Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Technoprogressivism

Sorgner @ Beyond Humanism Conf: From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?
September 15-18
Seoul, S. Korea


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


Sorgner@Nürnberg - first German Academic symposium exclusively dedicated to transhumanism
December 5
Nürnberg, Germany




MULTIMEDIA: Technoprogressivism Topics

The Future of Superhuman Technology

Are We Heading for a Jobless Future?

Radical Change Lies Ahead

Transformative Technology: An Evolution of Contemplative Practice

Using Neurotechnologies to Enhance Virtues

TranshumaNietzsche

Let’s kick oil while the price is down

Transpolitica book launch – video recording

What Will Politics Be Like in the Future?

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot Revisted

Creative Session with Jason Silva

Singularity 1on1: Interrogate and Engage the World

What is the Future of Brain Enhancement?

The problem with “trickle-down techonomics”

Interview on Robot Overlordz: Tech Unemployment and Enhancement




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Technoprogressivism Topics




Is Effective Regulation of AI Possible? Eight Potential Regulatory Problems

by John Danaher

The halcyon days of the mid-20th century, when researchers at the (in?)famous Dartmouth summer school on AI dreamed of creating the first intelligent machine, seem so far away. Worries about the societal impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) are on the rise. Recent pronouncements from tech gurus like Elon Musk and Bill Gates have taken on a dramatically dystopian edge. They suggest that the proliferation and advance of AI could pose a existential threat to the human race.

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Robosapiens – merging with machines will improve humanity at an exponential rate

by Agbolade Omowole

One can’t help be positive about the future. Even obstacles have a bright side. For example - humans at some point will be limited by space and time; we can’t expect to go far in space exploration without the development of strong artificial intelligence and robots.

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Friendly Artificial Intelligence: Parenthood and the Fear of Supplantation

by Chase Uy

In his painting, Saturn Devouring His Son, Francisco Goya depicts the Titan, Cronus, devouring one of his children. The painting represents the Greek myth wherein Cronus devoured his children out of fear of being overthrown. In the end, Cronus was defeated by his children. In an other archetypal parent ­ child relationship, the Greek tragedy, Oedipus Rex, King Laius attempts to murder his infant child, Oedipus, when an oracle predicts that Laius will be slain by his son. As the oracle predicted, Oedipus, though unwittingly, fulfilled the prophecy. Such tales of parents fearing their supplantation at the hands of their children are prevalent throughout history; perhaps they can serve as useful metaphors for the friendly artificial intelligence (AI) conundrum we are faced with today.

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Politics Don’t Always Play a Role in Attitudes Toward Science Issues

by Andrew Maynard

Political leanings are frequently associated with attitudes toward science and technology in the U.S.  Yet as the most recent poll  from the Pew Research Center on Americans, Politics and Science Issues shows, public attitudes toward science and technology depend on a far more diverse and complex set of factors.

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Practopoiesis: How Cybernetics of Biology can Help AI

by Danko Nikolic

By creating any form of AI we must copy from biology. The argument goes as follows. A brain is a biological product. And so must be then its products such as perception, insight, inference, logic, mathematics, etc. By creating AI we inevitably tap into something that biology has already invented on its own. It follows thus that the more we want the AI system to be similar to a human—e.g., to get a better grade on the Turing test—the more we need to copy the biology.

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Aqua: meeting the challenge of freshwater depletion

by Enrique Lescure

Introduction

The cradle of life on Earth can be said to be found in the blue. For many hundreds of millions of years, the ascending continents of the young planet were as dead and barren as the wastelands of Mars, while the oceans and lakes were teeming with life. Water was the solvent in which the first life-bearing cells emerged during the chaotic epochs after the birth of the Moon.

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Condoms are So Hundred Years Ago: Why Better Birth Control for Men Would Be Better for Everyone

by Valerie Tarico

Birth control options for men and women are a century apart. Men deserve better.

The best birth control options  for women today have qualities our grandmothers could only have dreamed of. They toggle the fertility switch to off until a woman wants it on, making pregnancy “opt in” rather than “opt out.” They are easily reversed when a woman wants a baby and have bonus health benefits like lighter periods and protection against some cancers. They last from three to twelve years, depending on the method and can simply be forgotten once in place, yet have an annual failure rate below 1 in 500.

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US Congress Wants Religious Experts to Weigh in on Three-Parent IVF

by George Dvorsky

Several months ago, the UK approved  a groundbreaking reproductive technique in which babies are created from the genetic material of three people. The US is now considering the procedure, but Congress’s new spending bill will require religious experts to review a forthcoming report.

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How to Survive the End of the Universe

by Alexey Turchin

My plan below needs to be perceived with irony because it is almost irrelevant: we have only a very small chance of surviving the next 1000 years. If we do survive, we have numerous tasks to accomplish before my plan can become a reality.

Additionally, there’s the possibility that the “end of the universe” will arrive sooner, if our collider experiments lead to a vacuum phase transition, which begins at one point and spreads across the visible universe.

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Machines that Dream: Developing Artificial General Intelligence through AI-Kindergarten

by Danko Nikolic

Abstract: Development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) may not be possible exclusively through human-created algorithms. Many aspects of human brain are not understandable to human scientists and engineers. Instead, AGI may require machines to create their own algorithms i.e., machines that learn to learn. It has been proposed that this can be achieved through AI-Kindergarten. In AI-Kindergarten machines are not left alone to figure out on their own the necessary algorithms, but they are heavily guided through human feedback.

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Solar: The First 1% Was the Hardest

by Ramez Naam

Solar power now provides roughly 1% of the world’s electricity.  It took 40 years to reach that milestone. But, as they say in tech, the first 1% is the hardest.

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The Revolutionary Potential of Psychedelics

by Aaron Moritz

Psychedelic substances are resurging into the popular culture in ways unrivaled since the starry-eyed, long-haired baby boomers of the 1960’s dropped acid and discovered peace and promiscuity. However, today’s generation of visionary psychonauts are making a much more measured movement to the mainstream than the hundred thousand hippies who descended on San Francisco in 1967’s summer of love.

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Human Brain 2.0 - what is the most essential upgrade? Increased Rationality, Empathy, or Happiness?

by Hank Pellissier

Our human brains obviously needs improvement, in multiple different capacities. But - what is the most important upgrade? Increased Rationality? Increased Empathy? Elevated Happiness?

I posed this question to members of IEET’s new Advisory Board, and I received a variety of answers:

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Simple Intervention Cuts Unplanned Pregnancy by Half

by Valerie Tarico

A single half-day training that teaches medical clinics how to provide better birth control can radically improve outcomes for patients, cutting unplanned pregnancies by half according to research published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet.

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The mTOR Story Part 1 – What Makes This Important Pro-Aging Molecule Active?

by Maria Konovalenko

I have mentioned mTOR as one of the main aging genes on multiple occasions. It’s about time I tell you what it is, what it does and why it is so important in aging.

mTOR has a little m in front of TOR, which means I am speaking about mammals. It technically means «mechanistic» TOR, but think of it as the molecule that mice and all of us have, whereas in worms is it just TOR.

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Transhumanism: The future of Revolutionary Flags and Movement Symbols

by Kris Notaro

A few years ago after voting I went back to my local elementary school where I was taught about liberty, and the “American way of life.” The same old stories, same old lies. I went there to ask them to take down the massive confederate out-of-date flag of Georgia that was still flying since I went to school there.



It is Unethical Not to Use Genetic Engineering

by Maria Konovalenko

When I hear that the conversation is about an ethical problem I anticipate that right now the people are going to put everything upside down and end with common sense. Appealing to ethics has always been the weapon of conservatism, the last resort of imbecility.

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‘The Singularity & Socialism’ - an interview with author C. James Townsend

by B. J. Murphy

The Singularity is near! That’s what a lot of us futurists have been planning for since we first came to understand the exponential growth rate of information technologies. What this technological singularity entails, however, is an entirely different question, and one of which requires radical thinking. One such author, C. James Townsend, has ventured himself on the quest of answering this very question – not just from a scientific or technological viewpoint, but equally an economic and political one as well!

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The Algorithmic Society and the Birth of Religion

by piero scaruffi

Algorithms increasingly guide our daily life: Google’s ranking algorithm pretty much decides which pages we visit, and therefore which information we access; Amazon’s algorithm influences which books we read; dating algorithms decide your sexual life and possibly your marriage; the smartphone’s navigation algorithm decides which streets we take; Yelp’s algorithm decides where we eat (and it is a simple average!)

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Churches Get Creepy Facial Recognition Software to Track Members

by Valerie Tarico

If selling afterlife perks is your business, then getting people to believe, attend and give “voluntarily” is the whole game.

Churches just got a new way to figure out who is sleeping in on Sunday morning: facial recognition software that scans the congregation and tracks who showed up. Churchix is a product of Skakash LLC, which sells Face-Six for law enforcement, border control, and commercial applications. According to CEO Moshe Greenshpan, 30 churches have already deployed the new software and service, which could be used to target members who need a nudge or to identify potential major donors among those who attend faithfully.

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Information Pollution is a Doomsday Scenario

by Riza Berkan

If you go to the Wikipedia page for pollution, you will see several forms of pollution from air varieties to water bound forms, but you will not find information pollution there. This is an excellent example, and a reference point to indicate where our current awareness stands on this issue.

Information pollution, not only should it be in that list with capital letters, but it should also be considered as a prime candidate for some doomsday scenarios. Let me emphasize DOOMSDAY by typing it one more time in caps. Let me be crystal clear and blunt here; “If unchecked, information pollution will bring the end of human civilizations on earth.”

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John Gray and the Puppets of Gloom

by Rick Searle

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about puppets. I know that sounds way too paleo-tech, and weird, but hear me out. Puppets are an ancient technology, which, for all the millennia that passed before, and up until very, very recently, were the primary way we experienced animated art. For the vast majority of human history the way we watched projected figures in front of us playing out some imagined drama was in the form of shadows cast on the walls.

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Physics is the Frontier, the Inescapable Root, and it is also Utterly Beautiful

by William Gillis

At some point my friends eventually feel compelled to ask me why, as an anarchist, I would want to work as a theoretical physicist—rather than say an AI researcher or a geneticist or a cryptographer or a materials scientist or a restoration ecologist. Those are clearly high-impact professions; developments in these fields can reshape the world, and there is desperate need for more people to work in them.

The answer is simple: I want to make sure I’m right.

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Computer Training Center installed in Masaka, Uganda - technoprogress in Africa

by R. Dennis Hansen

In January (2015), my son-in-law and grandson installed a small computer-training facility in a LDS Chapel in Masaka, Uganda.  The LDS chapel was chosen for several reasons:

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Robots Should Play Football - Not Humans

by Hank Pellissier

For 140 years, American human male skulls have bashed each other on gridirons in the battle sport that brain-cripples many participants, leaving high schoolers dead, college students comatose, pro pigskin-players mentally-maimed.

Today, we hear regular reports of retired footballers wobbling forgetfully into awards banquets, crashing their cars suicidally, blowing their disturbed, demented & depressed brains out with revolvers.

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If U.S. Military Spending Returned to 2001 Level

by David Swanson

In 2001, U.S. military spending was $397 billion, from which it soared to a peak of $720 billion in 2010, and is now at $610 billion in 2015.

These figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (in constant 2011 dollars) exclude debt payments, veterans costs, and civil defense, which raise the figure to over $1 trillion a year now, not counting state and local spending on the military.

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The Automation Loop and its Negative Consequences

by John Danaher

I’m currently reading Nicholas Carr’s book The Glass Cage: Where Automation is Taking Us.  

I think it is an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the growth of AI and robotics, and the future of humanity. Carr is something of a techno-pessimist (though he may prefer ‘realist’) and the book continues the pessimistic theme set down in his previous book The Shallows (which was a critique of the internet and its impact on human cognition). That said, I think The Glass Cage is a superior work. I certainly found it more engaging and persuasive than his previous effort.

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Is Automation Making us Stupid? The Degeneration Argument Against Automation

by John Danaher

This post continues my discussion of the arguments in Nicholas Carr’s recent book The Glass Cage. The book is an extended critique of the trend towards automation. In the previous post, I introduced some of the key concepts needed to understand this critique. As I noted then, automation arises whenever a machine (broadly understood) takes over a task or function that used to be performed by a human (or non-human animal). Automation usually takes place within an intelligence ‘loop’.

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Tracking the Progress of the Progressive Agenda

by Richard Eskow

We live in a political era dominated by corporate cash, billionaire “beauty pageants,” and a right-wing noise machine whose rhetorical phasers are permanently set to “stun.” It’s easy to lose track of ourselves when we’re distracted from moment to moment by Fox News pinwheels and celebrity-driven media circuses.

But out behind the tents, where the carnival lights aren’t as bright, a lot of people are fighting the good fight. How’s that fight going? One way to track its progress is by measuring recent developments against a populist or progressive agenda.

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Top 5 Myths About Monsanto (Part 1)

by B. J. Murphy

Anyone who has the scientific tenacity to question “common truths” and come to a valid conclusion outside of the confines of popular opinion are destined to be heralded as someone working in the pocket of some agency. Conspiracy theories run amok throughout society, believing any large corporation to be intrinsically “evil”. One corporation in particular stands out the most: Monsanto!

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