In many of the sci-fi futures that we know and love, racism, sexism, and homophobia are often scrubbed out of existence. Caprica/BSG, Star Trek, Torchwood, Mass Effect, even less thoughtful fare like Starship Troopers, depict residents of the future who are less interested in the permutations of human identity and more interested in the qualities of a person’s mind and spirit. Even Futurama’s “Proposition Infinity,” concerning the fake-contentious “robosexual marriage” controversy, spoofs this tendency.
In the 1660s the scientist and philosopher Robert Boyle (1627-1691) revealed the importance of the transhumanist imagination when he penned a wishlist for the Royal Society, one of the first scientific organizations in the world.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Jason Beard, a 25 year old man that received a cochlear implant in May of 2009. Jason was hearing impaired from birth but was able to hear some sounds with the help of a hearing aid however he was not able to carry on conversations. With the help of a CI his life has changed.
Dr. J. chats with Phllip Longman, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and author of The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birth Rates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It. They discuss the factors behind the (liberal, secular) birth dearth, the effects of a growing old-age dependency ratio problem throughout the world, and the effects of greater fundamentalists’ fertility. Then a bit of an essay by IEET Affiliate Scholar Andrea Kuszewski on the beneficial effects of sex, and potentially virtual sex, on the brain. Part 2 of 2.
Dr. J. chats with Phllip Longman co-author of The Next Progressive Era: A Blueprint for Broad Prosperity, and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. They discuss the need for progressive policies to break up the concentrations of industrial and financial capital, and to support small, local banks and businesses. They also discuss the proposal for all American youth to receive “stakeholder accounts” as proposed by Thomas Paine. Then a short essay by Robert Reich, and a piece from Marcelo Rinesi on “Peak Oil and Climate Change.” Part 1 of 2.
Dr. J. chats with Nigel Cameron, director of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies and Research, founder of several other biopolicy organizations such as the Center on Nanotechnology and Society and the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future, and author of Human Dignity in the Biotech Century, and The New Medicine: Life and Death After Hippocrates. They talk about the political marginalization of bioethics, the history of the enhancement debate, and the importance of engaging the business community and inventors in technopolicy discussions.
Dr. J. chats with Melanie Swan, a futurist and entrepeneur, and principal of MS Futures Group and DIYGenomics. She is involved with Equal Rights Advocates, Lifeboat Foundation and Accelerating Studies Foundation, and the Singularity University. We discuss her recent work on direct-to-consumer genetic testing, electronic patient-driven health tracking, anti-aging research and the future of intelligence.
Given the current state of technology, reproductive cloning is not a safe and effective means of human reproduction. Cloning reduces genetic diversity, is beneficial neither for the child nor the parent, and without restrictions could create many legal and social problems.
The FAB Congress in Singapore looks at the global aging population and feminization of it, which includes issues of migrant women elder care workers in a global economy, notions of ecological citizenship and human and nonhuman interdependency.
If you could live in a world that was just the way you wanted it to be, with specifications you’d chosen, customized and personalized to meet your every need and fulfill your fondest desires, would you spend all your time there? Or would you prefer to stay here, in the real world?
Given the complexity of the world today, plus the risks associated with current and emerging technologies, it behooves everyone on all sides of the biopolitical spectrum to be open to opposing points of view.
Cosmetic plastic surgery (CPS) gets a bad rep for the obvious reasons. It brings to mind superficial wealthy women living in glamorous places and spending someone else’s money on self-beautification. In a way it seems to be cheating—reversing the normal Darwinian structure of survival based on genetic fitness. However, cosmetic plastic surgery is an inevitable and expected outcome given psychology, natural selection, and changes in technology.