Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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

whats new at ieet

How much should we care for virtual mice?

Obfuscation: protect privacy by destroying the Web!

The Revenge of the Pagans: Ovid as prophet of the posthuman

Benefiting from Exponentials Globally

Theory and Application of the Extended Mind (Series Index)

Network Society Interview with David Orban

ieet books

The Brain: The Story of You
David Eagleman

Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence
Calum Chace

The End of the Beginning: Life, Society and Economy on the Brink of the Singularity
Ben Goertzel

Humans and Automata A Social Study of Robotics
Riccardo Campa


Giulio Prisco on 'Viewpoints on Modern Cosmism' (Nov 28, 2015)

instamatic on 'Christians Should Support Scientists and Technologists' (Nov 27, 2015)

Rick Searle on 'Obfuscation: protect privacy by destroying the Web!' (Nov 27, 2015)

Mahee on 'Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system to monitor women’s movements' (Nov 27, 2015)

John139 on 'Tech Company Humai Wants to Resurrect the Dead Using A.I.' (Nov 26, 2015)

spud100 on 'Moral and Legal Imperatives for Sentient A.I. - Terasem Colloquium in Second Life Dec. 10th' (Nov 25, 2015)

spud100 on 'Christians Should Support Scientists and Technologists' (Nov 25, 2015)

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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

Why it matters that you realize you’re in a computer simulation
Nov 14, 2015
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The Future Business of Body Shops
Nov 15, 2015
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Crypto Enlightenment: A Social Theory of Blockchains
Nov 1, 2015
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Is Anyone Competent to Regulate Artificial Intelligence?
Nov 21, 2015
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Rights of Non-Human Persons

The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) is committed to the idea that some non-human animals meet the criteria of legal personhood and thus are deserving of specific rights and protections.

Mission Statement

Owing to advances in several fields, including the neurosciences, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the human species no longer can ignore the rights of non-human persons. A number of non-human animals, including the great apes, cetaceans (i.e. dolphins and whales), elephants, and parrots, exhibit characteristics and tendencies consistent with that of a person's traits like self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, symbolic communication, and many others. It is a moral and legal imperative that we now extend the protection of 'human rights' from our species to all beings with those characteristics.

The IEET, as a promoter of non-anthropocentric personhood ethics, defends the rights of non-human persons to live in liberty, free from undue confinement, slavery, torture, experimentation, and the threat of unnatural death. Further, the IEET defends the right of non-human persons to live freely in their natural habitats, and when that's not possible, to be given the best quality of life and welfare possible in captivity (such as sanctuaries).

Specifically, through the Rights of Non-Human Persons program, the IEET works to:
  • Investigate and refine definitions of personhood and those criteria sufficient for the recognition of non-human persons.
  • Facilitate and support further research in the neurosciences for the improved understanding and identification of those cognitive processes, functions and behaviors that give rise to personhood.
  • Educate and persuade the public on the matter, spread the word, and increase awareness of the idea that some animals are persons.
  • Produce evidence and fact-based argumentation in favor of non-human animal personhood to support the cause and other like-minded groups and individuals.

Program Director: Rights of Non-Human Persons

George Dvorsky
, who serves on the Board of Directors for the IEET and heads our Rights of Non-Human Persons program, is Canada's leading agenda-driven futurist/activist.

The suggestion that we confer human-level rights to non-human persons is an idea whose time has come.

IEET Rights of Non-Human Persons News

Non-Human PersonsRights of Non-Human Persons List - Discussion of issues relevant to the protection of rights for certain non-human beings.

Below is a beginning set of resources for gaining background and learning more about issues of concern to the IEET's Rights of Non-Human Persons program.

Key Rights Links

Books (non-fiction)

  • Animal Liberation, Peter Singer (1975)
  • Primate Visions, Donna Haraway (1990)
  • Simians, Cyborgs and Women, Donna Haraway (1990)
  • The Great Ape Project, Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer (1993)
  • Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Roger Lewin (1996)
  • The Origins of Language: What Nonhuman Primates Can Tell Us, Robbins Burling, Iain Davidson, Kathleen Gibson, and Stephen Jessee (1999)
  • Rattling the Cage, Steven M. Wise (2000)
  • Apes, Language, and the Human Mind, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh (2001)
  • Drawing the Line, Steven M. Wise (2002)
  • Minding Animals, Marc Bekoff (2002)
  • When Species Meet, Donna Haraway (2007)
  • Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation, Gary L. Francione (2008)
  • Animal Bodies, Human Minds: Ape, Dolphin, and Parrot Language Skills, W.A. Hillix and Duane Rumbaugh (2010)
  • Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint, Marc Bekoff (2010)
  • In Defense of Dolphins, Thomas I. White (2007)

Books (fiction)


How much should we care for virtual mice?
Nov 27- 2015

Technology is Harming Our Relationships, and We Can Stop It
Nov 17- 2015

Buddhism and Robot Ethics
Nov 12- 2015

Sex Robots Are Coming
Nov 11- 2015

It’s All Fun and Games Until The Robot Wins
Nov 8- 2015

Otherness: Will We Meet Beings with Different Minds than Ours?
Oct 31- 2015

If Your Robot Commits Murder, Should You Go to Jail?
Sep 21- 2015

Personal Integrity, Role Alienation, and Utilitarian Moral Enhancement
Aug 20- 2015

We’re approaching humanity’s make or break period
Aug 15- 2015

Aug 12- 2015

Emergence, Reduction & Artificial Intelligence
Jul 22- 2015

Here’s What Brian Greene’s Gut is Telling Him About Intelligent Life in the Universe
Jul 7- 2015

Chimps have feelings and thoughts. They should also have rights
Jun 8- 2015

The Awareness
May 18- 2015

Review of EX MACHINA
Apr 25- 2015

Gray Matters
Apr 25- 2015

Future Day Online
Mar 1- 2015

A Simulated Mouse Brain in a Virtual Mouse Body
Mar 1- 2015

Should We Have Control Over Our Consciousness?
Feb 10- 2015

What is a fair distribution of brains?
Feb 7- 2015


Nov 27, 2015

Obfuscation: protect privacy by destroying the Web!

by David Brin

Time for a return to the core issue of our time: how shall we best preserve and extend freedom?  Along with freedom’s contingent benefits, like privacy?

Nov 25, 2015

After Paris, can we be both safe and free?

by David Brin

Of course we are all still quivering, following the attacks in Paris last week that killed 129 people, not so very far from where my wife and I lived for a couple of years, as newlyweds during the 1990s.  Our hearts go out to the brave folk of Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité in la Ville Lumiere.

Nov 25, 2015

Moral and Legal Imperatives for Sentient A.I. - Terasem Colloquium in Second Life Dec. 10th

by Giulio Prisco

The 2015 edition of the Terasem Annual Colloquium on the Law of Futuristic Persons, themed “Moral and Legal Imperatives for Sentient AI” will take place in Second Life – Terasem sim – on December 10, with Zoltan Istvan and Jack Sarfatti among the speakers.

Nov 21, 2015

Is Anyone Competent to Regulate Artificial Intelligence?

by John Danaher

Artificial intelligence is a classic risk/reward technology. If developed safely and properly, it could be a great boon. If developed recklessly and improperly, it could pose a significant risk. Typically, we try to manage this risk/reward ratio through various regulatory mechanisms. But AI poses significant regulatory challenges. In a previous post, I outlined eight of these challenges. They were arranged into three main groups. The first consisted of definitional problems: what is AI anyway? The second consisted of ex ante problems: how could you safely guide the development of AI technology? And the third consisted of ex post problems: what happens once the technology is unleashed into the world? They are depicted in the diagram above.

Nov 21, 2015

Platform Adoption Statement #1 of the Nevada Transhumanist Party

by Gennady Stolyarov II

The following sections are hereby added to the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform. Pursuant to Article I, Section XXV, these sections are not officially considered part of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Constitution at this time, but shall have equivalent standing to the Platform Sections within that Constitution. It will be possible to officially amend the Nevada Transhumanist Party Constitution to include these statements during periodic biennial filings of Certificates of Continued Existence with the Nevada Secretary of State.

Nov 15, 2015

The Future Business of Body Shops

by B. J. Murphy

The following essay was originally published as a chapter for The Future of Business: Critical Insights Into a Rapidly Changing World From 60 Future Thinkers. The book was edited by Rohit Talwar and published by Fast Future Publishing.

Nov 14, 2015

Why it matters that you realize you’re in a computer simulation

by Eliott Edge

What if our universe is something like a computer simulation, or a virtual reality, or a video game?  The proposition that the universe is actually a computer simulation was furthered in a big way during the 1970s, when John Conway famously proved that if you take a binary system, and subject that system to only a few rules (in the case of Conway’s experiment, four); then that system creates something rather peculiar.

Nov 14, 2015

Will At-Home Therapeutic Miscarriage Make Abortion Clinics Obsolete?

by Valerie Tarico

At the turn of the millennium, the FDA approved a pill that could replace most abortions with early at-home therapeutic miscarriage.  When will that potential be realized?

Nov 13, 2015

Promising… and worrisome news

by David Brin

Don’t let the gloom industry get you down. The news isn’t all bad. Progress happens. For example…

Nov 13, 2015

The beauty of the holonic understanding of reality

by Enrique Lescure

The Universe can be defined in many ways. What is clear is that there are different levels of realities, which are interacting with one another. Matter is arranged in atoms, which taken together turns into molecules. These molecules arrange themselves in larger objects, such as grains of sand, rock, driplets of liquid, single-cell organisms or cells belonging to larger organisms. This diverse symphony of matter forms eco-systems which form a biosphere that constantly develops through evolution – a neverending symphony of beauty and colours.

Nov 11, 2015

Machine Trust Language (MTL): Human-Machine Collaboration

by Melanie Swan

Andreas Antonopoulos’s articulation of network-enforced trust primitives (Oct 2015, Feb 2014) could be extended more broadly into the concept of Machine Trust Language (MTL). While blockchains are being popularly conceived as trust machines, and as a new mode of creating societal shared trust, Andreas addresses how at the compositional level, this trust is being generated. The key idea is thinking in terms of a language of trust, of its primitives, its quanta, its elemental pieces, its phonemes, words, and grammar that can be assembled into a computational trust system.

Nov 6, 2015

H.P. Lovecraft and the Horror of the Posthuman

by Rick Searle

Most boundaries have their origin in our fears, imposed in a vain quest of isolating what frightens us on the other side. The last two centuries have been the era of eroding boundaries, the gradual disappearance of what were once thought to be unassailable walls between ourselves and the “other”. It is the story of liberation the flip-side of which has been a steady accumulation of anxiety and dread.

Full Story...

Oct 31, 2015

The Ethics of Commercial Surrogacy: Gender Inequality Arguments

by John Danaher

This is a follow-up to my previous post on Debra Satz’s analysis of commercial surrogacy. In that post, I reviewed three classic objections to surrogacy and presented some of Satz’s critiques of those objections. As I mentioned, this was a ground-clearing exercise. Although Satz’s thinks that the traditional objections are flawed, she is not herself a supporter of commercial surrogacy (to be precise, she is not a supporter of ‘contract pregnancy’, which makes the target and conclusion of her arguments less clear — I’ll return to this point below).

Oct 26, 2015

Hey Humans—Robots Are NOT Better Than You!

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

At the IEET and Brighter Brains conference this past weekend in Oakland, CA, I had the pleasure of meeting an older man who had thought a lot about the future—and he was very afraid. Science, he said, was going to destroy us. And worse, when robots are better than us, what is the purpose of the human being? 

Full Story...

Oct 13, 2015

Taxing Sugar Products to Elevate Brain Health

by Steven Umbrello


Although the overall trends regarding the consumption of added sugars as decreased from 1999-2007, the overall mean intake of added sugars continues to be an area of concern as they exceed the U.S. Dietary Guidelines on recommended intake. Numerous studies show the necessity of sugar on the brains function, however socio-cultural factors, which lead to overconsumption on added sugars, contribute to devastating health consequences.

Full Story...

Sep 5, 2015

The Space of Mind Designs and the Human Mental Model

by Roman Yampolskiy

The following essay is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of my recently published book, Artificial Superintelligence

2.1 Introduction

In 1984, Aaron Sloman published “The Structure of the Space of Possible Minds,” in which he described the task of providing an interdisciplinary description of that structure. He observed that “behaving systems” clearly comprise more than one sort of mind and suggested that virtual machines may be a good theoretical tool for analyzing mind designs.

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Aug 27, 2015

Seven Ways Racism Is Built In

by David Swanson

1. Wealth Gap: The playing field is not level. The median wealth of a white household in the United States is over 13 times that of a black household, and the gap is widening. Most black households have less than $350 in savings. It takes money not just to make money but to get a start, to live near good schools, to live free of lead paint poisoning, or to address the special needs that every person has.

Full Story...

Aug 26, 2015

The Politics Of Gay Marriage In Nigeria

by Leo Igwe

President Muhammad Buhari has stated during his recent visit to the US that his government would not consider decriminalizing gay marriage in Nigeria. Well, that did not come to me as a surprise because President Buhari is a hardline conservative muslim whom I think would be unwilling to support any legislative or policy change that is not compatible with sharia law.

Full Story...

Aug 24, 2015

Do Extraterrestials Philosophize?

by Rick Searle

The novelist and philosopher R. Scott Bakker recently put out a mind blowing essay on the philosophy of extraterrestrials, which isn’t as Area 51 as such a topic might seem at first blush.  After all, Voltaire covered the topic of aliens,  but if a Frenchman is still a little too playful for your philosophical tastes, recall that Kant thought the topic of extraterrestrial intelligence important to cover extensively as well, and you can’t get much more full of dull seriousness than the man from Koeningsberg.

Full Story...

Aug 24, 2015

Iron Man and the Modern Identity Crisis

by Micah Redding

A year ago, I was traveling across the world. I had just moved out of my house, taken a leave of absence from my part-time job, and left without a lot of money or a good sense of whether I would be employed when I got back.

I slept on hard floors, in hostels, on couches, and in rooms that were built on rooftops. I went without warm showers for a long time. I hiked up into the mountains of Nepal, witnessed the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution firsthand, and tried to figure out what to do when a street fight broke out around me in Moscow.

And when I came back, I was changed.

Full Story...

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