In his new book, “Freedom of Religion and the Secular State”, Russell Blackford argues that religious freedom is more than a crude quid pro quo arrangement - “We won’t persecute you if you don’t persecute us.” Instead, it goes to the heart of what we think state power is really for. Do we think it’s to give citizens spiritual guidance, or is the state an essentially secular institution? That question lies at the heart of many intransigent
hot-button issues that cause so much angst in current societies. What, if anything, should we do about the burqa? Should anti-religious satire be allowed? Should our laws enforce religious notions of morality - as with abortion restrictions, attacks on gay rights, and opposition to stem-cell research? Dr. Blackford proposes a way ahead that should be acceptable to most religious people, as well as to non-believers.
LUCID NYC is like TED at a Bar… Jason Silva speaking at LUCID NYC, which he describes as “like TED at a bar” - he talks about inspiration, techno-rapture, the mind-expanding aspects of technology and rapturous AWE.
Why should Mitt Romney and the fabled “one-percent” pay only a 15% marginal tax on investment income ... half the rate charged to a dentist or auto mechanic on wages earned from work? This was not the case until recent Republican Congresses slashed taxes on passive, unearned dividends and capital gains.
Is the human brain a magnificent, near-miraculous organ? Or a flawed, forgetful, feeble-minded, under-achieving blob? My POV is the latter. Brain 1.0 is laughably dysfunctional, teeming with weaknesses even in our finest specimens. Memories are dust in a hurricane, logic is lunatic, empathy thinner than the neocortex on a sociopathic toddler. I want Brain 2.0. Are you with me? Eager for an upgrade?
A longer, healthier life is positive for the whole society, and a catalyst for non-violence. This speech by Didier Coeurnelle gives a quick description of positive political, economical and sociological aspects of a world with a largely delayed senescence: lower health costs, lower level of violence, higher level of happiness.
To avoid confusion we need a new, more appropriate term for the study of life than biology – which is now more properly understood as the study of life built from organic cellular chemistry. A better term for the study of life is Vitology.
Rick Falkvinge, Founder of Pirate Party movement, honored as Top Global Thinker / IT entrepreneur, is interviewed about the Swedish Pirate Party and its influence in other European countries and the SOPA legislation.
What do I see on the horizon, for women? I am not a prophetess - a “Cassandra” - but as a lifelong member of the XX gender, I’m deeply curious, invested, and opinionated about this topic. When Hank Pellissier (IEET managing director) sent me questions that he and James Hughes (executive director) compiled asking for predictions on the future of females, I couldn’t resist. Here are their questions and my responses:
Current TV’s Jason Silva, the director of the documentary - “Turning into Gods” - interviewed by Reason’s Zach Weissmueller. Silva looks at how technological progress allows humans to direct their own evolution.
We’ve looked into the future, and it’s dark. Increasingly, we’ve lost a progressive view of our future. Instead of seeing promise and lives made better by technology, we’re seeing lives filled with cyborgs and an uninhabitable society. Should we be afraid? Or are we being unnecessarily pessimistic? TVO’s The Agenda invited science fiction authors Robert Sawyer and Madeline Ashby, internet critic Jesse Hirsh, and the IEET’s James Hughes to address these topics.
Africa is a deeply patriarchal society; this is the part of the “Traditional African Value System.” Men dominate the socio-economic and political machinery and organizations. Men are regarded as natural leaders, who are superior and born to rule over women. Women are considered weaker vessels-extensions of men and secondary human beings. The pride and dignity of women are derived from and dependent on men.
For centuries, world politics has been organized around nations and their official functionaries—with artificial borders drawn up, separating French from German, Australian from New Zealander. But this could all be blown away as technology and political movements reshape our understanding of world governance.
Thousands of women have had to get their breast implants removed after a French company, Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), admitted that they had used industrial grade silicone in the implants. Not only was this class of silicone not approved for medical use, but some of it also contained fuel additives. Basically, PIP pumped some plastic bags full of silicone intended for use with fuels and food products - and then sold them as implants. Not surprisingly, the implants had a high breakage rate and many women had to get them removed even before news of the company’s misdeeds was made public in 2010.
In the next decade, the United States will use increasingly capable artificial intelligence (AI) to greatly reduce the cost of health care, accelerate research and development into new medicines, improve cars and roads to reduce gridlock, and even regain much of the manufacturing base we lost to countries like China, say researchers in computer science, robotics, and management. They claim that AI will soon change the work of doctors, nurses and teachers across the country, create entirely new businesses, and radically remake industries already in existence.
In this piece David Eubanks asks how we might react to intelligence emerging from ubiquitous computing stuff in our environment. What if our imagination about where and how self-willed machine minds will arise is too narrow, and it might just pop up anywhere? What do we owe talking stuff?
A documentary movie on IIT - the world’s toughest educational institute to get into (acceptance rate - 1.7%) Students pay only $700 to study the best-in-the-world education. There are 15 IIT’s in India, the best ones being Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur, Chennai, Kanpur and Roorkee.
In January, IEET Executive Director J. Hughes and IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach met with representatives of the Japanese Consortium on Applied Neuroscience (Japanese, English). They visited Trinity College as part of a national tour to meet with American neuroethicists.
Concerned about your cognitive functions? Did you read “Brain Damage - 83 ways to stupefy intelligence” and realize that your mind’s been mercilessly mutilated? Fear not. There’s hope. Neurogenesis - the growth of brain cells - can be activated via several science-proven techniques. Many are recent discoveries, one is as ancient as bipedalism, one is futuristic, one is wet and weird. To pop open your head, read on:
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Email: hank @ ieet.org