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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Life

Hughes @ Translational Bodies: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues
April 22-24
Prato, Italy


Dvorsky, Bostrom @ Moogfest 2014
April 23-27
Asheville, North Carolina


Vita-More on “Radical Life Extension”
May 7
New Haven, CT USA


Wallach @ Governance of Emerging Technologies: Law, Policy and Ethics
May 27-29
Scottsdale, AZ, USA


Sorgner on “The Importance of Genetic Modifications: Why Habermas is wrong”
June 5
London, UK


Re-Democratizing the Economy: Basic Income Canada
June 26-29
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec


Sorgner, Vita-More, Hughes @ Enhancement & Morality in the Digital Era
July 20-22
Suceava, Romania




MULTIMEDIA: Life Topics

How I help transgender teens become who they want to be

Science and Democracy

National Geographic Investigates the Future of Food

Lucy Movie (2014)

Semantic MediaWiki in neuroscience - The BlueBrain perspective

Engineers are ‘schooling’ themselves on fish maneuvers

The Neuroscience of Learning and Memory and Mindfulness Based Mind Coaching

We Will Live Again: A Look Inside a Cryonics Laboratory

Implantable Technology - Pros and Cons

How Positive Psychology/Thinking is Concealing some of the Real Causes of our Collective Suffering

The Next Captain America is YOU

The Future of Being Human

Antispecism & Compassionate Stewardship

Designing Compassionate Ecosystems and Genetically Engineering the Ending of Suffering

The Binding Problem of Consciousness




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Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List









Life Topics




War Is Good for Us, Dumb New Book Claims

by David Swanson

Ian Morris has stuck his dog's ear in his mouth, snapped a selfie, and proclaimed "Man Bites Dog." His new book War: What Is It Good For? Conflict and Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots is intended to prove that war is good for children and other living things.  It actually proves that defenders of war are growing desperate for arguments.



Will sex workers be replaced by robots? (A Precis)

by John Danaher

I recently published an article in the Journal of Evolution and Technology on the topic of sex work and technological unemployment (available here, here and here). It began by asking whether sex work, specifically prostitution (as opposed to other forms of labour that could be classified as “sex work”, e.g. pornstar or erotic dancer), was vulnerable to technological unemployment. It looked at contrasting responses to that question, and also included some reflections on technological unemployment and the basic income guarantee.



How to regain trust in the NSA era: The IGUS Gambit

by David Brin

How might the Obama Administration best respond to wave after wave of "NSA revelations" that roil and cloud the political waters?  Ironically, almost none of Edward Snowden's leaks—or those of Julian Assange—revealed anything that was illegal per se. What they have done is stir a too-long delayed argument over what should be legal!



Is the US an Oligarchy? Not So Fast.

by Ramez Naam

There’s a new study out which, press outlets are telling me, shows that the United States is now an oligarchy, ruled by the rich and powerful, and perhaps that the US has been sliding in this direction for decades.



War and Human Evolution

by Rick Searle

Has human evolution and progress been propelled by war? The question is not an easy one to ask, not least because war is not merely one of the worst but arguably the worst thing human beings inflict on one another comprising murder, collective theft, and, almost everywhere but in the professional militaries of Western powers, and only quite recently, mass, and sometimes systematic rape.



Social Futurist revolution & the Zero State

by Amon Twyman

We have recently seen increased interest in the issues of workplace automation,technological unemployment, and Basic Income Guarantee (AKA Universal Basic Income). Some observers have been perplexed by visceral and sharply divided public opinion, with people viewing these phenomena as inherently positive or negative.



Black Death for the Internet?

by Kathryn Cave

Will viruses be the digital era’s Black Death?



Should we bet on radical enhancement?

by John Danaher

This is the third part of my series on Nicholas Agar’s book Truly Human Enhancement. As mentioned previously, Agar stakes out an interesting middle ground on the topic of enhancement. He argues that modest forms of enhancement — i.e. up to or slightly beyond the current range of human norms — are prudentially wise, whereas radical forms of enhancement — i.e. well beyond the current range of human norms — are not. His main support for this is his belief that in radically enhancing ourselves we will lose certain internal goods. These are goods that are intrinsic to some of our current activities.



Why Asimov’s Three Laws Of Robotics Can’t Protect Us

by George Dvorsky

It’s been 50 years since Isaac Asimov devised his famous Three Laws of Robotics — a set of rules designed to ensure friendly robot behavior. Though intended as a literary device, these laws are heralded by some as a ready-made prescription for avoiding the robopocalypse. We spoke to the experts to find out if Asimov's safeguards have stood the test of time — and they haven't.



Veridical Engagement and Radical Enhancement

by John Danaher

This is the second post in my series on Nicholas Agar's new book Truly Human Enhancement. The book offers an interesting take on the enhancement debate. It tries to carve out a middle ground between bioconservatism and transhumanism, arguing that modest enhancement (within or slightly beyond the range of human norms) is prudentially valuable, but that radical enhancement (well beyond the range of human norms) may not be.



Geeking Out on the Science of Risk

by Andrew Maynard

Danger and death are part and parcel of being alive. But with a few notable exceptions, it’s hard to find straightforward information online on how to make sense of stuff that potentially threaten our health and wellbeing. Which is a pity, because as well as being important for making smart decisions, there’s some really cool science behind how what we touch, breathe, eat, or otherwise come into contact with affects our health.



Soil as an Organism

by Brenda Cooper

I live in Washington State, and all the news for the last two weeks has been the unthinkable Oso mudslide.  Slides are not unusual here, although I have never heard of one with this much destructive force.  It got me reflecting about the relationship between earth and water.



IEET’s George Dvorsky offers course on Introduction to Transhumanism

George Dvorsky, prominent futurist, writer on ethics and technology and Chairman of the IEET Board of Directors, is offering his Introduction to Transhumanism course during May, from May 1st to May 31st, 2014.

Full Story...



21st Century: a brief trek through our technology-rich future

by Dick Pelletier

Since the beginning of the 21st century, there’s no question that humankind has made tremendous strides in developing new technologies. While machines can replicate many movements and actions of humans, the next challenge lies in teaching them to think for themselves and react to changing conditions.



The Objective and Anthropocentric Ideals of Enhancement

by John Danaher

Nicholas Agar has written several books about the ethics of human enhancement. In his latest, Truly Human Enhancement, he tries to stake out an interesting middle ground in the enhancement debate. Unlike the bioconservatives, Agar is not opposed to the very notion of enhancing human capacities. On the contrary, he is broadly in favour it. But unlike the radical transhumanists, he does not embrace all forms of enhancement.



Why Goal Tracking Apps Are So Existentially Provocative

by Evan Selinger

Normally, if you asked me to free associate what comes to mind when I hear words like “productivity app” and “life hack,” you’d be treated an all out vent session—a combination of skepticism and cynicism directed at overly hyped products, overesteem for efficiency, and overblown attempts to delegate responsibility and willpower. But then I read a gushing review of Full, an app for tracking and measuring “what’s important to you.” I actually think it’s a good product and an excellent prompt for thinking about why goal track apps are so existentially provocative.



Every Scientist Should Be An Anarchist

by William Gillis

The first time I encountered the claim that an anarchistic society would impede scientific progress I was too shocked — and later busy chortling — to sketch out a thorough response. It’s a surprising sentiment to me for a lot of reasons, not the least for the well known correspondence between scientific progress and social and material freedom in mass societies.



The return to a metanarrative: a comeback to ideology

by Sebastian Pereira

Modernity was an age governed by one idea, the existence of a transcendental universal truth attainable trough reason. The laws of motion of Newton embedded in the mind of thinkers of all fields the idea that natural laws exists, which in turn rule over aspects of our world, and uncovering them would be of great benefit to humanity, and for the most part that was the case.



SpaceX, a somewhat critical look

by Massimo Pigliucci

I’ve been a bit baffled recently by the enthusiasm that so many friends and colleagues have been displaying for SpaceX and the whole idea of commercial space “exploration.”



Equality, Fairness and the Threat of Algocracy: Should we embrace automated predictive data-mining?

by John Danaher

I’ve looked at data-mining and predictive analytics before on this blog. As you know, there are many concerns about this type of technology and the increasing role it plays in our lives. Thus, for example, people are concerned about the oftentimes hidden way in which our data is collected prior to being “mined”. And they are concerned about how it is used by governments and corporations to guide their decision-making processes. Will we be unfairly targetted by the data-mining algorithms? Will they exercise too much control over socially important decision-making processes? I’ve reviewed some of these concerns before.



Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

by Tsvi Bisk

“Putin plays chess; Obama plays marbles”; “Obama makes me nostalgic for Jimmy Carter”. These are some of the pejoratives being directed at Obama by the right and even some on the left. What am I missing? OK, Obama looks wimpy next to the bare-chested horseback riding Putin, I will grant that. And given that perception is reality in today’s 24/7 media circumstance this is a serious flaw in Obama’s presidency.



Outsourcing Your Mind and Intelligence to Computer/Phone Apps

by Evan Selinger

When the Partially Examined Lifediscussion of human enhancement (Episode 91) turned to the topic of digital technology, the philosophical oxygen was sucked out of the room. Sure, folks conceded that philosopher of mind Andy Clark (not mentioned by name, but implicitly referenced) has interesting things to say about how technology upgrades our cognitive abilities and extends the boundaries of where our minds are located. But everything else more or less was dismissed as concerning not terribly deep uses of “appliances”.



Wired for Good and Evil

by Rick Searle

It seems almost as long as we could speak human beings have been arguing over what, if anything, makes us different from other living creatures. Mark Pagel’s recent book Wired for Culture: The Origins of the Human Social Mind is just the latest incantation of this millennia old debate, and as it has always been, the answers he comes up with have implications for our relationship with our fellow animals, and, above all, our relationship with one another, even if Pagel doesn’t draw many such implications.



10 Reasons Millennials Should Be Wary of Rand Paul’s Libertarianism

by Richard Eskow

Republican Senator Rand Paul has been making a big play for millennials lately, most notably by taking his civil liberties pitch to colleges around the country. Paul has got the right idea when he says his party must “evolve, adapt or die” (although I think the first two are virtually the same thing). Katie Glueck of Politico wrote that “The Kentucky senator drew a largely friendly reception at the University of California-Berkeley as he skewered the intelligence community.”



Game Theoretical Analysis of the Duel

by John Danaher

We’ve all been there. A good-natured dispute among friends escalates; one party insults the honour of another; and the situation can only be resolved with a duel. The two parties face each other down with pistols, and take alternating steps toward one another. They must decide when to shoot. Victory means life and honour restored; loss means death and dishonour. What will the outcome be?



Quest for immortality spurs breakthroughs in human-machine merge

by Dick Pelletier

By mid-century or before, many future followers predict the pace of technological progress in genetics, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence will become so fast that humans will undergo radical evolution. By the 2030s, we'll be deluged with medical breakthroughs that promise a forever youthful state of being.



Social Media and the Perils of Looking for ‘Likes’

by Doug Rushkoff

(CNN)—Ask teens the object of social media, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: to get “likes.” Whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr, young users understand the coin of this realm, and are more than happy to do what is necessary to accumulate it. But is the currency value neutral, or does it come with an agenda of its own?



Is Charles Koch “Un-American”? Let Thomas Jefferson Decide

by Richard Eskow

What Koch calls “character assassination,” however, others would describe as a simple recounting of the facts. Koch and his brother David are known for injecting massive amounts of their (partially inherited) wealth into the political process, academia, and propaganda in order to promote their right-wing (and self-serving) point of view. But now that he’s brought it up: Is Charles Koch really un-American?



Analysis: The Great Indian Startup Movement

by Kathryn Cave

As vast swathes of consumers move online across India, huge volumes of new startups are flooding into the marketplace to service them. The space is growing rapidly and an ecosystem is emerging to help them succeed. Yet the issues these companies face include a disparate geographic area, a large range of languages and a general lack of credit card use. Maybe those who can conquer this fast expanding India really can take on the world?



What would you do?

by Martin O'Shea

In breaking news an international conglomerate of scientists is to release their stem cell therapy rejuvenation injections next month. They have stated that for everyone injection paid for they will provide two free versions to designated countries and welfare recipients in non-designated countries.

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