The IEET just turned ten years old, and we are astonished with what we’ve been able to accomplish in the last decade.
Hundreds of technoprogressive public intellectuals have become a part of our community. Some have been already established writers and thinkers who sought to collaborate on shared issues and values, and others were just learning to write and speak about our issues. Many have gone on to start their own projects, organizations and journals, writing books and producing podcasts and films.
I hear expressions like “I don’t see race” or “I’m color-blind” a lot from people who want to ignore the issues of structural power imbalance or privilege in race issues. The same people are fond of equating racism to simple bigotry; by this standard, white bigotry against blacks and black bigotry against whites are equally “racist.” “Racism” is just a matter of individual attitude, not structural power or history, and the only thing needed to fix it is to get people’s heads in a better space.
Anybody who thinks that the wave of christianity based witch hunting and pentecostalism sweeping across Africa and migrant communities is due to some unique strand of piety and religiosity of Africans should think again. The rise of African pentecostalism has a lot to do with the 'business acumen' of the region's 'pastorpreneurs' who are exploiting the situation in the region.
My Ethiopian guide had mentioned a possible visit to the village of Awra Amba. I had never heard of the place, so I looked it up on the Internet. When I learned that it was a “utopian” community in northern Ethiopia, I decided I to pay a visit. I had previously traveled to a similar “utopian” enterprise–Gaviotas–in Colombia in 2010.
Lecture by philosppher Stefan Sorgner
Friday February 27, 2015, 19.30 - 21.30 hrs., Collegezalencomplex Radboud University, Nijmegen
Organised by the Soeterbeeck Programme
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner is a lecturer in medical ethics at the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg, Germany. He studied philosophy at King’s College/University of London (BA), the University of Durham (MA), the University of Giessen and the University of Jena (PhD). In recent years, he taught at the Universities of Jena (Germany), Erfurt (Germany) and Klagenfurt (Austria). His main fields of research are Nietzsche, the philosophy of music, bioethics and meta-, post- and transhumanism.
Dr. Sorgner is author of Metaphysics without Truth - On the Importance of Consistency within Nietzsche’s Philosophy (1999, Utz Verlag; Marquette University Press, 2007) and Menschenwürde nach Nietzsche: Die Geschichte eines Begriffs (2010, WBG). He has co-edited the books Music in German Philosophy: An Introduction (2010, University of Chicago Press), Humanbiotechnologie als gesellschaftliche Herausforderung.(2005, Alber Verlag), Eugenik und die Zukunft (2006, Alber Verlag), Human-Biotechnology as Social Challenge (2007, Ashgate) and Geschichte der Bioethik. (2011, Mentis Verlag). He edits two book series “Beyond Humanism: Trans- and Posthumanism/Jenseits des Humanismus: Trans- und Posthumanismus“ for Peter Lang Publishing, and Musikphilosophie for Alber Verlag.
Dr. Sorgner is a member of the editorial boards of the Encyclopedias of Anthropology (Sage) and Time (Sage), the Handbook of 21st Century Anthropology (Sage), the journals Anthropologia Integra and the Journal of Evolution and Technology.
For so-called “masters of the universe,” Wall Street executives sure seem touchy about criticism. It seems they don’t like being painted as the bad guys. But if they don’t like being criticized, why do so many of them keep behaving like B-movie villains? That’s exactly what executives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America looked after an article appeared last week detailing their coordinated attempt to intimidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other Democrats who want to fix the mess on Wall Street.
Climate change should be a catalyst for a major change, but we’re not treating it as a real emergency. Naomi Klein believes that capitalism is at war with the climate, but she says sometimes it gives us a gift – the sudden drop in oil prices. So let’s not blow what could be our best chance to prevent catastrophic global warming.
Many readers here have no doubt spent at least some time thinking about the Singularity, whether in a spirit of hope or fear, or perhaps more reasonably some admixture of both. For my part, though, I am much less worried about a coming Singularity than I am about a Sofalarity in which our ability to create realistic illusions of achievement and adventure convinces the majority of humans that reality isn’t really worth all the trouble after all. Let me run through the evidence of an approaching Sofalarity. I hope you’re sitting down… well… actually I hope you’re not.
Pandora’s Brain is one of the most philosophical science fiction novels I have read recently. And since Calum Chace has been a valuable contributor to Singularity Weblog, as well as a great blogger with an interesting and diverse experience in his own right, I thought that he would make a great guest for my Singularity 1on1 podcast. And so I invited him for an interview which turned out to be a very enjoyable conversation indeed.
In today’s podcast, we review our experiences at the VRLA Expo, a Los Angeles based event that showcases the latest in virtual reality entertainment. We describe our experiences with a wide variety of Oculus and Gear VR applications and ask the question: what are the most exciting uses for this new medium? Is this just the next generation of 3D gaming? Or are we witnessing the birth of an all new artistic medium with its own yet-to-be-hashed-out strengths and weaknesses? We also recount our impressions of various interface and feedback solutions from companies like Leap Motion, Sub Pac, and Stompz.
Every book on torture that i have browsed is mainly devoted to methods of torture and then to three topics: Ethical arguments against torture, Utilitarian arguments against torture, and History of the rejection of torture. I cannot find a neuroscientist or psychologist who thought of writing about the exact opposite: What were the ethical justifications for torture?, What were the utilitarian arguments for torture? and What is the history of the widespread adoption of torture?
In a recent televised conversation, Thom Hartmann and I discussed the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ proposed federal budget. The “People’s Budget” would create 8.8 million new jobs, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, restore SNAP nutritional assistance funding, end sequestration cuts, restore unemployment benefits, expand Social Security benefits, raise taxes on millionaires (to Clinton-era levels), provide public campaign financing – all while reducing the deficit by more than $4 trillion over ten years.
These measures are fiscally sound. They are also, by and large, popular with Americans across the political spectrum. It is, in fact, a surprisingly reasonable and even moderate document, as its deficit-reduction measures demonstrate. In most other moments in recent history, this would be a mainstream political proposal.
Instead the Republican majority is poised to introduce an extremist budget that is based on fiscal voodoo and is wildly out of touch with public opinion. It would privatize (and cut) Medicare, increase wasteful defense spending, cut taxes for the wealthy, and deprive millions of health insurance.
That budget, or some version of it, will pass the House this week.
We can thank the corrupting power of money in politics for that. But that’s why Wednesday’s budget voting is so important. Democrats need to be on record as supporting the CPC’s measures – both to shift the political debate and to provide themselves with a stronger platform to run on in future elections. As of this writing, there is still time to phone your representative and tell them you want them to vote for the Progressive Caucus People’s budget.
The Transhumanist Party is a new political organisation in the UK, part of a network of similar groups around the world, committed to positive social change through technology. Transhumanism is the idea that we must improve ourselves and society using the most effective tools available. To go beyond what we have been, in order to overcome the world’s problems and create a better future.
On the surface, valuing embryonic life and abusing children are at odds, but with a biblical view of childhood, these positions can go hand in hand. Why do the same people who fight against abortion argue that parents should have the right to beat their children and deny them medical care or education, as some conservative Republicans have done recently?
As the measles outbreak grows, 173 cases since March 6th, most cases have been traced from the unvaccinated child in Disneyland, with additional outlier cases and it has become our latest national fascination with a bioethics issue.
The civilized world has an ever-intensifying relationship to automated computer technology. It is involved in nearly everything we do, every day, from the time we wake to the time we go to sleep. Why, then, does so much of our entertainment reflect a deep-set fear of technology and its potential for failure?
Just a few brief remarks about Emma Green’s recent in the Atlantic, “The False Equation of Atheism and Intellectual Sophistication.” Green says: “Theirs [atheists] is a subtle assertion: Believers aren’t educated or thoughtful enough to debunk God, and if they only knew more, rational evidence would surely offset faith.”
When Reuters announced the successful deployment of the first Internet-enabled pacemaker in the United States, it was a dream come true for many. The news came late in the summer of 2009, three weeks after Carol Kasyjanski became the first American recipient of a wireless pacemaker that allowed her doctor to monitor her health from afar. Since then there has been a proliferation of Internet-connected personal medical devices, or iPMDs, which now include insulin pumps, glucometers, blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters, walking canes, and of course, the ubiquitous fitness wearables.
“Tissue Engineering Solutions for Cardiovascular Tissue Pathologies”
Presenter: James Yoo, Professor, Associate Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Dr. Yoo is a surgeon and researcher. He is currently a Professor, Associate Director and Chief Scientific Officer at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Yoo’s research efforts have been directed toward the clinical translation of tissue engineering technologies and cell-based therapies. Dr. Yoo’s background in cell biology and medicine has facilitated the transfer of several cell-based technologies from the bench-top to the bedside.
A few notable examples of successful clinical translation include the bladder, urethra, vagina and muscle cell therapy for incontinence. Other technologies that are being developed for translation include therapies for renal, liver and cardiovascular pathologies, skin bioprinting and skin expander for the treatment of burn patients.
Dr. Yoo has served in many institutional, national and international committees and advisory boards. He has successfully organized and directed many scientific meetings and symposia, and managed numerous multi-institutional and international collaborative research projects and programs. He has actively contributed to the scientific community through publication, meeting presentations and lectures internationally.
“The Role of Bioprinting in Rejuvenation”
Presenter: Gabor Forgacs, Professor, Biophysics Laboratory, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Missouri-Columbia; Founder, Organovo.
Dr. Gabor Forgacs is a theoretical physicist turned bioengineer turned innovator and entrepreneur. He is the George H. Vineyard Professor of Biological Physics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the Executive and Scientific Director of the Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University and scientific founder of Organovo, Inc. and Modern Meadow, Inc.
He was trained as a theoretical physicist at the Roland Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary and the Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics, Moscow, USSR. He also has a degree in biology. His research interests span from topics in theoretical physics to physical mechanisms in early embryonic development.
He is the co-author of the celebrated text in the field, “Biological Physics of the Developing Embryo” (Cambridge University Press, 2005) that discusses the fundamental morphogenetic mechanisms evident in early development. These mechanisms are being applied to building living structures of prescribed shape and functionality using bioprinting, a novel tissue engineering technology he pioneered. He is the author of over 160 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 5 books.
He has been recognized by numerous awards and citations. In particular, he was named as one of the “100 most innovative people in business in 2010” by FastCompany.
Rejuvenation Biotechnology 2014 “Molecular and Cellular Damage as the Cause of the Diseases of Aging Panel” Panel Discussion (August 21, 2014, 10:30am)
This panel discussed the idea that the diseases of aging stem from molecular and cellular damage that accrues with age. Topics of discussion included the types of damage that may be involved, examples of how this applies to one or more diseases, and thoughts on how basic research and industry could use this concept to drive therapeutic target identification and drug treatment/development.
• Richard Barker, Director, Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Medical Innovation (Moderator)
• Aubrey de Grey, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer, SENS Research Foundation
• Caleb Finch, ARCO/Kieschnick Professor of Gerontology and Biological Science and University Professor, USC Davis School of Gerontology
• Jeff Karp, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School, Co-Director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
• Stephen Minger, Chief Scientist, Cellular Sciences, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, UK
Rejuvenation Biotechnology 2014 Cancer Session (August 22, 2014, 1:00pm)
“Curing Cancer in the Elderly Through Novel Strategies”
Presenter: Claudia Gravekamp, Associate Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Claudia Gravekamp, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and a member of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center. She received her PhD in 1988 in the field of Tumor Immunology at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. From 1987 to 1993, she served as head of the Laboratory for Leptospirosis at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In 1993, she started as a Research Fellow in Medicine at the Channing Laboratory of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and soon became an Instructor in Medicine until 1998. There, she developed vaccines against Group B Streptococcus and gained expertise in the design and development of gene-driven vaccines. From 1998 to 2006, she was an Associate Member in the Institute for Drug Development of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center and an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center, in San Antonio, where she began to develop a program aimed at genetic vaccines for breast cancer.
From 2006-2008, she was a Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, continuing to develop novel immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer using attenuated Listeria monocytogenes as a platform to deliver anti-cancer agents selectively to the tumor microenvironment at young and old age. She has been funded by grants from the NIH, other grant agencies and private industry since 1999, published 55 scientific articles, is a member of the Editorial Board of Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, and is ad-hoc reviewer for various scientific journals.
“Molecular Elucidation and Engineering of Stem Cell Therapies for the Nervous System”
Presenter: David Schaffer, Professor, University of California, Berkeley, Director, Berkeley Stem Cell Center.
David Schaffer is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Bioengineering, and Neuroscience at University of California, Berkeley, where he also serves as the Director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center. He graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering in 1993. Afterward, he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his Ph.D. also in Chemical Engineering in 1998. Finally, he did a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Fred Gage at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA before moving to UC Berkeley in 1999.
At Berkeley, Dr. Schaffer applies engineering principles to enhance stem cell and gene therapy approaches for neuroregeneration, work that includes novel approaches for molecular engineering and evolution of new viral vectors as well as new technologies to investigate and control stem cell fate decisions.
David Schaffer has received an NSF CAREER Award, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, Whitaker Foundation Young Investigator Award, and was named a Technology Review Top 100 Innovator. He was also awarded the Biomedical Engineering Society Rita Shaffer Young Investigator Award in 2000, the American Chemical Society BIOT Division Young Investigator Award in 2006, and was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering in 2010.
Rejuvenation Biotechnology 2014 Cancer Session (August 22, 2014, 1:00pm) “Cancer and Aging: Rival Demons?”
Presenter: Judith Campisi, Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging.
Judith Campisi received a PhD in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and postdoctoral training in cell cycle regulation and cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. As an Assistant Professor at the Boston University Medical School, she began to focus her laboratory on role of cellular senescence in suppressing the development cancer, but soon became convinced that senescent cells also contributed to aging. She left Boston University as an Associate Professor to accept a Senior Scientist position at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1991. In 2002, she established a laboratory at the Buck Institute for Age Research, where she is a Professor.
At both institutions, Campisi established a broad program to understand various aspects of aging, with an emphasis on the interface between cancer and aging. Her laboratory made several pioneering discoveries in these areas.
In recognition of the quality of her research and leadership, Campisi received numerous awards, including two MERIT awards from the US National Institute on Aging, awards from the AlliedSignal Corporation, Gerontological Society of America and American Federation for Aging Research, and the Longevity prize from the IPSEN Foundation. She serves on numerous national and international editorial and advisory boards.
Anticipating Tomorrow’s Politics - By Transpolitica, lead editor: David W. Wood.
An unconditional basic income (also called basic income, basic income guarantee, universal basic income, universal demogrant, or citizen’s income) is a form of social security system in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, in addition to any income received from elsewhere.
I was taken aback- to say the least – by an article from the New York Times that crossed my Twitter feed today that suggested wearable electronics like the new Apple Watch could be has harmful as smoking: Could Wearable Computers Be as Harmful as Cigarettes? http://t.co/JvM1mnR2Tz — NYT Styles (@NYTStyles) March 18, 2015 (Tweet has since been deleted)
These three short stories all come from the same Cory Doctorow collection, Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2007). Free download here. The three are all set against a background of what I call the “DRM Curtain,” a transnational corporate Empire based on artificial scarcities enforced through a maximalist version “intellectual property” rights, promoted through trade deals written and lobbied by the proprietary content industries, and ultimately backed by the military force of the American state.
William Lane Craig has a pretty dispiriting take on the atheistic view of life: If there is no God, then man and the universe are doomed. Like prisoners condemned to death, we await our unavoidable execution. There is no God, and there is no immortality. And what is the consequence of this? It means that life itself is absurd. It means that the life we have is without ultimate significance, value or purpose. (Craig 2008, 72)
Recently a group of scientists and an industry group have issued statements calling for a moratorium on human heritable or germline genetic modifications (see here, here and here), now that we have the powerful CRISPR technique to pursue them. These statements have been greeted rapturously by bioconservatives, who want to see a global ban on germline and enhancement genetic therapies. Of course, transhumanists have been thinking about these things for a long time, and the World Transhumanist Association (now known as Humanity+) adopted a formal position on human germline genetic modification ten years ago.