Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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

whats new at ieet

Is Effective Regulation of AI Possible? Eight Potential Regulatory Problems

Buddhism vs. Utilitarianism - two paths that seek to abolish suffering

The “God Helmet” Can Give You Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences

Here’s What Brian Greene’s Gut is Telling Him About Intelligent Life in the Universe

Robosapiens – merging with machines will improve humanity at an exponential rate

The why and how of effective altruism

ieet books

The Future of Business
Ed. Rohit Talwar

A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control
Wendell Wallach

Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach
Roman Yampolskiy

Who Are We?: Religious, Philosophical, Scientific and Transhumanist Theories Of Human Nature
John Messerly


dobermanmac on 'Longevity will lead to Overpopulation - we need to consider our options now' (Jul 6, 2015)

rmk948 on 'Condoms are So Hundred Years Ago: Why Better Birth Control for Men Would Be Better for Everyone' (Jul 5, 2015)

Vinayagamoorthy on 'Practopoiesis: How Cybernetics of Biology can Help AI' (Jul 5, 2015)

vanillahaze on 'Condoms are So Hundred Years Ago: Why Better Birth Control for Men Would Be Better for Everyone' (Jul 4, 2015)

Valkyrie Ice on 'Longevity will lead to Overpopulation - we need to consider our options now' (Jul 4, 2015)

spud100 on 'How to Survive the End of the Universe' (Jul 3, 2015)

Alexey Turchin on 'How to Survive the End of the Universe' (Jul 3, 2015)

Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List


Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month

Universal Basic Income—The Foundation of a Technically Advanced Society
Jun 15, 2015
(48464) Hits
(6) Comments

Should Politicians be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence? Interview with Mark Waser
Jun 12, 2015
(19497) Hits
(3) Comments

Will Artificial Intelligence be a Buddha? Is Fear of AI just a symptom of Human Self-Loathing?
Jun 17, 2015
(11354) Hits
(5) Comments

Split the Earth: 50% for Humans, 50% for Protected Biodiversity Zones
Jun 21, 2015
(10652) Hits
(1) Comments


Poll: Twitter?

Apparently most of you agree with me that Twitter - a tool that encourages people to send out their everyday activities to their friends - has little purpose. It would definitely drive me crazy to receive Twitters.

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A collage of IEET faces, IEET in Second Life

IEET Intern VR Manoj has posted a nice collage of IEET folks.

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Doug Rushkoff teaching “Technologies of Persuasion”

IEET Fellow Doug Rushkoff reports on his new book project on corporatism and his upcoming class on “technologies of persuasion”.

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Poll: Is building a “friendly” super-AI a way to protect against a hostile super-AI?

After IEET contributor Michael Anissimov put a shout-out to the Singularitarians to answer our poll, we got a vigorous response, most of whom endorsed the SIAI idea that only a super-powerful AI programmed with core friendliness towards humanity can keep us safe from hostile and indifferent super-powerful AIs, which might decide that we were a nuisance, or not even recognize that we exist.

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Journal of Evolution and Technology June 2007, 16(1): Contents

Robert Freitas  
"The Ideal Gene Delivery Vector: Chromallocytes, Cell Repair Nanorobots for Chromosome Replacement Therapy"
(pgs 1-97)

Robin Hanson, James Hughes, Michael LaTorra, David Brin, Giulio Prisco
The Hanson-Hughes Debate on "The Crack of a Future Dawn"
(pgs 99-126)

An Ravelingien    
“Xenotransplantation and the harm principle: Factoring out foreseen risk”
(pgs 127-149)

David Koepsell  
“Individual and Collective Rights in Genomic Data: Preliminary Questions”
(pgs 151-159)

Woody Evans  
“Singularity Warfare: A Bibliometric Survey of Militarized Transhumanism”
(pgs 161-165)

Milan M. Cirkovic
Book review: Justina Robson’s Natural History
(pgs 167-170)

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Poll: With longevity increasing, retirement age should be…

About half of you think we should keep the retirement age where it is, despite increases in healthy longevity, while 43% thought it should be raised or abolished.

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IEET Intern Anne Corwin’s Interesting Times

Anne reports: Last Monday I was interviewed by representatives from the BBC for a documentary set to air sometime in the future.

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Mike Treder Reports on Growing Interest in Accelerating Tech Change

IEET Fellow Mike Treder reports on growing interest in the acceleration of technology:

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Poll: Should apes be granted the rights of human children?

This poll ran for more than two weeks, and generated a lot of votes, which went better than 2-to-1 for “Yes!”

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H+ and Hughes in Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Hastings Center Report

Riffing off a talk on transhumanism being given by Marquette University philosopher Keith Bauer, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had this to say about transhumanism:

Although many Americans don’t realize it, a major debate is under way over transhumanism - a movement that endorses using new technology to expand the capabilities of the human mind and body.

Supporters say that we’ve always sought ways to extend life and improve the human species and that to do otherwise would be to cede our destiny to the slowly grinding wheels of evolution.

As James Hughes, executive director of the non-profit Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, put it: “We’re not doing anything natural these days. Modern life is entirely different from what life evolved to be. We evolved to wander the savanna for four hours at a stretch.

“You can either try to live as if we’re still on the savanna, or try to design the human body to live in the circumstances we’re in now.”

The May/June issue of the venerable bioethics journal The Hastings Center Report meanwhile is publishing a very nice review, by New Zealand philosopher Nicholas Agar (who we interviewed in 2006), of the growing literature on transhumanism, from Greg Stock’s Redesigning Humans and Fukuyama’s Our Posthuman Future to Ron Bailey’s Liberation Biology and my book Citizen Cyborg. Agar is generally appreciative of the H+ POV but takes us to task for giving insufficient attention to the conflicts between valuing both enhancement and procreative liberty (what if parent’s use their liberty to not enhance, or even to impair children?), and for positing that a non-anthropocentric valuing of personhood as the basis of citizenship is incompatible with valuing humanness for other reasons. The article, “Whereto Transhumanism? The Literature Reaches a Critical Mass” should be available on the Hastings Center website in a couple of weeks.

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IEET featured in New York Times article on cyborg athletes

Congrats to George for (yet again) getting the IEET noticed by the big media and blogosphere. This time he was quoted in the May 15, 2007 story in the New York Times (sub reqd) titled “An Amputee Sprinter: Is He Disabled or Too-Abled?”

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Linda Glenn joins distinguished ranks in American law organization

IEET Fellow Linda MacDonald Glenn, JD, has been elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

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New Intern: Priyamvada Sivasubramanian

We are pleased that Ms. Priyamvada Sivasubramanian of Chennai India will be joining the IEET family as an intern, contributing news and analysis of the exciting developments in science, technology and human rights in India.

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Pre-Order IEET Fellow Aubrey de Grey’s Ending Aging

Aubrey’s meteoric rise to international prominence as an advocate for longevity research makes his forthcoming publication with co-author Michael Rae, Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Biotechnologies That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime, extremely important. Pre-ordering the book today will help Aubrey and Michael promote the book and its proposals.


Part I

1. The Eureka Moment
2. Wake up - aging kills!
3. Demystifying aging
4. Engineering Rejuvenation

Part II

5. Meltdown of the Cellular Power Plants
6. Getting Off the Grid
7. Upgrading the Biological Incinerators
8. Cutting Free of the Cellular Spider Webs
9. Breaking the Shackles of AGE
10. Putting the Zombies to Rest
11. New Cells for Old
12. Nuclear Mutations and the Total Defeat of Cancer

Part III

13. Getting from here to there: the war on aging
14. Bootstrapping our way to an ageless future
15. War Bonds for the Campaign Against Aging

This summer, on July 23, the day before the Transvision conference begins in Chicago, we will be hosting a seminar on Building the Campaign for the Longevity Dividend. Aubrey will be presenting along with Jay Olshansky, David Meltzer, Nick Bostrom, Ron Bailey, George Dvorsky and others, on the political, economic and philosophical arguments we need to be advancing to make clear that dramatic impact longevity research can have in the coming decades.

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Poll: Is radio telescope SETI a waste of time?

Still strong support among two thirds of IEET readers for the underfunded efforts to detect radio transmissions from extraterrestrial intelligence. Probably all those who support radio telescope SETI also support other forms of SETI - such as optical - as well.

New poll: Should apes be granted the rights of human children?

For reference, see this news out of Austria and Spain.

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Poll: Should future violent criminals be offered brain-changing therapies?

One in five of you were willing to argue for mandatory neuro-rehabilitation for the violent criminal, which is undoubtedly going to be a popular idea in a decade or so. In a sense we already have this, when the criminally insane for involuntarily committed and subjected to treatment. Drug therapies for schizophrenia are not permanent brain modification, as the question here implies, for better or worse. But the legal framework of most countries I know of would certainly support involuntary treatment that permanently fixed psychopathic and violent tendencies.

However three quarters of you opted for giving the inmate a choice. Only five percent opted for the “no brain tweaking” slippery slope position.

New poll: Is searching for signs of intelligent life (SETI) with radio telescopes a waste of time? Seems like a popular topic with both the new extrasolar Earth-like planet and alien defense musings in the news this week. Also I just saw Lily Tomlin perform here in Connecticut. (Her performance also features a crazy bag lady waiting for aliens, in a connection with the previous topic).

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New Fellow: Athena Andreadis Ph.D.

The IEET is delighted to announce the appointment of a new fellow, Athena Andreadis Ph.D..  Athena will be writing on science and science fiction topics for the IEET.

Athena is an Associate Professor of Cell Biology at the Shriver Center for Mental Retardation at University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the author of To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek.  She studies the gene regulatory mechanism known as alternative splicing. Athena writes on science and science fiction for The Harvard Review among other publications, and at the site Starship Reckless which she founded.

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The future of sex, and God, and everything else

Russell Blackford reports: My big project has gradually evolved towards this title: Wrestling with Proteus: A Naturalistic Approach to Morality, Law, and the Prospects of Human Enhancement. It may continue to change, but for now I’m laying claim to it before someone else comes up with anything similar. I also have, for now, a concise summary of what I want to demonstrate: “In developing public policy on human enhancement technologies, we should examine a plurality of natural human interests and avoid any overreaching moralism.” That’s not really as concise as I’d like, but it will have to do; the idea isn’t easy to sloganise.

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Poll: Should (legal, safe) nootropics be banned from academic tests?

Looks like unequivocal support for universal access to smart drugs, as opposed to bans or the even more problematic attempt to handicap test results:

This week’s poll: Should future violent criminals be offered brain-changing therapies?

For some reading on this topic check out:

Scientists look to disrupt the brain chemistry of violence,”  April 22, 2007

Law, Responsibility, and the Brain,” Dean Mobbs, Hakwan C. Lau, Owen D. Jones, Christopher D. Frith (2007) PLoS Biology 5(4): e103

Violent, antisocial, beyond redemption?” NewScientist, 11 April 2007

Managing Dangerous People with Severe Personality Disorder,” UK Justice Dept, 1999

Should We Cure Bad Behavior? Tough questions about crime and neuro-rehabilitation,” Ronald Bailey, Reason, June 1, 2005

On the Need for New Criteria of Diagnosis of Psychosis in the Light of Mind Invasive Technology,” Carole Smith

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Poll: Is the economic cost to society from disability relevant?

The most voted option took into account a second-order effect of considering disability costs to society, namely the possibility that this could open a window for eugenic measures. This type of analysis is generally part of the IEET’s approach to the study of policy and technology, a sensitivity apparently shared by those who took the poll.

New poll: Should (legal, safe) nootropics be banned from academic tests?

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Poll: By 2025 K-12 education in the North will…

Looks like increased use of virtual presence and distance learning is considered the leading likely innovation, followed by earlier ability tracking.

New poll: Is the economic cost to society from disability relevant? See for discussion Anne Corwin’s commentary on the relevance of the costs associated with autism.

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Betterhumans Relaunching With IEET Columnists

Since 2002 the innovative Toronto-based webmagazine Betterhumans has played a key role in the development of the technoprogressive perspective represented by the IEET.  IEET Board of Directors member George Dvorsky has been the assistant editor of Betterhumans since its launch. I wrote a series of bi-weekly columns for Betterhumans from 2003 to 2005 that found their way into Citizen Cyborg. IEET fellows Dale Carrico and Russell Blackford wrote columns for Betterhumans, and IEET writer and intern Anne Corwin found her way to us through Betterhumans.

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Poll: Should Ecstasy be legalized?

Yay. Warm empathy feelings all round. Crank up the techno, and hand me a flask of Gatorade.

New poll: What will K-12 education be like in the industrialized North in twenty years?

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Poll:  Will ability to change skin, hair & body make racism irrelevant?

Oh my. What a bunch of pessimists. So the majority of the world that is Asian, South Asian and African will rush to look like Marilyn Monroe and Brad Pitt, thereby reinforcing racially-chauvanist ideals of beauty? Somehow I doubt it. And we’ll have to save the question of whether such a risk constitutes a reason to restrict access to body modification for later.

New poll: Should ecstasy (MDMA) be legalized? See the recent UK drugs safety study for more information.

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IEET Launches Cyborg Buddha Project

A confluence of factors makes this the perfect time to ask questions about how neurotechnologies that influence behavior, moral cognition and religious experiences should be used in the future. People on the Christian Right are embroiled in a debate about whether to accept scientific evidence for a biological basis for sexual orientation, and if they do, whether parents should “fix” their gay children in utero. Psychologists and economists are researching the genetic, life course and environmental factors that influence well-being, yielding findings such as cosmetic surgery being as strong a contributor to happiness as religious participation.  Bioethics have created the subgenre of neuroethics to examine brain fingerprinting, memory modification and other neurotechnologies.

Devices are being tested to measure empathy and vulnerability to temptation. Resistance is growing internationally to the disastrous policies of “warring” on psychoactive drugs, and in the process on cognitive liberty itself. Neurophilosophers are arguing for a thorough grounding of philosophy in neurology and evolutionary psychology. People of faith are increasingly entering into dialogue with human enhancement advocates about the theological significance of the transhumanist project.

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Poll: Should people be able to sell one of their kidneys?

OK, OK. No support for libertopian organ trading here. Poll participation hit a high of 179 voters, of whom two thirds hated the idea and 20% thought it pointless given the alternatives.

New poll:  Will the ability to change skin, hair and body at will help make racism irrelevant?

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Welcome to new IEET interns

The IEET is very pleased to introduce some of the new interns we have recently inducted. We will post more information on additional interns - those who are still taking their loyalty oaths, having their brains rewired and learning their passwords - next week.

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IEET Web Viewage Climbing

Although the site hits have slowed since the Ashley X blitz in early January, we continue to build blog subscription and overall viewage.  From an average of about 10,000 hits per day last summer we are now at 27,000 hits per day and climbing.

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IEET Cyborg Life Project

IEET advisor Peter Houghton and IEET Executive Director James Hughes are writing a book, tentatively titled Cyborg Life: The Reality of Living With Artificial Parts. Peter is an artificial heart device recipient (LVAD) and the founder of several charities in the UK working on the technologies and needs of people with artificial organs. He has been collecting narratives of people with heart assist devices, insulin pumps and similar devices, and in this book we intend to describe the current experiences of people with implanted medical devices, and the public policy agenda to ensure universal access to safe, life enhancing devices in the future. The website - with resources and a blog - is here.

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Poll: We become posthuman with…

Dale pulls out his prolix Winchester on this question here. To me it looks like the average tipping point is somewhere around the point that we start playing with personal identity with emotion and memory modification, and pooling our brains into the Borg. But then again, the range here is from 10,000 BC to never.

New poll: Should people be able to sell one of their kidneys?

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