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Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




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IEET Launching Annual Fundraiser

Big-Bank Bad Guys Bully Democracy – And Blow It

Let’s kick oil while the price is down

The Sofalarity is Near

Buddhist Geeks Mind Hacking Retreat

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


ieet books

Anticipating Tomorrow’s Politics
Author
Ed. David Wood

Post- and Transhumanism: An Introduction
Robert Ranisch and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner eds.

How “God” Works: A Logical Inquiry on Faith
Marshall Brain

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


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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

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Mar 19, 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 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


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

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


PERSONHOOD EVENTS




PERSONHOOD ARTICLES



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. 


Feb 16, 2015

Will Superintelligences Experience Philosophical Distress?

by John G. Messerly

Will superintelligences be troubled by philosophical conundrums?1 Consider classic philosophical questions such as: 1) What is real? 2) What is valuable? 3) Are we free? We currently don’t know the answer to such questions. We might not think much about them, or we may accept common answers—this world is real; happiness is valuable; we are free.


Feb 14, 2015

Sex and Love in the Age of Algorithms

by Rick Searle

How’s this for a 21st century Valentine’s Day tale: a group of religious fundamentalists want to redefine human sexual and gender relationships based on a more than 2,000 year old religious text. Yet instead of doing this by aiming to seize hold of the cultural and political institutions of society, a task they find impossible, they create an algorithm which once people enter their experience is based on religiously derived assumptions users cannot see. People who enter this world have no control over their actions within it, and surrender their autonomy for the promise of finding their “soul mate”.


Feb 14, 2015

Christianity’s Painfully Mixed Track Record on Slavery

by Valerie Tarico

Taken as a package, the Bible sends mixed messages about slavery, which is why Christian leaders used the Good Book on both sides—including in the lead up to the American civil war. Should a person be able to own another person? Today Christians uniformly say no, and many would like to believe that has always been the case.  But history tells a different story, one in which Christians have struggled to give a clear answer when confronted with questions about human trafficking and human rights.


Feb 2, 2015

Machine Cognition and AI Ethics Percolate at AAAI 2015

by Melanie Swan

The AAAI’s Twenty-Ninth Conference on Artificial Intelligence was held January 25-30, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Machine cognition was an important focal area covered in two workshops on AI and Ethics, and Beyond the Turing Test, and in a special track on Cognitive Systems. Some of the most interesting emergent themes are discussed in this article.


Jan 28, 2015

Time to Start Looking At ‘Cyborg’ As a Gender Identity

by B. J. Murphy

I am a Cyborg. No, I don’t have any technological enhancements just yet, though I plan on doing so very soon with help from my friends within the DIY grinder community. Even then, my “choosing” to identify myself as a cyborg is more than a mere desire for cyborg enhancements, but is an identity that I feel deeply within myself – a longing to express myself in ways that my current biological body cannot.


Jan 26, 2015

Death With Dignity vs. “Redemptive Suffering” - The Legacy of Brittany Maynard

by Valerie Tarico

 In the fall of 2014, a young dying woman, Brittany Maynard, captured the hearts of millions around the world. Now her husband and mother have teamed up with a national advocacy group, Compassion & Choices to honor her final wish—that aid in dying be available to terminally ill Americans in every state.  


Jan 9, 2015

Enhancement and authenticity: Is it all about being true to our selves?

by John Danaher

I’ve met Erik Parens twice; he seems like a thoroughly nice fellow. I say this because I’ve just been reading his latest book Shaping Our Selves: On Technology, Flourishing and a Habit of Thinking, and it is noticeable how much of his personality shines through in the book. Indeed, the book opens with a revealing memoir of Parens’s personal life and experiences in bioethics, specifically in the enhancement debate. What’s more, Parens’s frustrations with the limiting and binary nature of much philosophical debate is apparent throughout his book.


Jan 2, 2015

The Disappearing Agent Objection to Free Will Libertarianism

by John Danaher

The term “libertarianism” is used in two senses in philosophical circles. The first, and perhaps more famous sense, is as a name for a family of political theories that prioritise individual freedom; the second, and perhaps less famous (except among the cognoscenti), is as a specific view on the nature of free will. It is the latter sense that concerns me in this post.


Dec 22, 2014

Stopping the innocent from pleading guilty: Can brain-based recognition detection tests help?

by John Danaher

So I have another paper coming out. It’s about plea-bargaining, brain-based lie detection and the innocence problem. I wasn’t going to write about it on the blog, but then somebody sent me a link to a recent article by Jed Radoff entitled “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty”. Radoff’s article is an indictment of the plea-bargaining system currently in operation in the US. Since my article touches upon same thing, I thought it might be worth offering a summary of its core argument.


Dec 21, 2014

#19: 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.


Dec 16, 2014

Torture and the Ticking Time Bomb

by John G. Messerly

Why do people torture others? Why do they march others into gas chambers? Because some are psychopaths or sadists or power hungry. Depravity is in their DNA. Some are not inherently depraved but believe the situation demands torture. If others are evil and we are good, then we should kill and torture them with impunity. Such ideas result from the demonization of others, from a simplistic worldview in which good battles evil. If others torture, they are war criminals; if we torture are motives are pure. But the world is more nuanced than this. There is good and evil within us all.


Dec 10, 2014

Defining “Benevolence” in the context of Safe AI

by Richard Loosemore

The question that motivates this essay is “Can we build a benevolent AI, and how do we get around the problem that humans, bless their cotton socks, can’t define ‘benevolence’?” A lot of people want to emphasize just how many different definitions of “benevolence” there are in the world — the point, of course, being that humans are very far from agreeing a universal definition of benevolence, so how can we expect to program something we cannot define into an AI?


Dec 9, 2014

Our Connection to the Future

by John G. Messerly

My son recently shared an interesting idea. Suppose we cryogenically preserve ourselves and send our bodies and brains into space, or simply leave them on earth to be reanimated. Even if advanced beings find us in the future and want to awaken us, there is a good chance that our minds will be too primitive to be rebooted. Our futuristic descendants may not have technology compatible with our primitive mind files. It would be as if we come across an old floppy disk or early telephone but no longer had the technology to run them.


Dec 9, 2014

The Not-So-Virgin Birth of the Christmas Story

by Valerie Tarico

Celestial messengers, natural wonders and a virgin birth establish the baby Jesus as someone special. Why does the rest of the New Testament ignore these auspicious beginnings?



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