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Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Chiding CEOs at Walgreens and Other Corporate Defectors

Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About Religious Freedom 200 Years From Now!

Steven Wise of Nonhuman Rights Project on Colbert Report

How do you explain consciousness?

LEV: The Game – Play to Win Indefinite Life

When risk gets personal


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
by Martine Rothblatt

Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds
by Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick eds.

Between Ape and Artilect: Conversations with Pioneers of AGI and Other Transformative Technologies
by Ben Goertzel ed.

Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution
by Ted Chu


comments

DrJohnty on 'LEV: The Game – Play to Win Indefinite Life' (Jul 24, 2014)

Taiwanlight on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 24, 2014)

Jønathan Lyons on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 24, 2014)

John Danaher on 'Feminism and the Basic Income (Part Two)' (Jul 24, 2014)

Giulio Prisco on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 24, 2014)

Giulio Prisco on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 24, 2014)

Taiwanlight on 'The Sad Passing of a Positive Futurist' (Jul 24, 2014)







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JET

Transhumanism and Marxism: Philosophical Connections

Sex Work, Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee

Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work…

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Is it possible to build an artificial superintelligence without fully replicating the human brain?
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Interview with Transhumanist Biohacker Rich Lee
Jul 8, 2014
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Virtually Sacred, by Robert Geraci – religion in World of Warcraft and Second Life
Jul 3, 2014
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Poll: Should there be a standing U.N. military force to enforce world law?

Grrr. I’m a strong supporter of strengthening (and democratizing) the United Nations, including the construction of a UN army. But it doesn’t look like most of you agree.

New poll: We become “posthuman” with…?

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Dvorsky’s blog wins Blogisattva awards

The Blogisattva Awards were announced today and George Dvorsky‘s Sentient Developments blog was the winner of two awards: Best Achievement Blogging on Matters Philosophical or Scientific and Best Achievement in Wonderful, Remarkable, Elegant Design.  You can read about all the winners and why they were chosen here.

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Poll: Is nuclear power part of the solution to carbon emissions?

Looks like a third of the respondents are skeptics about wither climate change or efforts to stop and remediate climate change. Of those who accept the need for some kind of carbon emissions solution a quarter were opposed to nuclear power out of hand. The rest were roughly equally divided between nuclear power enthusiasts and tentative adopters. No consensus here.

New poll: Should there be a standing United Nations military force to enforce world law?

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Poll: Should disabling kids before conception be legal?

The majority say it should be illegal to disable a child by choice or genetic modification before conception, but almost a third think it should be legal and subsidized.

New poll: Is nuclear power part of the solution to the carbon emissions problem?

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IEET Fellows Interviewed for RU Sirius’ New Book

RU Sirius is a pioneer of technoprogressive futurism. As founder/editor of the magazine Mondo 2000 RU Sirius forged a brand of scientifically-literate psychedelic gonzo radicalism that nurtured and inspired the emerging transhumanist subculture, and is now emerging again as an important critical voice. As prime driver of the growing MondoGlobo media operation, RU has been profiling leading technoprogressive thinkers, activists and issues for the last five years.

In his latest book True Mutations: Interviews on the Edge of Science, Technology, and Consciousness RU presents some of those interviews - with the IEET’s Nick Bostrom, Jamais Cascio, Ramez Naam, Wrye Sententia and Aubrey de Grey among many others - exploring

the wild changes that may be coming to the human species during the 21st Century. In a series of interviews, author/host RU Sirius explores a series of (r)evolutions in disciplines ranging from the evolution of clean energy to the possibilities of endless neurological ecstasy; from open-source free access to nearly everything under the sun to self-directed biotechnological evolution; from psychedelic culture mash-ups to the possibilities of a technological singularity that alters not only humanity but the entire universe.

 

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Join us in Chicago July 23 to Win Longevity For All

Policy makers across the industrialized world are staring down the barrel of a gun: the growing retirement age population, and the shrinking birth rate. They see the “old age dependency ratio” with dread because they project current rates of senior disease and disability, and related medical and nursing costs, and they don’t see how welfare systems will survive.

But there is an answer, and it should be obvious, since senior disability rates have been plummeting. When seniors stay healthy and vigorous they can continue contributing their lifetime of accumulated skill and experience to society, without driving up nursing or healthcare costs, or becoming dependent on loved ones. If medical therapies could be developed which slowed the rate of aging, and the development of disease and disability, we may be able to slip past the demographic transition in economic strength, and greater health and longevity for everyone. This is the promise and challenge of the “Longevity Dividend.”

Join us in Chicago on July 23rd for a day long seminar with leading experts on the politics, science and political economy of longevity - including Jay Olshansky and Aubrey de Grey - to help build the campaign for an intensive international research program on anti-aging medicine. (The seminar will take place the day before the three-day gala Transvision 2007, with keynoter Ray Kurzweil.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Chicago Fairmont Hotel (same hotel as Transvision 2007 which will take place the following three days)
Chicago, Illinois

Agenda:

8:30am-9am Registration & coffee

9am-Noon Political Economy of the Longevity Dividend

Jay Olshansky Ph.D.
Additional Speakers TBA

Noon-1:30pm Lunch

1:30-5pm Building the Campaign for the Longevity Dividend

Aubrey de Grey Ph.D. “Arguing the Scientific Feasibility of Anti-Aging”
Nick Bostrom Ph.D. “Answering the Philosophical Objections to Longevity”
James Hughes Ph.D. “Building Coalitions for Anti-Aging Science and Medicine”

Additional speakers TBA

Audience The targets for this event are:

- scholars and journalists interested in the future of aging and healtcare
- legislative aides and policy makers considering Longevity Dividend as a policy program
- pro-longevity, health care and senior activists interested in building the Longevity Dividend campaign

Admission: $150/person, $75 for students

(For now, checks can be sent to “IEET” c/o James Hughes, William 229B, 300 Summit St., Trinity College, Hartford CT 06106. We will shortly have up a Paypal link.)

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Poll: Self-willed machine minds are…

122 people voted.

Perhaps self-willed AI is already here...

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Joining the Radical Cyborgs on Orkut, Facebook

In addition to the IEET networks we’re building on LinkedIn and XING, some of us in the IEET have been exploring the social networking sites of Orkut and Facebook for the last couple of years. For instance there are the Radical Cyborgs groups on Orkut and Tribe.net that spun off of the Cyborg Democracy blog, the Technoliberation site and Technoliberation list.

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.

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Poll: What do you think about the utopian impulse?

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)

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Dvorsky’s Sentient Developments Nominated as a Top Buddhist Blog

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.

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Pitching H+ in Lausanne

IEET Treasurer Giulio Prisco reports on his public debate on transhumanism at the University of Lausanne, January 24, 2007, before an audience of 300.

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Poll: Should doctors be imprisoned for telling pregnant women the sex of their fetus?

(Opened Jan 20, 2007; closed Jan 27, 2007)

Looks like our readers don’t think so.

I guess the next question is whether we should be supporting or opposing laws that are imprisoning doctors in India today for telling women the sex of their feti? But I’ll ask that later.

The new poll question (which closes 2007-01-27) is “What do you think about the utopian impulse?”

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Treder’s CRN Develops Nanotech Development Scenarios

A dozen experts from four countries have collaborated with the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, under the direction of IEET fellow Mike Treder, to create “a series of professional-quality models of a world in which exponential general-purpose molecular manufacturing has become a reality.  The purpose of this scenario creation activity is to offer plausible, logical, understandable “stories” about near-future worlds (circa 2020) in which we might actually live, and in which we must contend with the possibly severe military, political, economic, social, medical, environmental, and ethical implications of molecular manufacturing.  What will that future look like? What can we learn from picturing it now that might help us to avoid the worst pitfalls and generate the greatest benefits?  IEET Fellow Jamais Cascio conducted the workshop for CRN.  For more information about the scenario creation process contact Mike Treder.

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New SF short fiction blog

IEET Assistant Director Marcelo Rinesi has begun Hectowords, a blog of short SF stories (or contemporary fiction; sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…).

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Doug’s second Testament Book, West of Eden, is out


The second collected set of Testament is now available at comic shops, bookstores, and links like this one.

This book starts the series over - quite literally, in fact - beginning with the Genesis creation story and its modern parallel: the generation of an AI lifeform by Alan Stern. Of course, the nano-bots all have the shape of the Eye of Horus, and Goddess Astarte manages to insinuate herself into the Garden of Eden as a lovely tree.

The best part of it all is that the volume concludes with a 9000-word set of notes to the entire collection, including the first trade. All the Bible and historical references you need to assure yourself that these stories and their allegories have a basis in exegesis (objective textual and historical study).

This collection offers readers a new entrypoint to the comic, so that it’s not required to have read the first five issues to begin anew here.

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Poll results: Proportion of government science budgets to be devoted to anti-aging research

(Opened Jan 15, 2007; closed Jan 20, 2007) Classic bimodal result.

New poll (closes 2007-01-27): Should doctors in your country be imprisoned for telling pregnant women the sex of their fetus?

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Doctors w/o Borders v. Novartis on Indian generics

The Swiss company Novartis is taking the Indian government to court over its legislation pertaining to generic drugs. Novartis wants to make it more difficult for Indian companies to produce generic drugs. MSF/Doctors without Borders is collecting signatures under a petition calling on Novartis to drop the case. The medical charity points out that ‘India is the pharmacy for the developing world.’

Further information about the background to the MSF campaign can be found here.

The petition is available here.

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Ashley X, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, XING and Bald Women

Its been a crazy ten days here at the IEET as our site traffic soared after the Ashley X story broke loose.

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Call for Papers and Early Reg for IEET-IHEU Rights Conf in NYC - May 11-13

IHEU- Appignani Humanist Center for Bioethics and
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

present

Human Rights for the 21st Century:
Rights of the Person to Technological Self-Determination


New York City
May 11-13, 2007

Cocktail Reception: Friday May 11, 6:00 – 9:00 pm (Location: TBD)

Conference: Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13, 9:00 am – 3:45 pm

Location: 777 UN Plaza, 2nd Floor, New York City, NY 10017

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Hughes on Paula Zahn show Monday, Jan 8 @ 8pm EST to discuss Ashley X

Dr. James Hughes will discuss the Ashley X case with Arthur Caplan on the Paula Zahn show on CNN at 8pm EST, Monday January 8, 2007.

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Special Contribution: Neurophilosophy: Augmented Cognition

Moheb Costandi writes the excellent Neurophilosophy blog. We reprint here, with permission, a recent article he posted there on “augmented cognition.”

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Andy Miah to work with Euro-NBIC group

IEET Fellow Andy Miah will be consulting for the European Union-funded, multi-institutional Nano-Bio-Raise project the goals of which are to “establish a multi-disciplinary expert working group of scientists, ethicists and social scientists to examine ethical and societal issues relating to nanobiotechnology and its converging technologies.”

In December Andy spoke on “Genetic Tests for Performance” at The Hastings Center in New York, and on “Human Enhancement & the Bioethics of Cultural Studies” at Loughborough University. Andy will be speaking on “The Challenge from Posthumanity” at the annual conference of the Australian Sports Commission, Brisbane, March, 2007.

Andy will be lecturing at the Royal College of Art on ‘Posthuman Designs’ for their ‘Design Interactions’ Masters programme, which is interested in provoking public debate about the ethics of new technologies through the construction of prototypes.

Andy also just published (with E. Rich) “Genetic Tests for Ability? Talent Identification and the Value of an Open Future,” in Sport, Education and Society, 2006, 11(3), pp.259-273.

Andy is exemplary for maintaining an attractive and dynamic website, where you can follow his recent recent press and recent appearances.

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Techno-cultural literacy in 2007

George Dvorsky has proposed a list of must-know terms for the modern intellectual, terms used by many of us involved in techno-futurist speculation and biopolitical debates. IEET Fellow Jamais Cascio liked the idea, and followed up with a list of his own.

What key terms do you think the culturally literate layperson, policy wonk, thinker or visionary should know, but probably doesn’t? Look over George and Jamais’ lists, and then give us suggestions here.

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IEET Intern Bradshaw working on disability and enhancement

Heather Bradshaw is working on a thesis on enhancement and disability at the Centre for Ethics in Medicine at the University of Bristol. Heather is a staffer at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford where she is currently managing the editing and publication of a collection of essays on wisdom in Western and East-Asian culture.

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Re-Public prints Rushkoff on Open Source Culture

The online journal Re-public has just published a very interesting issue on The promise of the commons. The issue explores the technocultural openings that the concept of the ‘commons’ presents for contemporary democratic theory and practice. Among the articles are a piece by Richard Stallman on The free software movement, a piece by IEET Fellow Douglas Rushkoff Commons: Creating an alternative value system, and a piece by Michel Bauwens, Peer production, peer governance, peer property, among many others.  (posted on Amor Mundi)

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Anders looking for more cognitive enhancement novels

IEET friend Anders Sandberg is looking for cognitive enhancement novels, stories and films. He has quite a list already, shown below. If you have additional suggestions, let us know.

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CSPO Cognitive Enhancement Policy Seminar Report Available

Last May Dr. Hughes and two dozen other experts on cognitive enhancement technologies convened to discuss future policy scenarios with the Advanced Concepts Group, Sandia National Laboratories and the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at Arizona State University. The policy frameworks were drawn from Dr. Hughes’ book Citizen Cyborg, laying out four principal ideological positions that policy makers might adopt -
“Laissez-faire” (techno-libertarian),
“Managed Techno-optimism” (techno-progressive),
“Managed Techno-Skepticism” (Left bioconservative) and
“Human Essentialism” (Right bioconservative). After a day discussing the various near-term cognitive enhancement technologies the group broke into these four factions - albeit for purely heuristic purposes and not because of affinity - to devise policies based on the ideological position.

The report, “Policy Implications of Technologies for Cognitive Enhancement,” is available now, and it summarizes the event, the technologies and policy discussion. A better than average introduction to the issues.

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IEET & IHEU Event at United Nations on Cognitive Liberty A Great Success

On Friday, Dec. 1, 2006 the IEET and IHEU-Appignani Center for Bioethics - the bioethics liaison office of the International Humanist and Ethical Union - co-sponsored a panel discussion on “Cognitive Liberty in an Age of Neurotechnology” across the street from the United Nations. About one hundred people attended, from as far away as Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and the event was very successful.

The three speakers were:

IEET Executive Director James Hughes Ph.D. (who also moderated), who spoke on the technoprogressive understanding of cognitive liberty, and the ways that emerging neurotechnologies may further challenge cognitive liberties. [LISTEN TO/DOWNLOAD MP3]  [SLIDES]

Elizabeth Phelps Ph.D., a Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University, who showed some of the work on fMRI brainscanning of learning, memory and decision making being done at her Phelps Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Phelps argued that much of the anxieties about threats to cognitive liberty are overblown since the science is being hyped, and nowhere near providing the kind of intimate “brain-reading” that the media sometimes suggests.  [LISTEN TO/DOWNLOAD MP3] 

Bradley Lewis MD, PhD was the third speaker. He read a redacted and fascinating version of his paper “Prozac and the Post-human Politics of Cyborgs” which raises questions about whether SSRIs are as effective as we think they are, why people want to take them, and how it all relates to Harawayan cyborgology. Dr. Lewis teaches cultural studies at the Gallatin School at New York University, with affiliated appointments in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Department of Psychiatry. He is the author of numerous articles published in academic journals, is the cultural studies editor for The Journal of Medical Humanities, and author of Postpsychiatry: Theorizing Psychiatry, Prozac, and DSM.  [LISTEN TO/DOWNLOAD MP3]

Thanks to Drs. Phelps and Lewis for great talks and give-and-take afterwards, and to Ana Lita of the IHEU-Appignani Center for Bioethics for helping to organize this great event.

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IEET Fellow An Ravelingien funded by Belgian Govt to Study Neuroenhancement

An will be visiting North American universities in February conducting research on neuroenhancement.

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HETHR Talks (Slowly) Available Online

Now that I'm just running one international nonprofit organization instead of two I'm working on clearing out the backlog of a year's accumulating to-do items. One was to edit and post all the audio of the May 2006 Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference. I was a little stymied because it turned out that the recordings were mostly done too loud, so there is a lot of painful distortion that I tried to figure out how to reduce. But tweaking audio tends to introduce nasty artifacts like high-pitched whistles, so I've given up and have started putting the talks up as MP3s.

Fortunately the opening panel with Bailey, Davis and Hurlbut was nice and clean, and these are their talks. Expect the rest shortly.

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Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376