Anders Sandberg’s take on How Power Corrupts brings to light a particular cognitive bias associated with power imbalances that I think has much relevance to issues of morphological/cognitive liberty, diversity, and self-transformation in a technologically enabling society.
I just dashed off a version of this over at Jason Rosenhouse’s EvolutionBlog, which is an excellent site in support of evolutionary theory against the efforts of creationists and Intelligent Design warriors.
The “Good Ancestor Principle” is based on a challenge posed by Jonas Salk:
...the most important question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we being good ancestors?” Given the rapidly changing discoveries and conditions of the times, this opens up a crucial conversation – just what will it take for our descendants to look back at our decisions today and judge us good ancestors?
Would-be professional techno-prognosticators, when they want to think out loud about “the future,” seem to me to turn more often to discussions of concerns about human survival than to concerns about human self-creation, so too to the demands of security over the demands of democracy, as well as to the urgencies of threat over the possibilities of hope.
IEET Director Mark Walker has an interesting article responding to an article published by Peter Singer in the 1990s, in which Singer considers the possibility of an anti-aging drug, and concludes that, on the scenario presented: “we should recommend against any further development of the anti-aging drug.”
George discusses why Jehovah Witnesses’ babies need to be protected from their parents’ ideas about blood, ethical eats, and how everyone in the future will be able to play the guitar like Eddie Van Halen.
I am an atheist myself and have been for nearly a quarter of a century now, at any rate since my first year of college, when I thought it through and determined I was quite content to do without god (“a-theist”) as a personal preoccupation—especially among so many others I was discovering at the time.
There is a high-profile case currently making news in Canada involving a Jehovah’s Witnesses family whose three infants were seized by the government of British Columbia so that they could be given potentially life saving blood transfusions.
Now on Facebook one of our interns Ben Hyink has started the Society for the Cyborg Revolution, “founded upon the premise that all forms of personhood, or beings with self- awareness, including humans, upgraded animals, cyborgs, intelligent robots, and post-humans, have a fundamental, democratic right to govern their own bodies. We advocate the right of all beings to have access to cognitive and physical enhancement, life-extension technologies and similar upgrades. Furthermore, we support the democratic use of stem-cell research, bio-technology, nano-technology and other promising lines of research to improve the quality of life for all.”
These aren’t IEET projects, and they are more playful than the staid thinktankery we’re pursuing at the IEET, but some of us are linked up through these groups and if you think they are fun I’d encourage you to add yourself.
I’d say this is a three-way split between 30% who think utopianism is a force for good, 30% who think it is a force for evil, and 30% who think it can be both. Then there are 6% who think its just harmless irrational weak-mindedness, and 3% who think its a podcast from the Eschaton.
New poll: “Self-willed machine minds…” (choose all that apply)
Last year, ex-marine Claudia Mitchell, who lost her left arm in a motorcycle accident when she was 24 years old, became the world’s second recipient of a “bionic arm” after she had a pioneering surgical procedure performed on her by surgeons at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Der Gedanke der Aufklärung, dass wir uns eine bessere Zukunft erschaffen können, ist noch jung und hat noch immer überall auf der Welt zündende Wirkung. Die Anfänge der Aufklärung liegen im 17. Jahrhundert. Seither haben ihre Ideen immer wieder Kämpfe um religiöse Toleranz, Freiheit der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, Demokratie und persönliche Freiheit ausgelöst. Noch heute wird um Aufklärung und Fortschritt gerungen, und das Schlachtfeld hat mittlerweile sogar unsere Keimzellen und Neuronen erreicht.
Lennard Davis is a professor of English and disability studies at Univ of Illinois at Chicago and the author of several books on the politics of literature and of disability, including Enforcing Normalcy and Bending over Backwards.
The Sentient Developments blog of IEET’s George Dvorsky has been nominated for several Blogisattva awards, honoring “excellence in English-language Buddhist blogging during calendar year 2006.” There are 115 nominees in 21 categories. Sentient Developments is up for 4 awards including Best Blog of the Year.
Other awards that SentDev is up for include Best Achievement in Skilled Writing, Best Achievement Blogging on Matters Philosophical or Scientific, Best Achievement in Wonderful, Remarkable, Elegant Design.
The winners will be announced on February 15, 2007.