Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Directors



MULTIMEDIA: Directors Topics

Spaceflight and Cosmic Religions

Minimalist, Open, Extensible Cosmism

What is the Future of Human Advancement?

Future Day Online

Buddhism & Transhumanism

Sex and the Art of Cosmic Governance, on Venus+X

Failing the Artificial Intelligence Test (w/ George Dvorsky)

Why the Turing Test is Bullshit

Where is Heaven?

Back To The Future In The Metaverse

Granting rights and personhood to apes

Futurists discuss The Transhumanist Wager

Personhood Beyond the Human Conference - Dec 6-7 2013 at Yale

Google vs Death - Google’s ‘Calico’ an Anti-Aging Initiative

Countering Objections to Mind Uploading




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Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List









Directors Topics




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.



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.



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.



Some Antidepressants Might Actually Be Harmful to Children and Teens

by George Dvorsky

A discouraging new study concludes that most antidepressants are ineffective for children and adolescents, and may even be harmful in some cases. But the researchers caution that the low quantity and quality of clinical trials are obscuring the true effects of these drugs.



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.



New Evidence Suggests a Fifth Fundamental Force of Nature

by George Dvorsky

We all know about the four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong forces between atoms. But could there be a fifth force still waiting to be discovered? A new experiment performed in Hungary suggests this may very well be the case.



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.



A for Almighty - Fred Hoyle’s Cosmic Theology

by Giulio Prisco

Fred Hoyle imagined a scientific theology with a hierarchy of Gods in the universe, from lower-case local gods all the way to an asymptotic cosmic God that emerges from the physical universe, comes into full being at the end of time, controls space and time with subtle quantum messages and time loops, seeds the universe with Life, and works through Life.



Ontario Could Soon Require Anti-Vaxxer Parents to Attend a Science Class

by George Dvorsky

In an effort to curb the dangerous trend of vaccine avoidance, the Liberal government in Ontario wants parents seeking vaccine exemptions for their kids to attend a mandatory education session. It’s a good idea, but getting anti-vaxxers to change their opinions will probably require more than that.



Computer Science Students Fooled By Artificially Intelligent TA

by George Dvorsky

Students taking an online course at Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing were duped into thinking one of their teaching assistants, named Jill Watson, was an actual human. And how can you blame them—the virtual TA managed to answer many of their questions with 97 percent certainty.



Experts Held a Secret Meeting to Consider Building a Human Genome From Scratch

by George Dvorsky

Earlier this week, over a hundred scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss the radical possibility of creating a synthetic human genome. Strangely, journalists were not invited, and attendees were told to keep a tight lip. Which, given the weighty subject matter, is obvious cause for concern.



These Are the Most Serious Catastrophic Threats Faced by Humanity

by George Dvorsky

Oxford’s Global Priorities Project has compiled a list of catastrophes—both natural and self-inflicted—that could kill off 10 percent or more of the human population. It’s a real buzzkill of a report and it says that any of these catastrophes could happen within the next five years.



This US Oil Field is Single-Handedly Raising Global Greenhouse Gas Levels

by George Dvorsky

A single shale oil field in the United States is responsible for a significant upsurge in global atmospheric levels of ethane, a dangerous gas that has been linked to climate change and pollution. It’s yet more evidence that fracking is screwing up our planet.



Capitalism Mandates a Basic Income Guarantee

by Mark Walker

A Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is a monthly stipend sufficient to provide the necessities of life. While there is disagreement even amongst friends of BIG as to how much is sufficient, we will work with a figure of $833 a month, $10,000 a year. BIG has been in the news in the last few years with a Swiss referendum on the matter and a pilot program in the works for Finland. Arguments from the left for BIG tend to appeal to social justice considerations. One line suggests that in a wealthy country like the U.S., no one should go hungry or be homeless, and BIG is an efficient means to ensure this minimal standard of care.



Breakthrough Starshot: The First Steps to the Stars

by Giulio Prisco

On on the 55th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering space flight, Internet investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking announced a plan for our firsts steps to the stars: Breakthrough Starshot.



Christianity and Transhumanism Are Much Closer Than You Think

by Giulio Prisco

I have long been persuaded that there are strong parallels between transhumanism and religion, not only “new” religions but the traditional religions of our grandfathers as well. There are, of course, differences, but I prefer to emphasize the parallels. After some deep reading and thinking, I realize that Christianity and Transhumanism are closer than I thought, and much closer than you probably think.



The Machine Wins 4-1 : what does this mean for the future of AI?

by Giulio Prisco

The Machine – Google DeepMind’s AlphaGohas beaten one of the best human Go players 4-1, with moves that have been described as unexpected, beautiful – and inhuman.

What does AlphaGo breakthrough mean for the future of AI?

Full Story...



Everything You Know About Artificial Intelligence is Wrong

by George Dvorsky

It was hailed as the most significant test of machine intelligence since Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in chess nearly 20 years ago. Google’s AlphaGo has won two of the first three games against grandmaster Lee Sedol in a Go tournament, showing the dramatic extent to which AI has improved over the years. That fateful day when machines finally become smarter than humans has never appeared closer—yet we seem no closer in grasping the implications of this epochal event.



First Uterus Transplant in US Offers Hope to Thousands of Infertile Women

by George Dvorsky

A team of surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have performed the first uterus transplant in the United States. A 26-year-old woman underwent the nine-hour operation on Wednesday, setting the stage for a future pregnancy—and what might possibly become a routine procedure in US hospitals.

Full Story...



Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof: the Diamond Lady of DIY Governance 2.0

by Giulio Prisco

After interviewing my friend Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, founder of Bitnation, for my recent Bitcoin Magazine article titled “Bitnation Launches World’s First Blockchain-Based Virtual Nation Constitution,” I am thinking of the parallels between Susanne’s vision of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) “Governance 2.0” and my vision of DIY “Religion 2.0.”

Bitnation’s vision of future open societies is, in one word, awesome.

Full Story...



Brain Implant Will Let Amputees Move Individual Fingers on Prosthetics With Thoughts Alone

by George Dvorsky

For the first time ever, researchers have successfully demonstrated a system that enables a person to move the individual fingers of a prosthetic hand using just their thoughts.

Full Story...



How ‘Memory Hacking’ Is Becoming a Reality

by George Dvorsky

Movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Inception suggest it may eventually be possible to erase, modify, or even implant memories into your brain. An upcoming episode of NOVA introduces viewers to this futuristic possibility and the scientists who are trying to make it happen.



The Cosmos and the Brain - a Great Week for Science

by Giulio Prisco

Yesterday I and thousands of viewers around the world watched live the LIGO press conference on the first gravitational waves detection from a black hole fusion event. Two days before, the Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize was awarded to the first demonstration that a brain can be preserved for future mind uploading. What a great week for science!

Full Story...



The Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize Has Been Won

by Giulio Prisco

The Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) announced that the Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize has officially been won. The spectacular result achieved by 21st Century Medicine researchers provides the first demonstration that near-perfect, long-term structural preservation of an intact mammalian brain is achievable.

Full Story...



New Evidence Suggests Human Beings Are a Geological Force of Nature

by George Dvorsky

For years, the term “Anthropocene” has been used to informally describe the human era on Earth. But new evidence suggests there’s nothing informal about it. We’re a true force of nature — and there’s good reason to believe we’ve sparked a new and unprecedented geological epoch.



Review of ‘Against Transhumanism’ by Richard Jones

by Giulio Prisco

Physicist Richard Jones, author of the (highly recommended) nanotechnology book “Soft Machines: nanotechnology and life” and editor of the Soft Machines blog, has written a short book provocatively titled “Against Transhumanism – The delusion of technological transcendence.” The book, an edited compilation of essays previously published on Soft Machines and IEEE Spectrum, is free to download.

Full Story...



First Successful Gene-Editing in Live Mammals Brings Us Closer to Human Treatments

by George Dvorsky

For the first time ever, scientists have used the CRISPR gene-editing tool to successfully treat a genetic muscle disorder in a living adult mammal. It’s a promising medical breakthrough that could soon lead to human therapies.

Full Story...



A Response to ‘Michael LaTorra explains Buddhist Transhumanism in a nutshell’ by Giulio Prisco

by Gareth John

This essay is a response to Giulio Prisco’s article on Mike LaTorra’s essay Buddhist Transhumanism in a Nutshell.

Being the ex-Buddhist that I am, who studied and practiced Zen for three years before migrating to the Tibetan tantric tradition, I guess it’s only to be expected that I would have some criticisms of Michael LaTorra’s perspective. However, bear in mind that these are my criticisms alone, so should in no way be taken as authoritative.

Full Story...

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