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




whats new at ieet

Artificial Intelligence, Anthropics & Cause Prioritization

What is the Difference between Posthumanism and Transhumanism?

Building the Virtues Control Panel

Convergent Risk, Social Futurism, and the Wave of Change (Part 2 of 2)

Beauty Is Skin-deep—But That’s Where Genetic Engineering Is Going Next

Convergent Risk, Social Futurism, and the Wave of Change (Part 1 of 2)


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
by Martine Rothblatt

Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds
by Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick eds.

Between Ape and Artilect: Conversations with Pioneers of AGI and Other Transformative Technologies
by Ben Goertzel ed.

Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution
by Ted Chu


comments

CygnusX1 on 'The Problem with the Trolley Problem, or why I avoid utilitarians near subways' (Jul 28, 2014)

instamatic on 'Beauty Is Skin-deep—But That’s Where Genetic Engineering Is Going Next' (Jul 27, 2014)

instamatic on 'Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About Religious Freedom 200 Years From Now!' (Jul 27, 2014)

contraterrine on 'Radcliffe-Richards on Sexual Inequality and Justice (Part Two)' (Jul 27, 2014)

contraterrine on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 27, 2014)

Rick Searle on 'The Problem with the Trolley Problem, or why I avoid utilitarians near subways' (Jul 27, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'How do you explain consciousness?' (Jul 27, 2014)







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JET

Transhumanism and Marxism: Philosophical Connections

Sex Work, Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee

Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work…

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Nanomedical Cognitive Enhancement
Jul 11, 2014
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Interview with Transhumanist Biohacker Rich Lee
Jul 8, 2014
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Virtually Sacred, by Robert Geraci – religion in World of Warcraft and Second Life
Jul 3, 2014
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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
Jul 5, 2014
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RSS feedETHICAL TECHNOLOGY


Artificial Intelligence, Anthropics & Cause Prioritization

Adam Ford

Adam Ford talks with Katja Grace about AI, SAI, Animal Rights, and algorithm optimization. What will we value in the future? What will SAI value in the future? Is the world based on absurdity, or do we value certain novelties that will be outside the SAI realm?

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Kevin LaGrandeur

What is the Difference between Posthumanism and Transhumanism?

by Kevin LaGrandeur

While at conferences and doing research and writing over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a lot of confusion about the terms “posthuman,” “transhuman,” and “posthumanism.”  A lot of people—including scholars who should know better—use these terms pretty much interchangeably and indiscriminately.  Part of the problem is that these terms are all fairly new.  So for clarity’s sake, I offer these simple thumbnail definitions of all three terms…

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J. Hughes

Building the Virtues Control Panel

by J. Hughes

We have already taken the first steps towards virtue engineering. We already take stimulants to get on top of our day in the morning, and to stay alert when we need to be. We give sex offenders testosterone suppression, alcoholics drugs that make them nauseous if they drink, lap bands for those who can’t control their weight, and anti-psychotics for mentally ill criminals. We just aren’t very precise about our moral engineering yet. The next steps will come from advances in brain science to understand the levers of our moral sentiments and behaviors, and how to push them with targeted nanomaterial-enabled pharmaceuticals and nano-neural interfaces.

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Amon Twyman

Convergent Risk, Social Futurism, and the Wave of Change (Part 2 of 2)

by Amon Twyman

The third section in this chapter will lay out a ‘toolkit’ of policies and strategic options for a transition phase toward a Social Futurist outcome. Such a medium-term focus on transition and interim steps may give an impression that our viewpoint is reformist rather than deeply revolutionary, when in fact it should be considered revolutionary on two levels.

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Ted Chu

Beauty Is Skin-deep—But That’s Where Genetic Engineering Is Going Next

by Ted Chu

A Korean woman was on the verge of divorce because her husband no longer found her attractive and was having an affair. Nothing worked in her efforts to save the marriage and as a last resort she underwent cosmetic surgery. The result was so dramatic and her son didn’t recognize her when she returned home.

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Amon Twyman

Convergent Risk, Social Futurism, and the Wave of Change (Part 1 of 2)

by Amon Twyman

In recent years there has been a growing understanding that technologies often do not develop in isolation, but instead affect and frequently accelerate each others’ development. This process of increasing interdependence between developing technologies is known as convergence. When discussing this phenomenon, commentators tend to focus on the convergence of NBIC (Nanometre scale, Biological, Information, and Cognitive) technologies.

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American Society for Engineering Education: Why Diversity is so Important

WebsEdgeEducation

ASEE TV interviews ASEE board member Adrienne Minerick. Adrienne speaks to the Diversity Committee in the ASEE and why it’s so important. Why does science and engineering become weaker with less diversity? How can we take action to help LGBTQI peoples and women in science and engineering?

Image:
http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/socialsideofscience_02

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Why there is no mind/body problem

TEDx Talks

Joe Cruz is a professor of philosophy at Williams College. He specializes in the philosophy of the mind and the theory of knowledge. His articles have appeared in Mind and Language, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and Knowledge and Skepticism. He teaches a range of Williams courses, including skepticism and relativism, perception and reality, philosophy of animal life, cognitive science, embodiment and consciousness, and contemporary epistemology. He received a B.A. in philosophy from Williams College and a Ph.D. in philosophy and cognitive science from the University of Arizona. An avid adventure cyclist, he has traveled extensively in India, Tibet, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

Image:
http://www.viralnovelty.net/using-mind-power-heal/

 

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George Dvorsky

Why Solitary Confinement Is The Worst Kind Of Psychological Torture

by George Dvorsky

There may be as many as 80,000 American prisoners currently locked-up in a SHU, or segregated housing unit. Solitary confinement in a SHU can cause irreversible psychological effects in as little as 15 days. Here’s what social isolation does to your brain, and why it should be considered torture.

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Evan Selinger

The Trifecta of Roommate Selection Technology: Privacy, Prejudice, And Diversity

by Evan Selinger

Over at The New York TimesNatasha Singer discusses the pros and cons of universities providing incoming students with online technology that helps them select roommates. She does a great job of identifying salient points. But I think it’s important to augment the story by adding some remarks on privacy and prejudice.

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Richard Loosemore

The Maverick Nanny with a Dopamine Drip: Debunking Fallacies in the Theory of AI Motivation

by Richard Loosemore

My goal in this article is to demolish the AI Doomsday scenarios that are being heavily publicized by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, the Future of Humanity Institute, and others, and which have now found their way into the farthest corners of the popular press. These doomsday scenarios are logically incoherent at such a fundamental level that they can be dismissed as extremely implausible - they require the AI to be so unstable that it could never reach the level of intelligence at which it would become dangerous.  On a more constructive and optimistic note, I will argue that even if someone did try to build the kind of unstable AI system that might lead to one of the doomsday behaviors, the system itself would immediately detect the offending logical contradiction in its design, and spontaneously self-modify to make itself safe.

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Richard Eskow

Chiding CEOs at Walgreens and Other Corporate Defectors

by Richard Eskow

Walgreens is the pharmacy that, at least according to its website, can be found “at the corner of Happy & Healthy.” If its executives have their way, however, it may soon be found near the intersection of Ziegelackerstrasse and Untermattweg in Bern, Switzerland. By acquiring the much smaller Swiss company that is located near that corner, the American company can dodge millions in American taxes.

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Valerie Tarico

Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About Religious Freedom 200 Years From Now!

by Valerie Tarico

In 1878, the Supreme Court of the United States wrestled with a religious freedom case focused on Mormons and polygamy. In the written decision, Chief Justice Morrison Waite explained the court’s attempt to discern the intent of the First Amendment. He turned to someone who had been in the room when the Amendment was written—Thomas Jefferson...

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Steven Wise of Nonhuman Rights Project on Colbert Report

nonhumanrightsproject.org

Steven Wise’s appearance on The Colbert Report last night was all great fun, with Colbert in classic form as the blowhard fundamentalist saying that “animals are animals, humans are humans, and never the twain shall meet, READ YOUR BIBLE!”

Wise explains that a chimpanzee “is an extraordinary being. She can think about the past, she can think about the future, she can think about how she wants to live her life, she can self-determine, the same things that make us [humans] want to file writs of habeas corpus when we’re thrown in human jail.”

Colbert shows us a photo of Tommy in his tiny cage, then quickly says “Let’s take it down because it is sad-making,” and then asks why Tommy wants out.

“Tommy wants out because he’s a chimpanzee,” Wise responds. “No chimpanzee wants to be kept like that!”

Colbert goes back to the Bible, arguing that ”man has dominion over animals” and that “this is just the camel’s nose under the tent and then the camel gets habeas corpus, too.” And then he asks why animals should have “legal standing.”

Brief tangent: Wise wisely doesn’t get into explaining that “standing” is not the issue. But, for the record, “standing” is often confused with “capacity”. The capacity to sue is one one of many legal rights that a legal person has. If a party lacks the capacity to sue, it cannot sue, though a third party may sometimes sue on its behalf (as the NhRP is doing on behalf of our plaintiffs). Legal standing is an entirely different issue: it requires that a plaintiff must have sufficient connection to the defendant and have sustained an injury caused by the defendant caused and that a court can fix.

But back to the interview: Colbert insists that the NhRP is trying to “take mankind off of the top of the organizational chart … then my dog can sue to get on my couch.”

Wise replies that this case is about chimpanzees, but Colbert presses the matter of his dog.

“I’ll give you my card,” Wise replies. “You can give the card to your dog. Your dog can call me.”

Colbert launches into an expostulation about “what your desire [to free Tommy] does to our legal system and the standing of mankind and our primacy in our vision of the universe is just detritus and wreckage on the way to your mad goal to release one chimp.”

Wise replies that this case simply shows that “we can extend justice to wherever there should be justice whether we’re dealing with a human or with any other being.”

Colbert replies that if Tommy wants to have rights as a person, he should form his own corporation (since corporations are recognized as “legal persons”).

The audience cheers, and that’s it. Enjoy the video! You can also watch the interview here.

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How do you explain consciousness?

TED

Our consciousness is a fundamental aspect of our existence, says philosopher David Chalmers: “There’s nothing we know about more directly…. but at the same time it’s the most mysterious phenomenon in the universe.” He shares some ways to think about the movie playing in our heads.

Image: http://erosastrology.proboards.com/thread/627/

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Gennady Stolyarov II

LEV: The Game – Play to Win Indefinite Life

by Gennady Stolyarov II

LEV: The Game is a work in progress, whose potential to spread the message of indefinite life extension to the general public encourages me greatly. Developed by a team from Belgium – consisting of Anthony Lamot, Mathieu Hinderyckx, and Maxime Devos – this Android mobile game is currently in its Alpha phase. 

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Andrew Maynard

When risk gets personal

by Andrew Maynard

When you’re facing a life or death situation, what do the odds mean – to you personally?  As Brian Zikmund-Fisher from the University of Michigan School of Public Health pointed out to Robert Siegel on NPR yesterday, “We’re never 95 percent alive. We either live or die. We experience outcomes”. 

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The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist

IEET

I was just informed that Dick Pelletier, one the IEET’s most beloved writers, passed away this evening from Stage 5 Parkinson’s Disease. I have worked with Dick for the past two years and he taught me more about the next step in human evolution than most doctors and professors I have met. His Positive Futurist stance on humanity and mind will continue to inspire us all.

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Link




A vote for stem cells

nature video

The $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the world’s largest stem cell research agency, is funded by the state - not the federal government. We asked fans on their way to a baseball game near CIRM’s headquarters whether they’ll approve $5 billion more for the research.

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The Singularity Is Near Movie Trailer

The Singularity Is Near (The Movie)

The Singularity is Near, A True Story about the Future, based on Ray Kurzweil’s New York Times bestseller, intertwines a fast-paced A-line documentary with a B-line narrative story.
Director: Anthony Waller (Mute Witness, An American Werewolf In Paris, The Guilty)
Producers: Ray Kurzweil, Ehren Koepf, and Toshi Hoo
Executive Producer: IEET Trustee Martine Rothblatt

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Rick Searle

Plato and the Physicist: A Multicosmic Love Story

by Rick Searle

So I finally got around to reading Max Tegmark’s book Our Mathematical Universe, and while the book answered the question that had led me to read it, namely, how one might reconcile Plato’s idea of eternal mathematical forms with the concept of multiple universes, it also threw up a whole host of new questions. This beautifully written and thought provoking book made me wonder about the future of science and the scientific method, the limits to human knowledge, and the scientific, philosophical and moral meaning of various ideas of the multiverse.

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Andrew Maynard

The gathering storm of lab safety: Pathogen safety in federal labs

by Andrew Maynard

Over the past few weeks, revelations of potentially dangerous errors in US federal labs handling pathogens have placed health and safety high on the national agenda.  In June, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced as many as 75 of its staff may have been exposed to anthrax due to safety issues at one of its labs.  At the beginning of July, vials of smallpox virus were found in an unsecured room at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Then earlier this week came the revelation that in the same room were over 300 vials containing pathogens such as dengue virus, influenza, and the bacterium that causes Q fever.

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John Danaher

Should we have a right not to work?

by John Danaher

Voltaire once said that “work saves a man from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.” Many people endorse this sentiment. Indeed, the ability to seek and secure paid employment is often viewed as an essential part of a well-lived life. Those who do not work are reminded of the fact. They are said to be missing out on a valuable and fulfilling human experience. The sentiment is so pervasive that some of the foundational documents of international human rights law — including the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR Art. 23) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR Art. 6) — recognise and enshrine the “right to work”.

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Eric Schulke

Fighting to Save Lives - The Struggle for Indefinite Life Extension

by Eric Schulke

This is a statue of Dick Winters from the Allied 101 airborne and Easy Company of World War II. He didn’t let us down with the war against the Nazis, battling through Normandy, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge and the invasion of Germany to get to them and capture and shoot them so they would stop threatening all of our freedoms. I’m very sorry and eternally saddened that the world couldn’t get to the goal of indefinite life extension therapy available for all, in time for more people like Dick.

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Amon Twyman

Liberal Democracy, The Third Way, & Social Futurism (pt. 2 of 3)

by Amon Twyman

Most broadly, Social Futurism stands for positive social change through technology; i.e. to address social justice issues in radically new ways which are only just now becoming possible thanks to technological innovation. If you would like some introduction to Social Futurist ideas, you can read the introduction page at wavism.net and there are links to articles at http://IEET.org listed at the top of this post. In this post I will discuss the Social Futurist alternative to Liberal Democratic and Authoritarian states, how that model fits with our views on decentralization and subsidiarity, and its relevance to the political concept of a “Third Way“.

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Artificial Intelligence - We Had Better Start Thinking About it Now!

Adam Ford

Adam Ford asks the author of The Artilect War: Cosmists Vs. Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines, Hugo de Garis, some vital questions about the future of the intelligence explosion.

What are the stakes in building Strong Artificial Intelligence?

What do we stand to loose if the gamble does not pay off? What do we stand to gain if it does pay off?

Prof. Hugo de Garis is 64, and has lived in 7 countries (Australia, England, Holland, Belgium, Japan, US, China). He got a PhD in Artificial Life and Artificial Intelligence from Brussels University in 1991. He was formerly director of the Artificial Brain Lab (ABL) at Xiamen University in China, where he was building China’s first artificial brain, by evolving large numbers of neural net modules using supercomputers. He guest edited, with Ben Goertzel, the planet’s first special issue of an academic journal on Artificial Brains, and is currently writing a book Artificial Brains : An Evolved Neural Net Module Approach for World Scientific.


Hugo de Garis & Ben Goerzel on the Singularity

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John Danaher

Feminism and the Basic Income (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This is the second part of my series on feminism and the basic income. In part one, I looked at the possible effects of an unconditional basic income (UBI) on women. I also looked at a variety of feminist arguments for and against the UBI. The arguments focused on the impact of the UBI on economic independence, freedom of choice, the value of unpaid work, and women’s labour market participation.

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Primitivism, Progress, the Transhuman & the Technological Avalanche

Adam Ford

Adam Ford talks with John Zerzan about Primitivism, Progress, the Transhuman & the Technological Avalanche.
Why can’t we solve the problem of the progress trap with the use of technology?

It is through technology (i.e. computation) we really understand how fragile the environment is, approach understanding butterfly effects

Describe the incremental progress to Primitivism?
Were we ever purely biological? Without artifacts and instruments? Where do you draw the line…how primitive are we talking? where do you draw the line? what sorts of technology are ok?

is Primitivism an all or nothing approach? Can it co-exist with Transhumanism?
ability to encode ideals/philosophies with or without advanced language and recording?

Technological advancements in bio-engineering, nanotechnology, cybernetics, amongst others, have the potential to be progress traps, and the global scale of modern society means that a societal collapse could impact all of mankind.

 

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Andrew Maynard

How safe is the world’s darkest material?

by Andrew Maynard

Over the past few days, the interweb’s been awash with virtual “oohs” and “ahs” over Surrey Nanosystems’ carbon nanotube-based Vantablack coating.  The material – which absorbs over 99.9% of light falling onto it and is claimed to be the world’s darkest material – is made up of a densely packed “forest” of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (see the image below).  In fact the name “vanta” stands for Vertically Aligned NanoTube Array.

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Kelly Hills

Ziploc: There’s No Better Way to Protect Your Select Agent Investment

by Kelly Hills

A lot of interesting testimony came out of yesterday’s House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing, which was titled “Review of CDC Anthrax Lab Incident,” but broadly covered the numerous slapstick-’cept-it-ain’t-funny errors around dangerous pathogens research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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