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-

Roux on H+ & Cyborgization @ “Transformed Body” (“Le Corps Transformé”)
October 9-10
Montpellier, France

Brin on “Privacy: Why Does It Matter?”
October 15
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY USA

Santens @ How robotics will affect the availability of employment and social benefits (WEBCAST)
October 26
Brookings Institution, Washington, DC USA

GSA Interest Group “Societal Implications of Delaying Aging”
November 21
Orlando, FL USA

Sorgner @ Transhumanism: Perspektiven, Chancen, Risiken
December 5
Nürnberg, Germany

MULTIMEDIA: Technoprogressivism Topics

Embrace: affordable, portable infant incubator

The Future of Work and Death (Trailer)

Ethical Implications of Anti-Aging Medicine

Techno-Religions and Silicon Prophets

Robots Are Taking Our Jobs

What is the Future of Virtual Assistants?

Two Brilliant Hacks for Finding Your Calling

Anticipating Technological Unemployment

Basic Income and other ways to fix capitalism

Gene Therapy is NOT a Monstrous Science / Singularity 1on1

The Future of Business

Technology Made Us Human

10 Amazing Robots That Will Change the World

First Video Camera to Use Artificial Intelligence to Identify and Self-Edit

Artificial Intelligence for the Blind

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Technoprogressivism Topics

Transhumanists Donate Incubators to Afghanistan to Combat Infant Mortality

by Micah Redding

Earlier this year, the Christian Transhumanist Association made its public debut with an open invitation to membership, and a small fundraising campaign that brought in approximately $1200. Now, as our first substantial financial act, the membership advisory council, the donors, and the board have decided to contribute that money towards a project that combines technology, compassion, and respect for human life.

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IEET Audience Divided on Minimum Wage and Technological Unemployment

We asked “Should we promote higher minimum wages even if they accelerate technological unemployment?” Of the 134 of you who responded to our poll, one in six were OK with promoting higher minimum wages because you are skeptical of technological unemployment, and one in four questioned promoting higher minimum wages because you are skeptical of the feasibility of achieving a basic income guarantee. A little more than half of you thought working for higher minimum wages was OK either because a basic income guarantee is inevitable, or because we can simultaneously promote higher minimum wages and a BIG.

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A Techno-Optimist Movement: For an Evenly Distributed Future

by B. J. Murphy

Prominently known as the “noir prophet” of the cyberpunk subgenre, sci-fi novelist William Ford Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”[1]

We are living in a point of time in which we can conceivably recognize the emergence of a future once envisioned throughout science-fiction literature. Unfortunately, as stated by Gibson, the future doesn’t appear to be evenly distributed. Whether or not this is merely the hallmark of a future emerging from its infancy, only to then mature over time, shouldn’t prevent us from recognizing the current problems laid before us.

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Cryonics and Kim Suozzi

by John G. Messerly

A recent New York Times article chronicled 23-year-old Kim Suozzi’s decision to cryonically preserve her brain. Kim, who died recently of cancer, raised the money for her cryonic preservation by soliciting donations with this post at the subreddit “atheism” at the online site reddit—yes atheists can be generous people. Here is the video that accompanied the post:

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IEET Fellow David Brin Named 2015 NEH Visiting Fellow at Bard College

IEET Fellow David Brin has been named the first annual National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. David will be in residence at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College from Monday, October 5, to Sunday, October 25. As part of David’s fellowship, he will mentor selected Bard students on their fiction and nonfiction writing. Brin will also offer a number of lectures and discussions during his residency at Bard.

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Stalinism as Transhumanism

by Rick Searle

The ever controversial Steve Fuller has recently published a number of jolting essays at the IEET,(there has been a good discussion on David Roden’s blog on the topic), yet whatever one thinks about the prospect of zombie vs transhumanist apocalypse he has managed to raise serious questions for anyone who identifies themselves with the causes of transhumanism and techno-progressivism; namely, what is the proper role, if any, of the revolutionary, modernizing state in such movements and to what degree should the movement be open to violence as a means to achieve its ends? Both questions, I will argue, can best be answered by looking at the system constructed in the Soviet Union between 1929 and 1953 under the reign of Joseph Stalin.            

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The Culturally Purposeful Robot

by Daniel Faggella

Earth is a colorful and diversely populated planet. Evolution just happened to be a genius beyond reckoning, but one that many of us take for granted much of the time - perhaps not on a conscious level, but in more of a conditioned and familiar sense. Continents of Homo sapiens developed into different races, created various cultures based on environment (and most likely genes), and the rest is history. Using this as a lens through which to frame humans’ development of robots, is there any reason to doubt that we will one day have any less of a diverse population of robots?

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Voluntary Collaborationism: The Emergent Economic Model?

by RU Sirius


I wrote this article in May 2011 for H+ magazine.  I am sharing it on IEET today, with updated commentary.

I am forming the US Open Source Party in with Krist Novoselic, Jon Lebkowsky and others, as an example of voluntary collaborationism towards a political goal.

2015 commentary is in bold and italics.

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Our Mind-Meld Future - WE are The Singularity

by Brian Hanley

The singularity is not going to do away with humanity. If there is one, we will be at the center of it. We will be the singularity, together.

Today we are doing brain stem stimulation for treating Parkinson’s disease. Vagus nerve stimulation stops rheumatoid arthritis and can control other immune activity. Cortical arrays pick up brain activity allowing control of robot arm and decoding of speech.  Rejection and scarring are problems with electrodes, but recent advances in injectable micro-electrodes and flexible, stretchable interconnects are changing that. We are slowly improving this technology.

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How Can Bitcoin Help Emancipate Billions, and Help Food Security?

by David Orban

Through the fundamental invention of the Blockchain, we now have a tool that, through the use of planet-wide communications networks and smartphones that are available to anybody, can put a Western city-dweller and an Indonesian fisherman on equal footing, to participate in global commerce, maximizing their mutual advantage, and heightening incentives to achieve local and global food security.

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Want USA Colleges to be Free? Nationalize Energy; Tax Churches; Halt Offshore Tax Evasion

by Hank Pellissier

“Free college education for all Americans would be wonderful… it’s a Bernie Sanders goal, and I like it.”

I stated this opinion of mine at a family gathering last weekend. My conservative relatives glared.

“He’s a socialist!” Mom grumbled. She’s leaning towards Ben Carson.

“How you going to pay for that?” Cousin Richard demanded. He’s a Southern California lawyer, happy with Trump. “Where you going to get the money? It’s just not there!”

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IEET Poll: China Rising

We asked “Will China be the dominant world power in the 2020s?” Almost two thirds of the 143 respondents felt that China will continue to grow in influence, but will not be dominant by the 2020s.

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Merge Away!!!

by Arthur Caplan

The New York Times editorial page is the latest in a lengthening series of commentaries worrying about the impact of two proposed corporate mergers in the health insurance market.  Anthem has agreed to acquire Cigna and Aetna is taking over Humana. That means the number of big health insurers will drop from five to three.

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A New Kind of Economic Philosophy: Network Economies of Abundance

by Melanie Swan

Blockchain technology, as revolutionary as it is, is perhaps most revolutionary in exposing the corner of a whole new philosophy of economics that can be formulated as a Network Economics of Abundance.

Not just a new economic theory, but a new philosophy of economics is required because the entirety of existing economic theory has been constructed around the assumption of scarcity, and reconfiguring our economic thought around abundance instead as a central parameter requires rethinking economics so profoundly as to be a new philosophical position that is outside the field of economics.

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Why haven’t Robots taken our Jobs? The Complementarity Effect

by John Danaher

You’ve probably noticed the trend. The doomsayers are yelling once more. They are telling us that technology poses a threat to human employment — that the robots are coming for our jobs. This is a thesis that has been defended in several academic papers, popular books and newspaper articles. It has been propounded by leading figures in the tech industry, and repeatedly debated and analysed in the media (particularly new media).

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The Debate Between the Economists and the Technologists, Who Wins?

by Rick Searle

For a while now robots have been back in the news with a vengeance, and almost on cue seem to have revived many of the nightmares that we might have thought had been locked up in the attic of the mind with all sorts of other stuff from the 1980’s, which it was hoped we would never need.

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Transhumanism’s Big Political Blind Spot

by Steve Fuller

For those who still don’t know what it is, transhumanism is basically the application of science and technology to amplify the human condition, potentially well beyond our biological default settings. As someone who has increasingly identified with transhumanism since publishing Humanity 2.0in 2011, I welcome the ideology’s move into the mainstream of politics and culture, at least in the English-speaking world. But the form it has taken is rather curious.

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Economic Liberation: Network Economics of Abundance

by Melanie Swan

The possibility of creating true network economies of abundance and designing personalized economic systems raises a host of issues about what kinds of behavior might result from programmed economic parameters. In moving from indirect advertiser-supported models to direct peer-supported models, for example, one first issue might be the business model - which parts of the system should (can) be free and which paid? For any paid parts, certain externalities and artificial behaviors might be created.

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The Future of Real: Meaning and Social Intelligence in a Transhuman Age

by Dorothy Deasy

I remember seeing the children falling through the air, their limbs akimbo, grasping for land or any anchor that would save them from the fall. I remember the feelings of terror, panic, pity and helplessness as I watched, unable to intervene. And then I awoke – alone, scared and slowly came to the realization that it was simply a dream, though still I feared closing my eyes again too soon lest I return. That dream took place more than 30 years ago. Much of the detail has faded – how did they come to fall? Were they pushed or did they jump like lemmings? – still I remember the images, can recall the emotions. It was just a dream; it wasn’t real. But I recall the experience of the dream. The personal semiotics that the dream contained were real, telling me something about my own psyche, my own sense of self and so making it an experience with meaning.

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VR Chains and DAC Brains: Upload your Mind as a VR AI DAC

by Melanie Swan

Blockchain thinkers or DAC Brains are the notion of having DAO/DAC entities running with smart contracts on blockchains for the purpose of conducting thinking operations. The genesis of blockchain thinkers could be organic or inorganic: human mindfile lifelogs and uploads, and any variety of brain emulations  and AI ML/DL algorithms (artificial intelligence machine-learning deep-learning algorithms). One idea is to instantiate your mindfile on the blockchain as a lifelogging tracker and standalone ideation tool: your own mind as an AI DAC.

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On the Right Side of Futurology: A Look at the Struggle Ahead

by Phil Torres

Dan Barker, echoing an idea expressed by many atheists, describes theology as “a subject without an object.” Since there’s little reason for thinking a God exists – much less the God of the Bible – the entire field is ultimately vacuous, despite the grandiloquent rigamarole of, as Jerry Coyne puts it, Sophisticated Theologians(TM). Theology studies nothing. Its heart and soul is a phenomenon that almost certainly doesn’t exist.

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Why Superintelligence May Not Help Us Think about Existential Risks — or Transhumanism

by Steve Fuller

Among transhumanists, Nick Bostrom is well-known for promoting the idea of ‘existential risks’, potential harms which, were they come to pass, would annihilate the human condition altogether. Their probability may be relatively small, but the expected magnitude of their effects are so great, so Bostrom claims, that it is rational to devote some significant resources to safeguarding against them. (Indeed, there are now institutes for the study of existential risks on both sides of the Atlantic.) Moreover, because existential risks are intimately tied to the advancement of science and technology, their probability is likely to grow in the coming years.

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Philosophy versus Science versus Politics

by Russell Blackford

We might hope that good arguments will eventually drive out bad arguments – in what Timothy Williamson calls “a reverse analogue of Gresham’s Law”  – and we might want (almost?) complete freedom for ideas and arguments, rather than suppressing potentially valuable ones.

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Rethinking Work - Wasting Half of our Waking Lives is Terrible

by John G. Messerly

Swarthmore College Professor Barry Schwartz just published an op-ed in The New York Times, “Rethinking Work.”  The essay begins by noting that a “survey last year found that almost 90 percent of workers were either “not engaged” with or “actively disengaged” from their jobs.” So 9 out of 10 “workers spend half their waking lives doing things they don’t really want to do in places they don’t particularly want to be.” But Why?

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How Steady Can Wind Power Blow?

by Ramez Naam

NREL recently released data showing that next-generation wind turbines could reach an incredible capacity factor of 60% over 2 million square kilometers of the US, or enough to provide roughly 10x as much electricity as the US uses. If true, this would be a game-changer in wind power, as I explain below.

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42 Splices and Counting: Nine Facts You Should Know About the Planned Parenthood Smear Campaign

by Valerie Tarico

Imagine that someone hated you (or your company) and wanted to make you look bad. So, he pretended to be a friend or colleague, went to your events, repeatedly asked you to meetings or lunch, gained your trust, and then spent two years recording private conversations. Could he find stuff that would make you sound like a heartless monster? If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, there’s no way it would take years.

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

by George Dvorsky

By learning everything there is to know about you and your online habits, social network ETER9 promises a kind of digital immortality wherein an artificially intelligent agent continues to post on your behalf long after you’re dead. The future is creepier than we ever imagined.

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Ensuring Human Control Over Military Robotics

by Wendell Wallach

Let us stop looking at the challenges posed by the robotization of warfare piecemeal, and begin to reflect comprehensively upon the manner in which autonomous weapons alter the future conduct of war. 

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Smart Regulation For Smart Drugs

by Geoffrey Woo

“For the modern mad men and wolves of Wall Street, gone are the days of widespread day drinking and functional cocaine use. Instead, in this age of efficiency above all else, corporate climbers sometimes seek a simple brain boost, something to help them to get the job done without manic jitters or a nasty crash.

For that, they are turning to nootropics,” writes Jack Smith IV on the cover story for an April 2015 edition of the New York Observer.

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Tools Have Led Us to Technological Unemployment, but Humans, too, Have a Right To Work

by Gabriel Rothblatt

For millennia, Humans have been crafting tools. We don’t hold a monopoly on the trade, but we’ve done it better than any other species. So good, our entire evolution has been crafted around our dependence on them. With our anatomical features and vulnerabilities, it was perhaps predestined that we would not only master tool making, but become dependent upon it. What came first, the human or the tool?

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