Mark Walker thinks through the ethics of Americans being denied both the right to health care and the right to self-medicate, while Philippe Verdoux suggests that taking the transhumanist path to the future may only be the best of a lot of very bad options.
Dr. J. chats with Dominique Mainon (dominiquemainon.com), an author, screenwriter, and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She is author of, among others, Cinema of Obsession: Erotic Fixation and Love Gone Wrong in the Movies, Femme Fatale: Cinema’s Most Unforgettable Lethal Ladies, and The Modern Amazons: Warrior Women On-Screen. MP3
At a time when the Australian government has announced its decision to introduce a new regime to censor the Internet, it’s worth thinking again about the argument that exposure to certain kinds of speech and expression might be harmful to children. The problem is that it is difficult to find evidence as to what kinds of material are actually likely to produce that kind of harm.
The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world’s most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.
Today I gave a brief invited talk at the National Defense University, in Washington DC, about the ethics of autonomous robot missiles and war vehicles and “battlebots” (my word, not theirs!) in general. The talk came about as a consequence of my role in the IEET, but I wound up bringing in a number of explicitly H+ themes.
Professor Julian Savulescu, Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, addressed the UK Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors on October 1, 2009, at the Natural History Museum, University of Oxford.
Jess Nevins, author of The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes, gave the paper “Those Who Cannot Remember Doc Savage Are Condemned To Repeat Him: The 20th Century Backlash Against Posthuman Bodybuilders” at the December 4, 2009 IEET seminar on the Biopolitics of Popular Culture in Irvine California. MP3
Peter Singer has argued that we should not proceed with a hypothetical life-extension drug, based on a scenario in which developing the drug would fail to achieve the greatest sum of happiness over time. However, this is the wrong test.
Yesterday, December 4, 2009, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies convened an intimate but ambitious seminar to explore the “Biopolitics of Popular Culture.” We heard from a remarkable collection of speakers, including movie directors, screenwriters, science fiction authors, game designers, culture critics, and entrepreneurs.
I really, really like the show Glee. I like it because it stops pretending that people who live in small cities in western and mid-western states are somehow more wholesome than their metropolitan counterparts. I like it because it exposes the high school ruling class for the terrified, soon-to-be-townie losers they usually are. I like it because it admits high schoolers have sex and drink and smoke weed and still manage to function. I like it because it obliterates the myth that marrying your high school sweet heart is a good idea. I like it because it is the sunshiniest, saccharine dark comedy I’ve ever seen.
(Hat tip to humanpl.us) This morning, Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed geneticist and anti-aging expert Aubrey de Grey and author Dan Buettner, who spoke about “how to live longer.” Buettner provided tips based on his research of long-lived groups around the world, while de Grey discussed regenerative medicine that will be able to radically extend the human lifespan to several hundred years or more.
We have learned to accept differences in appearance caused by nature or by accident. And we are getting better about appreciating the diversity of bodily expression that modern society has brought. But all this is only the beginning.
As starships do not in fact exist, no starships were harmed in the production of this essay. Also, this is just words. If they upset you, go lie down in a dark room for half an hour then drink a glass of water; you’ll feel better.