Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Technoprogressivism

Santens @ North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress
September 30-


Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work Conference
December 5-6
Rice University, Houston, Texas




MULTIMEDIA: Technoprogressivism Topics

This tiny particle could roam your body to find tumors

This is your brain on communication

Bill Nye: Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?

Algocracy and Transhumanism Podcast: Deborah Lupton on the Quantified Self

Algocracy and Transhuamnism Podcast: Hannah Maslen on the Ethics of Neurointerventions

How better tech could protect us from distraction

The birth of virtual reality as an art form

This scientist makes ears out of apples

Gravitational Waves: The Universe’s Subtle Soundtrack

Color and Sound Perception Explained

Combatting Political Corruption Combats Climate Change

Evan Selinger on Algorithmic Outsourcing and the Value of Privacy

Re-imagine the Future

Bill Nye: Want to Combat Climate Change? Talk about It

Gene editing can now change an entire species—forever




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Technoprogressivism Topics




Le cas Oscar Pistorius : un « pas » dans le Transhumanisme ?

by Marc Roux

Parce que la réflexion Transhumaniste questionne ce que sera l’homme de demain, l’Association française transhumaniste vous livrera deux fois par mois une chronique sur l’actualité, attention chroniques étranges et décalées à prévoir : le Futur prend la plume sur Silicon Maniacs !



The Ethics of Algorithmic Outsourcing: An Analysis

by John Danaher

Our smart phones, smart watches, and smart bands promise a lot. They promise to make our lives better, to increase our productivity, to improve our efficiency, to enhance our safety, to make us fitter, faster, stronger and more intelligent. They do this through a combination of methods. One of the most important is outsourcing,* i.e. by taking away the cognitive and emotional burden associated with certain activities. Consider the way in which Google maps allows us to outsource the cognitive labour of remembering directions. This removes a cognitive burden and potential source of anxiety, and enables us to get to our destinations more effectively. We can focus on more important things. It’s clearly a win-win.



The World’s First Child-Sized Exoskeleton Will Melt Your Heart

by George Dvorsky

We’ve seen exoskeletons before, but nothing quite like this one. The new brace, developed by Spanish researchers, will help children with spinal muscular atrophy.

The 26-pound device consists of long support rods and are adjusted to fit around a child’s legs and torso. A series of motors mimic human muscles in the joints, endowing the patient the required strength to stand upright and walk. A series of sensors, along with a movement controller and a five-hour battery, complete the system. The aluminum and titanium device can also be expanded and modified to accommodate children between the age of 3 and 14.



Worst case scenario – 2035 and no basic income.

by Khannea Suntzu

There is now an almost constant stream of articles saying what was politically incorrect to state out loud just 5-8 years ago – Technological Unemployment is certain, it is imminent and ‘something like a basic income’ will be necessary. I have said so much on this societal issue in the last ten years that it quite often feels like an obligatory rehash of the arguments in favor of a basic income. The best and most authoritative arguments are still being voiced by Martin Ford and I suggest everyone to check his level-headed and well researched presentations on the topic. In my understanding Martin blows arguments against out of the water.



How VR Gaming will Wake Us Up to our Fake Worlds

by Eliott Edge

“It has no relationship whatsoever to anything anchored in some kind of metaphysical superspace.  It’s just your cultural point of view […] Travel shows you the relativity of culture.”

— Terence McKenna



Imagining the Anthropocene

by Rick Searle

Almost a year ago now, while reading an article by the historian Yuval Harari in the British newspaper The Guardian, I had a visceral experience of what it means to live in the Anthropocene. Harari’s piece was about the horrors of industrial meat production, and as evidence of the scale of the monstrosity, he listed a set of facts that I had either not known, or had never taken the time to fully contemplate.



Transhumanisme : Comment sortir de la « Vallée de l’étrange » ? 2/2

by Marc Roux

Sous la plume de l’Association Française Transhumaniste questionnement autour de la vallée de l’étrange. Cette étrange vallée caractérise l’acceptable pour l’esprit humain.

Dans la première partie, Marc Roux, président de l’Association française Transhumaniste, expliquait le concept de “Vallée de l’étrange” avant de s’interroger : et si les modifications de l’humain menaient vers de nouvelles formes d’intolérance. Une réflexion qui le mène, aujourd’hui, à prendre position d’une façon très originale…



On tragedy, ethics and the human condition.

by Alex McGilvery

The shootings at the Pulse club in Orlando highlight once more just how far we humans need to go in the evolution of our ethics. People on all sides have already weighed in on how their particular way of seeing the world would have prevented the crime. Almost immediately they began talking past each other with little or no effort to hear the other side.



Paradiso and Inferno in Robin Hanson’s ‘The Age of EM’

by Giulio Prisco

Robin Hanson’s future scenario in “The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth” reminds me of Dante. On the one hand, many people will transcend (current concepts of) humanity and “transhumanize” – a word invented by Dante in Paradiso, Canto 1 – to become uploaded souls running on high performance computing circuitry. On the other hand, they will live in red-hot metal cities that create strong hot winds to disperse the excess heat generated by billions of uploads computing their way to continued existence. The infernal city of Dis, described by Dante in Inferno, Canto 8, comes to mind.



Evolution: Natural or Technical

by Alexandre Maurer

Transhumanism embodies the idea that humans have to assume their evolution. Given this approach, Transhumanism is often paralleled with Darwin’s theory of natural evolution. Is this parallel pertinent? Yes… and No? In this article, we will try to identify the limits. We will explain why technological evolution (in the context of Transhumanism) appears to be significantly preferable.



Dubai Is Building the World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant

by George Dvorsky

They like to do things big in Dubai, including a newly-approved concentrated solar power project that will generate 1,000 megawatts of power by 2020—and a whopping 5,000 megawatts by 2030.

he Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) has announced the launch of the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) project. Located on a single site within the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the plant will consist of five facilities. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed either in late 2020 or 2021, at which time it’s expected to generate 1,000 MW of power. By 2030, this plant could be churning out five times that amount—enough to raise the emirate’s total power output by 25 percent.



Comment sortir de la “Vallée de l’étrange” ? 1/2

by Marc Roux

Sous la plume de l’Association Française Transhumaniste questionnement autour de la vallée de l’étrange. Cette étrange vallée caractérise l’acceptable pour l’esprit humain.

Le mercredi 19 octobre prochain aura lieu en Angleterre une bien étrange compétition. Pour la 22ème année consécutive, un groupe de 4 personnes sera mis en concurrence avec une série d’ordinateurs face à un jury de spécialistes du langage (anglo-saxon) et de l’informatique. Le but de chacun : prouver qu’il est humain !



The World’s Oldest Computer May Have Been Used to Predict the Future

by George Dvorsky

Discovered in an ancient shipwreck near Crete in 1901, the freakishly advanced Antikythera Mechanism has been called the world’s first computer. A decades-long investigation into the 2,000 year-old-device is shedding new light onto this mysterious device, including the revelation that it may have been used for more than just astronomy.



Living Bacteria Can Now Store Data

by George Dvorsky

Using the CRISPR gene-editing tool, scientists from Harvard University have developed a technique that permanently records data into living cells. Incredibly, the information imprinted onto these microorganisms can be passed down to the next generation.



Does Self-Tracking Promote Autonomy? An Initial Argument

by John Danaher

Seneca was a wealthy Roman stoic and advisor to the emperor Nero. In the third of his Letters from a Stoic, entitled ‘On True and False Friendship’, he makes the following observation:

As to yourself, although you should live in such a way that you trust your own self with nothing which you could not entrust even to your own enemy, yet, since certain matters occur which convention keeps secret, you should share with a friend at least all your worries and reflections.



Rare Genetic Mutation May Explain Some Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

by George Dvorsky

Canadian scientists have uncovered a single genetic mutation that significantly heightens a person’s chance of developing a progressive and severe form of multiple sclerosis. While no single factor is responsible for causing the neurological disease, the discovery points to possible treatment options.



New Details Emerge About the Plan to Build an Artificial Human Genome

by George Dvorsky

Last month, a group of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered in secret to discuss the possibility of creating a synthetic human genome from scratch. Details of the plan have finally been made public, and it’s as ambitious as it sounds. But critics say they founders of the new project are avoiding the tough ethical questions.



The Monotony of Work

by John G. Messerly

I corresponded with an old friend yesterday who was communicating the tedium of his work as a software engineer. He is thankful that he earns a six-figure salary, and he understands that most people in the world would happily trade places with him, but that doesn’t change the fact that a future filled with a lifetime of coding doesn’t excite his probing and restless mind. Minds like his need stimulation, and they could contribute so much to the rest of us if they were freed to follow their interests . Moreover, while technology companies pay some of the best wages in the United States, they expect more than 40 hours of work in return, which leaves my friend with less time with his children than he would like.



Stefan Sorgner @ “Grand Narratives, Posthumanism, and Aesthetics” Conference

Katherine Hayles and IEET Fellow Stefan Lorenz Sorgner will be keynote speakers at the conference “Grand Narratives, Posthumanism, and Aesthetics”, which will take place at Aarhus University from the 22nd until the 24th of March 2017. Read the conference program here.

Full Story...
Link to Posthuman Aesthetics, Aarhus University



IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher Interviewed by Futurezone

When machines take all the jobs that people need to find new meaning in life. This could be for the company, according to John Danaher both curse and blessing.

Full Story...
Link to Futurezone



Developing countries – help yourselves! A case study of Kazakhstan

by Ilia Stambler

On May 19, 2016, the World Health Organization released its report “World Health Statistics: Monitoring Health for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” describing the recent state of global health. The news is rather encouraging. The global life expectancy increased by 5 years, from about 66.5 to 71.4 presently, recording the fastest increase since the 1960s. The rightly so-called “developing” countries generally showed a much faster improvement compared to the complacently “developed” ones. Thus, Africa generally had the lowest life expectancy.



IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher Publishes New Paper in Journal: Bioethics

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher published a new paper coming out in the journal Bioethics. It’s about the philosophy of education and student use of cognitive enhancement drugs. It suggests that universities might be justified in regulating their students’ use of enhancement drugs, but only in a very mild, non-compulsory way. It suggests that a system of voluntary commitment contracts might be an interesting proposal. The details are below.

Full Story...
Link to Bioethics



IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher Publishes New Paper - Robots, Law and the Retribution Gap

Here is a new paper that John Danaher, IEET Affiliate Scholar, has published and will be coming out in the journal Ethics and Information Technology. In case you are interested, the idea for this paper originated in this blogpost from late 2014.

Full Story...
Link to Ethics and Information Technology



Les robots devraient-ils avoir le permis de tuer ?

by Marc Roux

Vous en avez assez de lire des articles qui parlent du transhumanisme à la place des transhumanistes ? Cette chronique est faite pour vous.

« Avec les robots guerriers, la guerre va changer de visage » nous informait le Monde du 12 novembre. Pour commémorer la “Der des Ders”, le célèbre journal faisait le point des dernières orientations des armées françaises en matière de robotique.



Vacancy - Research Assistant on the Algocracy and Transhumanism Project

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher is hiring a research assistant as part of his Algocracy and Transhumanism project. It’s a short-term contract (5 months only) and available from July onwards. The candidate would have to be able to relocate to Galway for the period. Details below. Please share this with anyone you think might be interested.

Full Story...
Link to Algocracy and Transhumanism Project



Will Transhumanism Change Racism in the Future?

by Zoltan Istvan

Despite decades of progress, racism and bigotry are still prevalent in the United States. Often, they even dominate the news in American media, like during the Baltimore riots or the Ferguson shooting. Movements like Black Lives Matter remind us that the society we live in still has many biases to be fought against, but that good work can be done to combat bigotry if people unite against it.



A snapshot on the fight against death

by Fran Villalba Segarra

We are humans. We are animals that are born, grow and die. A life, indeed, limited by death. Some, through religion, have tried to address this issue. People believed and still legitimately believe that their soul will go to heaven once they die. However, we are now really close to finally defeating death through science. The aim of this article is to address this exact topic; immortality. This will be done through two sets of arguments. The first one will deal with the social issues related to the topic; the second with the scientific part. Although human death has not yet been cured, it is thought that it will be within the next fifty years, bringing social issues that will have to be considered.



Futurespection: How do we get better?

by David Brin

The hot new journal, Evonomics just ran my appraisal of how Advertising is failing the Internet.  I explore how a real Web economy might replace the maelstrom of ads. Could simple micro-payments work, paying pennies for what you use? I’ve been working on this analysis for 3 years. A two-parter with major implications for your future online.



Douglas Rushkoff joins IFTF as Research Fellow

We’re thrilled to announce that media theorist, author, and professor Douglas Rushkoff has joined Institute for the Future as a Research Fellow. Douglas is a professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY/Queens, IEET Fellow and author of more than a dozen bestselling books about media, technology, and culture.

Full Story...
Link to Institute for the Future



The Future of PR in Emotionally Intelligent Technology

by Jules Hamilton

PR is essentially the practice of managing the spread of information, and this is a tactical craft. For the PR professional years of experience combine knowledge of pragmatic practice and human intuition to generate desired results, a positive image and receptive message.

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