Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies






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




whats new at ieet

Digital Stroke

What is the Future of Your Mind?

Technology Made Us Human

ETER9: The Social Network That Turns Your Personality Into an Immortal Artificial Intelligence

Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?

Transhumanist Therapy IV: The Current Crisis in Psychiatry


ieet books

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

Humans and Automata A Social Study of Robotics
Riccardo Campa

The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us about the Apocalypse
Phil Torres

Envisioning Politics 2.0
David Wood and Alexander Karran eds.


comments

Giulio Prisco on 'Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?' (Aug 31, 2015)

rms on 'Smart Regulation For Smart Drugs' (Aug 31, 2015)

spud100 on 'Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?' (Aug 30, 2015)

SHaGGGz on 'Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?' (Aug 30, 2015)

Valkyrie Ice on 'Transhumanism will be a Victorious Revolution (my modest predictions)' (Aug 28, 2015)

Laurence Hitterdale on 'Do Extraterrestials Philosophize?' (Aug 28, 2015)

Gear0Mentation on 'Transhumanism will be a Victorious Revolution (my modest predictions)' (Aug 28, 2015)







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JET

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


8 Craziest Mega-Engineering Projects We Could Use to Rework the Earth
Aug 13, 2015
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The Social Fabric of a Technically Advanced Society
Aug 1, 2015
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Free Will, Buddhism, and Mindfulness Meditation - interview with Terry Hyland
Aug 8, 2015
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Starting from Scratch: The Basic Building Blocks of AI
Aug 23, 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)



PERSONHOOD MEDIA


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

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

Biohackers
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

BENDER - Visual Attention In A Group Setting: Ikaros open-source environment for controlling a robot
Feb 6- 2015

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence
Nov 12- 2014

Panpsychism Workshop: Consciousness In Artificial Life
Nov 9- 2014

Genetic Enineering and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
Oct 30- 2014

What is Transhumanism?
Oct 14- 2014

Timescales of the Hedonistic Imperative (6min 31sec)
Sep 24- 2014

Politics & Abolition From Suffering
Sep 22- 2014


PERSONHOOD ARTICLES



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...


Aug 18, 2015

Why Are Conservative White Males Forcing More Abortions and Births on Poor Brown Women?

by Valerie Tarico

What do conservative politicians want even more than balanced budgets or an end to abortion?

When Republicans in Colorado pulled the plug on America’s most successful teen pregnancy prevention program,  they told the world something about themselves and their political kin: Conservatives may talk about ending abortion or balancing state budgets, but there’s something they want more. This point has been underscored by the latest spliced-video smear campaign against Planned Parenthood that, if successful, will defund every service Planned Parenthood provides except abortion.

So what are conservatives really after?

Full Story...


Aug 8, 2015

Humans

by Adrian Cull

The new television show Humans raises some important ethical questions for a not-too-distant future society where human-looking domestic robots are commonplace. The 8 part series, shown on AMC in the US and Channel 4 in the UK, is based on the Swedish series Äkta människor (“Real Humans”) and is set in modern day London with the only discernible difference being that a company is manufacturing and selling “synths” – multi-purpose robots designed to look like humans and work as direct replacements for them. The drama tackles a wide range of questions from how synths would be treated and their impact on society, alongside the main story line of what happens if the artificially intelligent humanoids gain true self awareness and consciousness.

Full Story...


Aug 8, 2015

The TV Series Humans: A Deep Look into Our Humanity

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

I recently binge watched my first TV series, Humans, which airs Sunday nights on AMC. As a science fiction writer myself, many people have been suggesting I check it out for weeks now. Finally I gave in, sat down on the couch, and watched the first six episodes over the course of two days. Not bad for a mother of two. And now I have to wait two whole days to see what happens next!!!!!

Full Story...


Jul 6, 2015

Humanism, Transhumanism, and Speculative Posthumanism

by John Danaher

I have recently been working my through David Roden’s book Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human. It is a unique and fascinating work. I am not sure that I have ever read anything quite like it. In the book, Roden defends a position which he refers to as speculative posthumanism. This holds, roughly, that the future we are creating through technological change could give rise to truly weird and alien forms of posthuman life.

Full Story...


May 26, 2015

When Is A Minion Not A Minion? - Should We Create Aware Machines?

by Aubrey de Grey

If asked to rank humanity’s problems by severity, I would give the silver medal to the need to spend so much time doing things that give us no fulfillment—work, in a word. I consider that the ultimate goal of artificial intelligence is to hand off this burden, to robots that have enough common sense to perform those tasks with minimal supervision.

But some AI researchers have altogether loftier aspirations for future machines: they foresee computer functionality that vastly exceeds our own in every sphere of cognition. Such machines would not only do things that people prefer not to; they would also discover how to do things that no one can yet do. This process can, in principle, iterate—the more such machines can do, the more they can discover.

What’s not to like about that? Why do I NOT view it as a superior research goal than machines with common sense (which I’ll call “minions”)?

Full Story...


May 25, 2015

Human Rights for Cyberconscious Beings

by Martine Rothblatt

Even if they aren’t flesh, “mindclones” deserve protection.

For much of the 20th century, capital punishment was carried out in most countries. During the preceding century many, like England, had daily public hangings. Today, even Russia, with a mountainous history of government-ordered executions, has a capital-punishment moratorium. Since 1996, it has not executed a criminal through the judicial system.

If we can learn to protect the lives of serial killers, child mutilators, and terrorists, surely we can learn to protect the lives of peace-loving model citizens known as mind clones and bemans—even if they initially seem odd or weird to us.

excerpt from Virtually Human: The Promise and Peril of Digital Immortality

Full Story...


May 19, 2015

Scientists Make Monkeys Smarter Using Brain Implants - Could You Be Next?

by George Dvorsky

For the very first time, scientists have demonstrated that a brain implant can improve thinking ability in primates. By implanting an electrode array into the cerebral cortex of monkeys, researchers were able to restore — and even improve — their decision-making abilities. The implications for possible therapies are far-reaching, including potential treatments for cognitive disorders and brain injuries.

But there’s also the possibility that this could lead to implants that could boost your intelligence.

Full Story...


May 12, 2015

Thoughts on Lauritzen’s “Stem Cells, Biotechnology, and Human Rights”

by John G. Messerly

Any reader of this blog knows that I am a transhumanist; I believe in using technology to overcome all human limitations. What follows is a summary of an article by Paul Lauritzen, a Professor Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic, Jesuit John Carroll University near Cleveland Ohio. I believe his argument worthless, and contrary to everything I believe in, but I will summarize it as best I can. As I proceed I will provide a few parenthetical comments, as well as a few critical remarks at the end.

Full Story...


Apr 25, 2015

The Problem of Personal Identity in Two Pages

by John G. Messerly

The problem – Is a person the kind of thing that can die on earth and be alive somewhere else? To understand this consider a thought experiment. If we make a perfect copy of you—complete with your thoughts and memories—is that copy really you or just a duplicate? (If you think the copy is you, then the waking up in heaven scenario is not problematic; if you think it’s just a copy, then the thing that wakes up in heaven isn’t you.)

Full Story...


Apr 23, 2015

A New York Judge Has Granted Legal Person Rights To Chimpanzees (Updated)

by George Dvorsky

For the first time in U.S. history, a supreme court has granted a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of two lab chimpanzees, effectively recognizing them as legal persons. While the future of the chimps has not yet been decided, it’s a huge step forward in establishing personhood status for highly sapient animals.


Mar 28, 2015

Calum Chace on Pandora’s Brain: AI is Coming and It Could Be the Best or the Worst Thing

by Nikola Danaylov

Pandora’s Brain is one of the most philosophical science fiction novels I have read recently. And since Calum Chace has been a valuable contributor to Singularity Weblog, as well as a great blogger with an interesting and diverse experience in his own right, I thought that he would make a great guest for my Singularity 1on1 podcast. And so I invited him for an interview which turned out to be a very enjoyable conversation indeed.


Mar 26, 2015

The Genetics and Neuroscience of Torture

by piero scaruffi

Every book on torture that i have browsed is mainly devoted to methods of torture and then to three topics: Ethical arguments against torture, Utilitarian arguments against torture, and History of the rejection of torture. I cannot find a neuroscientist or psychologist who thought of writing about the exact opposite: What were the ethical justifications for torture?, What were the utilitarian arguments for torture? and What is the history of the widespread adoption of torture? 


Mar 19, 2015

Posthumanisms: A Carnapian Experiment

by Daryl Wennemann

In his article, “What is the Difference between Posthumanism and Transhumanism?”, Kevin LaGrandeur sets out to clarify the meaning of the terms “posthuman”, “transhuman” and “posthumanism”. (http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/lagrandeur20141226) He notes that the relative newness of the terminology is a source of confusion among many who employ these terms.


Mar 4, 2015

Hume on Suicide

by John G. Messerly

David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, economist, historian and one of the most famous figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment. Hume is often grouped with John Locke, George Berkeley, and a handful of others as a British Empiricist


Feb 23, 2015

Two Interpretations of the Extended Mind Hypothesis

by John Danaher

I’m trying to wrap my head around the extended mind hypothesis (EMH). I’m doing so because I’m interested in its implications for the debate about enhancement and technology. If the mind extends into the environment outside the brain/bone barrier, then we are arguably enhancing our minds all the time by developing new technologies, be they books and abacuses or smartphones and wearable tech. Consequently, we should have no serious principled objection to technologies that try to enhance directly inside the brain/bone barrier.


Feb 22, 2015

The Junk Science and Bad Faith Behind Colorado’s IUD Controversy

by Valerie Tarico

Opposition to IUD’s, like opposition to vaccines, is putting American families at risk—and a Colorado controversy shows that misguided faith and scientific ignorance are to blame. When a pilot program in Colorado offered teens state-of-the-art long acting contraceptives—IUD’s and implants—teen births plummeted by 40%, along with a drop in abortions. The program saved the state 42.5 million dollars in a single year, over five times what it cost. But rather than extending or expanding the program, some Colorado Republicans are trying to kill it—even if this stacks the odds against Colorado families. 



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