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 @ FirstGerman Academic symposium on transhumanism
December 5
Nürnberg, Germany




MULTIMEDIA: Technoprogressivism Topics

What is the Future of Advertising?

The Singularity Song

Futurist Gray Scott on Artificial Intelligence

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




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Technoprogressivism Topics




Will Transhumanism Lead to Greater Freedom?

by John G. Messerly

A friend emailed me to say that he believed that transhumanists should strive to be free, if free will doesn’t currently exist, or strive to be freer, if humans currently possess some small modicum of free will. He also suggested that becoming transhuman would expedite either process. In short he was claiming that transhumanists should desire more freedom.

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Altruistic Horizons: Our tribal natures, the ‘fear effect’ and the end of ideologies

by David Brin

Social thinkers long yearned for the kind of predictive power offered by universal laws of Galileo, Newton and Einstein—reductionist rules that changed our relationship with the material world, from helplessness to manipulative skill. If only similar patterns and laws were found for human nature! Might we construct an ideal society suited to decent living by all?

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Zoltan Istvan’s “Teleological Egocentric Functionalism”: An approach to viable politics?

by Roland Benedikter

The current foundation phase of “Transhumanist” politics deserves a critical discussion of the philosophical principles that implicitly underlie its new political organization. As part of the effort towards a self-critical evaluation of political transhumanism, which is undoubtedly still in a very early phase of development, this chapter discusses the philosophy drafted by the founder of the “Transhumanist Party of the USA”, Zoltan Istvan, in his bestselling novel “The Transhumanist Wager” (2013) dedicated to develop the vision of a better society. Istvan called the philosophy underlying his meta-national, if not global, vision “Teleological Egocentric Functionalism”. We discuss the achievements, contradictions and dialectics of and within this philosophy; its possible relation to realistic social policy programs; as well as the potential implications and consequences. The goal is to achieve a more considered overall discourse at the contested new ideological interface between humanism and transhumanism which could define an influential zeitgeist of our time.

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Four political futures: which will you choose?

by David Wood

Politics is being shaped by our responses to the prospect of accelerating, exponential technological change. Technosceptics deny accelerating change will occur. Technoconservatives accept that accelerating change poses radical questions, and want to stem the tide of change. Technolibertarians believe accelerating change will be for the best, and technology and capitalism just need to be left to work their wonders. Technoprogressives believe accelerating change poses serious risks as well as rewards, and that we can maximize the rewards and minimize the risks through public policy.

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Can transhumanism avoid becoming the Marxism of the 21st century?

by Steve Fuller

Is there any politically tractable strategy for transhumanism to avoid the Bismarckian move, which ultimately curtails the capacity of basic research to explore and challenge the fundamental limits of our being? My answer is as follows: Transhumanists need to take a more positive attitude towards the military.

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Danaher Publishes Human Enhancement, Social Solidarity and the Distribution of Responsibility

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher has a new paper in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice that argues for how human enhancement does not threaten social solidarity.

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If We Can Achieve Gay Marriage and Legal Pot, We Can Fix Climate Change Too

by Ramez Naam

A decade ago, it was nearly inconceivable that in 2015, gay marriage would be legal across the US and marijuana fully legal in four states plus the District of Columbia. Yet it happened. It happened because citizens who wanted change led, from the bottom up, often through citizens initiatives.

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Specifications: An engineer’s approach to upgrading politics

by Rene Milan

Politics 2.0 – what might that mean?  Like most people probably would, i immediately associated it with the numbering system commonly used in software releases, but having worked as a programmer for 30 years i could not see how this could be applied to something as complex and diffuse as politics.  However if taken as something like a cognitive metaphor i still could not clearly grasp its meaning, beyond the vague implication of improvement over Politics 1.x, presumably what humanity is struggling with today.

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Transhumanism – The Final Religion?

by Dirk Bruere

After several decades of relative obscurity Transhumanism as a philosophical and technological movement has finally begun to break out of its strange intellectual ghetto and make small inroads into the wider public consciousness. This is partly because some high profile people have either adopted it as their worldview or alternatively warned against its potential dangers. Indeed, the political scientist Francis Fukuyama named it “The world’s most dangerous idea” in a 2004 article in the US magazine Foreign Policy, and Transhumanism’s most outspoken publicist, Ray Kurzweil, was recently made director of engineering at Google, presumably to hasten Transhumanism’s goals.

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Solar Cost Less than Half of What EIA Projected

by Ramez Naam

Skeptics of renewables sometimes cite data from EIA (The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration) or from the IEA (the OECD’s International Energy Agency). The IEA has a long history of underestimating solar and wind that I think is starting to be understood.

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Virtual Reality Will Enable the Next Large Revival in the Global Church

by Christopher J. Benek

25 years ago most people didn’t imagine that the Internet would reshape the way that they existed on a day-to-day basis. 25 years from now people will think about Virtual Reality the same way we think about the Internet today – we won’t even be able to imagine our global existence without it. One of the largest beneficiaries of this technological development could be the global church because VR is going to change the way that Christians participate in worship.

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Transhumanism: there are [at least] ten different philosophical categories; which one(s) are you?

by Hank Pellissier

In Nick Bostrom’s essay, Transhumanist Values, he states in the first sentence that transhumanism is “a loosely defined movement.”  Further into the essay, he lists five “examples of currents within transhumanism.”

They are:

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The “Immortality Bus” Will Soon Be Rolling Across America

by Hank Pellissier

The “Immortality Bus” - appearing as a 40-foot coffin - will soon be rolling down American highways as a “pro-science symbol of resistance against aging and death.”  The bus will stop at rallies and events to argue “for science and technology to overcome death.”

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Intelligent cities as a step towards a technate

by Enrique Lescure

Introduction

One integral part of the design we in the Earth Organisation for Sustainability envision is that humanity needs to utilize information technology in order to establish a better overview of the resource flows that we use on the planet, as well as the planet’s own capacity. More of this can be read in the article “The Three Criteria”  on this blog.

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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.

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