of Weird Futures

by Rick Searle

Back in the late winter I wrote a review of the biologist Edmund O. Wilson’s grandiloquently mistitled tract-  The Meaning of Human Existence. As far as visions of the future go Wilson’s was a real snoozer, although for that very reason it left little to be nervous about. The hope that he articulated in his book being that we somehow manage to keep humanity pretty much the same- genetically at least- “as a sacred trust”,  in perpetuity. It’s a bio-conservatism that, on one level, I certainly understand, but one I also find incredibly unlikely given that the future consists of….well…. an awfully long stretch of time (that is as long as we’re wise enough or just plain lucky ). How in the world can we expect, especially in light of current advances in fields like genetics, neuroscience, artificial intelligence etc, that we can, or even should, keep humanity essentially unchanged not just now, but for 100 years, or 1000s year, 10,000s years, or even longer?

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William Sims Bainbridge

Transhumanist Therapy II: A Century of Electronic Psychotherapy

by William Sims Bainbridge

While less controversial than it was fifty years ago, psychotherapy is an anomalous feature of modern culture, plagued by defects.  Among its shortcomings, psychotherapy has made remarkably little use of information technologies. This blog considers electronic devices to measure human emotional response, that may have been stigmatized by their use in radical religious movements, or by their origins in primitive attempts a century ago to cure neurotics.  I do not recommend simply adopting those religious or therapeutic practices, but adapting the technology to new uses.  A mentally healthy individual could employ emotion-sensing hardware to identify personal goals, consider the meaning of past events, and explore future possibilities.

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George Dvorsky

Penis 2.0: Here’s What the Penis of the Future Should Look Like

by George Dvorsky

Like our brains, the human penis hasn’t evolved in tens of thousands of years — and that’s a real shame. Our favorite male body part is capable of so much more. In consideration of pending advances in science and technology, here’s what to expect with penis 2.0.

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David Brin

Altruistic Horizons: Our tribal natures, the ‘fear effect’ and the end of ideologies

by David Brin

Social thinkers long yearned for the kind of predictive power offered by universal laws of Galileo, Newton and Einstein—reductionist rules that changed our relationship with the material world, from helplessness to manipulative skill. If only similar patterns and laws were found for human nature! Might we construct an ideal society suited to decent living by all?

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10 Scientists Killed by Their Own Experiments

AllTime10s

They’ve plunged to their deaths, been irradiated and suffocated, all in the name of science. Meet the 10 Scientists who’ve killed themselves during their own experiments.

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Roland Benedikter

Zoltan Istvan’s “Teleological Egocentric Functionalism”: An approach to viable politics?

by Roland Benedikter

The current foundation phase of “Transhumanist” politics deserves a critical discussion of the philosophical principles that implicitly underlie its new political organization. As part of the effort towards a self-critical evaluation of political transhumanism, which is undoubtedly still in a very early phase of development, this chapter discusses the philosophy drafted by the founder of the “Transhumanist Party of the USA”, Zoltan Istvan, in his bestselling novel “The Transhumanist Wager” (2013) dedicated to develop the vision of a better society. Istvan called the philosophy underlying his meta-national, if not global, vision “Teleological Egocentric Functionalism”. We discuss the achievements, contradictions and dialectics of and within this philosophy; its possible relation to realistic social policy programs; as well as the potential implications and consequences. The goal is to achieve a more considered overall discourse at the contested new ideological interface between humanism and transhumanism which could define an influential zeitgeist of our time.

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Partiality to Humanity and Enhancement

Science, Technology & the Future

On July 3, 2015 Julian Savulescu spoke at at the University of Melbourne conference on “Human Enhancement: Destiny or Disaster?” on “Partiality to Humanity and Enhancement.”  Julian Savulescu​ discusses the bioethics of enhancement of persons - liberal and conservative views on enhancement, moral enhancement (of course) and ways forward. (Bernard Williams’ and Gerald Cohen’s conservative stances towards transhumanism are discussed). Great talk and interesting discussion afterwards.

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What if Nothing is Sacred? Politics and Bioethics without Sanctity

Science, Technology & the Future

On July 3, 2015 IEET Fellow Russell Blackford spoke at at the University of Melbourne conference on “Human Enhancement: Destiny or Disaster?” “What if Nothing is Sacred? Politics and Bioethics without Sanctity.”  The prospect of enhancing human mental and physical abilities above normal limits has been enthusiastically embraced by several leading bioethicists and philosophers. However, many people are alarmed by the thought of humans being able to enhance themselves, fearing that this ability may be misused. In this conference leading philosophers and bioethicists come together to discuss whether or not human enhancement is the destiny we should embrace or a potential disaster we should avoid.

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David Wood

Four political futures: which will you choose?

by David Wood

Politics is being shaped by our responses to the prospect of accelerating, exponential technological change. Technosceptics deny accelerating change will occur. Technoconservatives accept that accelerating change poses radical questions, and want to stem the tide of change. Technolibertarians believe accelerating change will be for the best, and technology and capitalism just need to be left to work their wonders. Technoprogressives believe accelerating change poses serious risks as well as rewards, and that we can maximize the rewards and minimize the risks through public policy.

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Marcelo Rinesi

Short story: At the End of the World

by Marcelo Rinesi

As the seas rose and the deserts grew, the wealthiest families and the most necessary crops moved poleward, seeking survivable summers and fertile soils.

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10 Technologies That Could Make Humans Immortal

AllTime10s

Will humans ever live forever? With these technological advancements maybe one day. From Robot Avatars to Scientists Manipulating Molecules Alltime10s proudly presents 10 Technologies That Could Make Humans Immortal.

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Steve Fuller

Can transhumanism avoid becoming the Marxism of the 21st century?

by Steve Fuller

Is there any politically tractable strategy for transhumanism to avoid the Bismarckian move, which ultimately curtails the capacity of basic research to explore and challenge the fundamental limits of our being? My answer is as follows: Transhumanists need to take a more positive attitude towards the military.

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Alexey Turchin

Mapping Approaches to AI Safety

by Alexey Turchin

When I started to work on this map of AI safety solutions, I wanted to illustrate the excellent 2013 article “Responses to Catastrophic AGI Risk: A Survey” by Kaj Sotala and IEET Affiliate Scholar Roman V. Yampolskiy, which I strongly recommend. However, during the process I had a number of ideas to expand the classification of the proposed ways to create safe AI.

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Emergence, Reduction & Artificial Intelligence

The Rational Future

IEET Fellow Ben Goertzel formalized emergence in his book ‘The Evolving Mind’ as patterns that appear when you put two or more things together that are not there in any of the individual parts. The concept of emergence is controversial to some - for example Eliezer Yudkowski, who favors reductionism, wrote a critique at Less Wrong.  Do reductionists often dismiss emergence?

The Attack of the Aliens from Vector Space: Steps Toward a Complex Systems Theory of Categorization and Similarity: (Emergence & Compression) Extract: “The important concept of emergent pattern is defined: a pattern emerges between two entities if it is present in the combination of the two entities, but not in either of the entities separately. And the structural complexity of an entity is defined as the “total amount” of pattern in it. If the Metapattern is accepted, then these two concepts become essential to any analysis of biological reality.

We turn from these abstractions to a concrete biological example: the mammalian immune system. The theory of clonal selection states that immune systems evolve by natural selection; using the computer simulations of Alan Perelson, Rob deBoer and their colleagues as a guide, we inquire as to the exact nature of this evolution.

We conclude that, in immune systems, survival is roughly proportional to emergence: those antibodies which generate a large amount of emergent pattern in conjunction with other antibodies, will tend to survive.

It is argued that this correlation between emergence and survival also applies to the evolution of species: that an organism which generates a large amount of emergent pattern in conjunction with its environment will tend to survive. Since the environment of each organism consists partially of other organisms, this implies that an ecosystem is an enormously complex “system of pattern equations.” This principle is illustrated with biological examples.”

 

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Keith B. Wiley

Mind Uploading and The Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything

by Keith B. Wiley

We stand at the cusp of guaranteeing the survival of fundamental purpose in the universe, reality, and existence by insuring the continuation of consciousness. This is a far grander calling than merely enabling individual life extension. Existential metaphysical purpose is our foremost responsibility as conscious beings, and computer intelligence is the method of achieving it.

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IEET Audience Sees a Virtual Future for Sex

We asked the IEET audience “In the coming century will face-to-face, in-body sex be more or less common?” given tech that will encourage virtualization such as brainjacks, porn, sexbots, and electronically-mediated sex. Or will we revel in our newly young, perpetually healthy, and hormonally tweaked bodies by having a lot more face-to-face sex. The 140 of you who responded were two-to-one convinced we are headed for more virtual sex.

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Danaher Publishes Human Enhancement, Social Solidarity and the Distribution of Responsibility

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher has a new paper in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice that argues for how human enhancement does not threaten social solidarity.

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Ramez Naam

If We Can Achieve Gay Marriage and Legal Pot, We Can Fix Climate Change Too

by Ramez Naam

A decade ago, it was nearly inconceivable that in 2015, gay marriage would be legal across the US and marijuana fully legal in four states plus the District of Columbia. Yet it happened. It happened because citizens who wanted change led, from the bottom up, often through citizens initiatives.

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Neurolaw

Case In Point

Professor Stephen Morse of UPenn explores the state of play between law and neuroscience, where neurolaw is headed and what it means for personal responsibility.

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Rene Milan

Specifications: An engineer’s approach to upgrading politics

by Rene Milan

Politics 2.0 – what might that mean?  Like most people probably would, i immediately associated it with the numbering system commonly used in software releases, but having worked as a programmer for 30 years i could not see how this could be applied to something as complex and diffuse as politics.  However if taken as something like a cognitive metaphor i still could not clearly grasp its meaning, beyond the vague implication of improvement over Politics 1.x, presumably what humanity is struggling with today.

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Valerie Tarico

Losing Your Religion in Sin City – An Interview with Sociologist Lori Fazzino

by Valerie Tarico

What do vampires and Las Vegas atheists have in common? Ethical rules, social stigma, and a hunger for community. When people think about Las Vegas, most picture some combination of gambling, burlesque, night clubs and legalized prostitution—the pleasures that earned Vegas the nickname Sin City. But when Sociologist Lori Fazzino thinks about Las Vegas, she pictures churches.

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What is the Future of Advertising?

Review the Future

Hosts Ted Kupper and IEET Affiliate Scholar Jon Perry discuss the future of advertising, which we define as the ‘sale of attention.’ People mostly hate ads, but why do they? Is it possible to make ads so well targeted that people actually enjoy the experience? We discuss the remarkably constant amount of advertising as a percent of GDP over a long stretch of history. We ponder the ways accelerating technologies might allow for better metrics and better ad designs in the future, and we wonder whether a large-scale consumer collapse might disrupt advertising’s steady growth. Speculating on the future, we imagine that nearly everything that remains scarce in the future might one day be ad-supported.

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Hank Pellissier

DIY Philanthropy - Four Simple Tips on Helping Directly

by Hank Pellissier

I critiqued the Effective Altruist movement in a previous essay, and suggested a superior alternative: DIY Philanthropy. My recommendation is to erase the ‘middleman” in charitable giving by donating directly to the people you want to assist. Instead of spending hours trying to decide the best non-profit to scribble a check to, you can travel directly to those in need and hand them cash, food, medicine or supplies. Face-to-Face.

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Wallach Publishes in Prestigious NAS Journal

IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach recently co-published an article in the National Academy of Sciences‘ ISSUES in Science and Technology journal, with ASU law professor Gary E. Marchant,  The piece is entitled Coordinating Technology Governance and it explores the need for, and application of, a nimble authoritative coordinating body, referred to as a Governance Coordination Committee, to fill an urgent gap with regard to the assessment of the ethical, legal, social and economic consequences of emerging technologies.

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Dirk Bruere

Transhumanism – The Final Religion?

by Dirk Bruere

After several decades of relative obscurity Transhumanism as a philosophical and technological movement has finally begun to break out of its strange intellectual ghetto and make small inroads into the wider public consciousness. This is partly because some high profile people have either adopted it as their worldview or alternatively warned against its potential dangers. Indeed, the political scientist Francis Fukuyama named it “The world’s most dangerous idea” in a 2004 article in the US magazine Foreign Policy, and Transhumanism’s most outspoken publicist, Ray Kurzweil, was recently made director of engineering at Google, presumably to hasten Transhumanism’s goals.

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