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




whats new at ieet

Review of Ilia Stambler’s “A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century”

Schneider on Extraterrestrial Intelligence @ Astrobiology Symposium

10 Horrifying Technologies That Should Never Be Allowed To Exist

Popular Science picks best inventions for 2014

Data Mining: Twitter, Facebook and Beyond

Access for Everyone: A Model for Free Online Learning, with Duolingo’s Luis von Ahn


ieet books

A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century
Author
Ilia Stambler

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
Nick Bostrom

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

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


comments

instamatic on 'Is Anarchy (as in Anarchism) the Golden Mean of the future?' (Sep 17, 2014)

instamatic on 'Transhumanism - Considering Ideas From Existentialism and Religion' (Sep 17, 2014)

spud100 on 'Transhumanism - Considering Ideas From Existentialism and Religion' (Sep 16, 2014)

dobermanmac on 'Can Brain Implants Make Us Smarter?' (Sep 15, 2014)

dobermanmac on 'Genetically Engineered Ethical Super Babies?' (Sep 15, 2014)

ANB2015 on 'MMR Vaccines and Autism: Bringing clarity to the CDC Whistleblower Story' (Sep 14, 2014)

PhilOsborn on 'Do Cognitive Enhancing Drugs Actually Work?' (Sep 13, 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


Enhancing Virtues: Caring (part 1)
Aug 29, 2014
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An open source future for synthetic biology
Sep 9, 2014
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MMR Vaccines and Autism: Bringing clarity to the CDC Whistleblower Story
Sep 14, 2014
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On Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature”
Aug 31, 2014
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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 will strive 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


What is Transhumanism? – the 3 Supers
Sep 16- 2014

Debate: Is the robot rebellion inevitable?
Sep 8- 2014

Robot Sex Workers of Tomorrow (w/ Lynn Parramore)
Sep 5- 2014

Effective Altruism, an Introduction
Aug 30- 2014

Can Brain Implants Make Us Smarter?
Aug 26- 2014

Animals and Ethics
Aug 25- 2014

On Parfit’s view that we are not Human Beings (50 min)
Aug 21- 2014

Achieving Personal Immortality Roadmap
Aug 19- 2014

On Lab Meat / in vitro meat
Aug 8- 2014

Artificial Intelligence, Anthropics & Cause Prioritization
Jul 28- 2014

Steven Wise of Nonhuman Rights Project on Colbert Report
Jul 23- 2014

History of a Time to Come
Jul 17- 2014

Buddhism & Transhumanism
Jul 15- 2014

This Is My Body
Jul 11- 2014

Harming and Protecting Robots
Jul 9- 2014

Markov Decision Processes
Jul 7- 2014

The Turing Test is Insufficient
Jul 3- 2014

The Colbert Report /w Martine Rothblatt and BINA48
Jun 26- 2014

Turing Tests for Morality & Intimacy, Moral Enhancement & Digital Moral Assistants
Jun 20- 2014

Failing the Artificial Intelligence Test (w/ George Dvorsky)
Jun 18- 2014


PERSONHOOD EVENTS


Cascio, Pellissier @ Artificial Intelligence & The Singularity Conference
Sep 20 2014
Piedmont, California

LaGrandeur @ Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
Oct 9-12 2014
Dallas, TX USA

Cognition and Neuroethics in Science Fiction
Mar 20-21 2015
Flint, Michigan, USA



PERSONHOOD ARTICLES



Sep 18, 2014

10 Horrifying Technologies That Should Never Be Allowed To Exist

by George Dvorsky

As we head deeper into the 21st century, we’re starting to catch a glimpse of the fantastic technological possibilities that await. But we’re also starting to get a grim sense of the potential horrors. Here are 10 frightening technologies that should never, ever, come into existence.


Sep 16, 2014

Can Machines Be Moral Actors?

by Rick Searle

Ethicists have been asking themselves a question over the last couple of years that seems to come right out of science-fiction. Is it possible to make moral machines, or in their lingo, autonomous moral agents -AMAs? Asking the question might have seemed silly not so long ago, or so speculative as risk obtaining tenure, but as the revolution in robotics has rolled forward it has become an issue necessary to grapple with and now.


Sep 13, 2014

Book Review: Virtually Human by Martine Rothblatt

by Peter Rothman

“Virtually Human explores what the not-too-distant future will look like when cyberconsciousness—simulation of the human brain via software and computer technology—becomes part of our daily lives.” by Martine Rothblatt Ph.D., MBA, J.D.


Sep 6, 2014

IEET Fellow David Eagleman to Host PBS Series on The Brain

IEET Fellow David Eagleman has written and will host a six hour television series on The Brain for PBS.  The series will premeire in 2015, and deals with tough questions of ethics and emerging neurotechnologies.

Full Story...


Sep 1, 2014

Emotion, Artificial Intelligence, and Ethics

by Kevin LaGrandeur

The growing body of work in the new field of “affective robotics” involves both theoretical and practical ways to instill – or at least imitate – human emotion in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and also to induce emotions toward AI in humans. The aim of this is to guarantee that as AI becomes smarter and more powerful, it will remain tractable and attractive to us. Inducing emotions is important to this effort to create safer and more attractive AI because it is hoped that instantiation of emotions will eventually lead to robots that have moral and ethical codes, making them safer; and also that humans and AI will be able to develop mutual emotional attachments, facilitating the use of robots as human companions and helpers. This paper discusses some of the more significant of these recent efforts and addresses some important ethical questions that arise relative to these endeavors.

Full Story...


Aug 23, 2014

Are we morally obliged to eat some meat? (Part 1 and 2)

by John Danaher

I’ve recently been looking into the ethics of vegetarianism, partly because I’m not one myself and I’m interesting in questioning my position, and partly because it is an interesting philosophical issue in its own right. Earlier this summer I looked at Jeff McMahan’s critique of benign carnivorism. Since that piece was critical of the view I myself hold, I thought it might be worthwhile balancing things out by looking at an opposing view.


Aug 21, 2014

Bostrom on Superintelligence (6): Motivation Selection Methods

by John Danaher

This is the sixth part in my series on Nick Bostrom’s recent book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. The series is covering those parts of the book that most interest me. This includes the sections setting out the basic argument for thinking that the creation of superintelligent AI could threaten human existence, and the proposed methods for dealing with that threat.


Aug 11, 2014

The Radical Plan To Phase Out Earth’s Predatory Species

by George Dvorsky

Should animals be permitted to hunt and kill other animals? Some futurists believe that humans should intervene, and solve the “problem” of predator vs. prey once and for all. We talked to the man who wants to use radical ecoengineering to put an end to the carnage. A world without predators certainly sounds extreme, and it is. But British philosopher David Pearce can’t imagine a future in which animals continue to be trapped in the never-ending cycle of blind Darwinian processes.


Aug 4, 2014

Gaza Is a Transhumanist Issue!

by Benjamin Abbott

Transhumanists as a rule may prefer to contemplate implants and genetic engineering, but few if any violations of morphological freedom exceed being torn to pieces by shrapnel or dashed against concrete by an overpressure wave. In this piece I argue that the settler-colonial violence in occupied Palestine relates to core aspects of modernity and demands futurist attention both emotionally and intellectually.


Aug 4, 2014

Back to the Future — Modernizing Sexual Health Care, Regulations, and Reimbursement for Teens

by Valerie Tarico

More than 80 percent of teen pregnancies are accidents. A girl with other hopes and dreams—or maybe a girl who is floundering, who hasn’t even begun to explore her hopes and dreams—finds herself unexpectedly slated for either an abortion or 4,000 diapers. Given the shame and stigma surrounding abortion in many American subcultures, that can seem like a choice between the proverbial rock and hard place. The exciting news that launched this Sightline series is that teen pregnancy is in decline across the United States and across all major ethnic groups. Fewer and fewer young women are facing hard decisions after the fact.


Jul 30, 2014

Bostrom on Superintelligence (1): The Orthogonality Thesis

by John Danaher

In this entry, I take a look at Bostrom’s orthogonality thesis. As we shall see, this thesis is central to his claim that superintelligent AIs could pose profound existential risks to human beings. But what does the thesis mean and how plausible is it?


Jul 25, 2014

Why Solitary Confinement Is The Worst Kind Of Psychological Torture

by George Dvorsky

There may be as many as 80,000 American prisoners currently locked-up in a SHU, or segregated housing unit. Solitary confinement in a SHU can cause irreversible psychological effects in as little as 15 days. Here’s what social isolation does to your brain, and why it should be considered torture.


Jul 21, 2014

Plato and the Physicist: A Multicosmic Love Story

by Rick Searle

So I finally got around to reading Max Tegmark’s book Our Mathematical Universe, and while the book answered the question that had led me to read it, namely, how one might reconcile Plato’s idea of eternal mathematical forms with the concept of multiple universes, it also threw up a whole host of new questions. This beautifully written and thought provoking book made me wonder about the future of science and the scientific method, the limits to human knowledge, and the scientific, philosophical and moral meaning of various ideas of the multiverse.


Jul 19, 2014

Feminism and the Basic Income (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This is the second part of my series on feminism and the basic income. In part one, I looked at the possible effects of an unconditional basic income (UBI) on women. I also looked at a variety of feminist arguments for and against the UBI. The arguments focused on the impact of the UBI on economic independence, freedom of choice, the value of unpaid work, and women’s labour market participation.


Jul 18, 2014

Why We Should Be Careful About Adopting Social Robots

by Evan Selinger

Although Jibo, designed by MIT professor Cynthia Breazeal to be the “world’s first family robot,” isn’t set to ship until 2015, folks are already excited about this little bot with a “big personality.” While there’s much to be said for Breazeal’s vision of “humanizing technology” so that the smart home of the future doesn’t “feel cold and computerized,” we might want to pause a bit before rushing to build the type of world depicted in the movieHer. Although it is easy to imagine we’ll be better off when we’ve got less to do, we don’t actually know the existential and social implications ofoutsourcing ever-more intimate tasks to technology.


Jul 17, 2014

Feminism and the Basic Income (Part One)

by John Danaher

The introduction of an unconditional basic income (UBI) is often touted as a positive step in terms of freedom, well-being and social justice. That’s certainly the view of people like Philippe Van Parijs and Karl Widerquist, both of whose arguments for the UBI I covered in my two most recent posts. But could there be other less progressive effects arising from its introduction?


Jul 11, 2014

Nanomedical Cognitive Enhancement

by Melanie Swan

Overview of Advances Articulated in Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions (2013) [1] This article provides an overview of the research findings related to cognitive enhancement that are presented in Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions (2013), an encyclopedic textbook chronicling a plethora of recent advances in myriad areas of nanotechnology and nanomedicine. The final chapter discusses progress in nanomedical cognitive enhancement, where we find ourselves in a modern era in which many technologies appear to be on the cusp – helping to resolve pathologies while also having much future potential for the augmentation of human capabilities.


Jul 10, 2014

Why Anesthesia Is One of the Greatest Medical Mysteries of Our Time

by George Dvorsky

Anesthesia was a major medical breakthrough, allowing us to lose consciousness during surgery and other painful procedures. Trouble is, we’re not entirely sure how it works. But now we’re getting closer to solving its mystery — and with it, the mystery of consciousness itself. When someone goes under, their cognition and brain activity continue, but consciousness gets shut down.


Jul 5, 2014

How Should Humanity Steer the Future?

by Rick Searle

Over the spring the Fundamental Questions Institute (FQXi) sponsored an essay contest the topic of which should be dear to this audience’s heart- How Should Humanity Steer the Future? I thought I’d share some of the essays I found most interesting, but there are lots, lots, more to check out if you’re into thinking about the future or physics, which I am guessing you might be.


Jun 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby, Contraception, & the Supreme Court Ruling

by Kelly Hills

As expected, the last case ruled on before the Supreme Court of the United States adjourned until October was the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga case. For those unaware, this case is based on the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, classifying contraceptives as preventive healthcare required under all insurance plans without a co-pay. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood both objected to this, saying that covering some forms of birth control, like the IUD/IUS or Plan B, violated their religious beliefs by requiring them to fund abortive medications.1



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Williams 119, Trinity College, 300 Summit St., Hartford CT 06106 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376