Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies






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




whats new at ieet

The why and how of effective altruism

Humanism, Transhumanism, and Speculative Posthumanism

Promoting scientific and rational literacy to create a friendly global ideology that helps humanity

The death of our Republic is inevitable, but what should replace it?

Friendly Artificial Intelligence: Parenthood and the Fear of Supplantation

Our Paradoxical Economy - Courtesy of Technology and the Lack of Basic Income


ieet books

The Future of Business
Author
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


comments

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)







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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


Universal Basic Income—The Foundation of a Technically Advanced Society
Jun 15, 2015
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Should Politicians be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence? Interview with Mark Waser
Jun 12, 2015
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(3) Comments

Will Artificial Intelligence be a Buddha? Is Fear of AI just a symptom of Human Self-Loathing?
Jun 17, 2015
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Split the Earth: 50% for Humans, 50% for Protected Biodiversity Zones
Jun 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)



PERSONHOOD MEDIA


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

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


PERSONHOOD ARTICLES



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. 


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.



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