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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Life

Cascio @ TEDx in Marin
September 18
Marin, CA USA


Hughes, Walker @ Basic Income Reddit AMA (1pm EDT)
September 20
Reddit/Futurism


Cascio, Pellissier @ Artificial Intelligence & The Singularity Conference
September 20
Piedmont, California


Sorgner @ Posthuman Politics
September 25-28
University of the Aegean, Lesbos, Greece


Sorgner on “three types of posthuman perfection”
September 30
Erlangen, Germany


CyborgCamp ‘14
October 2-4
MIT's Media Lab, 75 Amherst St. Cambridge, Boston MA, USA


Brin @ TERADYNE Corp. biannual internal technical conference.
October 7
San Diego, CA USA




MULTIMEDIA: Life Topics

Singularity 1 on 1: Practopoiesis Tells Us Machine Learning Is Not Enough!

A Debate on the Right to be Forgotten

Climate Engineering Conference 2014: Critical Global Discussions (6min)

The Writer’s Role: Reflections on Communicating Climate Engineering to Public Audiences

Building Digital Trust: A New Architecture for Engineering Privacy (10 min)

Freedom & Privacy: The Future Can’t Look Like the Past (48 min)

What if everybody got free cash? Myths and facts about Unconditional Basic Income

Genetically Engineered Ethical Super Babies?

Robot Sex Workers of Tomorrow (w/ Lynn Parramore)

Character Is A Vital Lie

Biohacking - the forefront of a new kind of human evolution

Our Miserable Future (1hr)

The Human Brain (1hr 22min)

Singularity 1 on 1: Quantum Thief Trilogy

The Nature of Categories and Concepts (1hr 30min)




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Life Topics




Are hierarchical theories of freedom and responsibility plausible?

by John Danaher

In order to be responsible for your actions, you must be free. Or so it is commonly believed. But what exactly does it mean to be free? One popular view holds that freedom consists in the ability to do otherwise. That is to say: the ability to choose among alternative possible futures. This popular view runs into a host of problems. The obvious one being that it is inconsistent with causal determinism.



Living, intelligent patterns in Conway’s Life

by Giulio Prisco

Conway’s Game of Life, a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970, is a rich mental laboratory to think about our own universe.



Hollywood Must Turn Its Head to Personalized Longevity Science instead of Anti-Aging Pseudoremedies

by Maria Konovalenko

This attention-worthy article in The Hollywood Reporter signals that Hollywood people are ready and willing to do something about their longevity. The article mentions hormone replacement therapy, different check-ups and other things available in California, however completely misses 99% of what actually can be done about aging – science.



MMR Vaccines and Autism: Bringing clarity to the CDC Whistleblower Story

by Andrew Maynard

Anyone following the Twitter #vaccinesNOVA hashtag on the evening of Wednesday September 10 would have seen their stream seemingly overwhelmed by the #CDCWhistleblower hashtag.



Biology and Biology of Aging Resources (6 videos)

by Maria Konovalenko

We have prepared a list of resources that can help understand biology of aging. We tried to find easy to grasp information sources and compiled a list of lectures, audio courses, popular science books and articles on biology in general and biology of aging in particular. The selected resources probably don’t exhaust the whole picture of aging science, but they shed light on the main ideas and research directions in this area.



Book Review: Virtually Human by Martine Rothblatt

by Peter Rothman

“Virtually Human explores what the not-too-distant future will look like when cyberconsciousness—simulation of the human brain via software and computer technology—becomes part of our daily lives.” by Martine Rothblatt Ph.D., MBA, J.D.



5 Reasons The SEC’s Executive-Pay Rules Matter – And 5 Ways to Use Them

by Richard Eskow

Two little-known rules on corporate reporting of executive pay are currently being reviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. While they have received almost no press coverage, these rules could have far-reaching consequences for our nation’s economy and the future of the middle class.



Steven Pinker’s Guide to Classic Style

by John Danaher

I try to be a decent writer. I try to convey complex ideas to a broader audience. I try to write in a straightforward, conversational style. But I know I often fail in this. I know I sometimes lean too heavily on technical philosophical vocabulary, hoping that the reader will be able to follow along. I know I sometimes rush to complete blog posts, never getting a chance to polish or rewrite them. Still, I strive for clarity and would like to improve.



Why aren’t we more scared of measles?

by Andrew Maynard

Measles is one of the leading causes of death amongst children worldwide.  In 2012, an estimated 122,000 people died of the disease according to the World Health Organization – equivalent to 14 deaths every hour.  Yet talk to parents about this highly infectious disease, and the response is often a resounding “meh”.  Why is this?



Enhancing Virtues: Intelligence (Part 2)

by J. Hughes

We can make the world more intelligent by reducing poverty and violence, and improving nutrition and education, and we can use exercise, diet, and life-long learning to improve our own intelligence.



Longevity Research Program is Established in Israel

by Ilia Stambler

On March 26, 2014, there took place in BarIlanUniversity the conference entitled – “Biology of Longevity and Quality of Life” which was also widely promoted under the title “Pathways to Healthy Longevity”. The conference was held as a part of the celebrations of Israel Science Day, under the auspices of the Israel Ministry of Science.



Watch Out Cupid! Transhumanism is Going to Change Love

by Zoltan Istvan

I’ve received a lot of advice on romantic love over the years. It seems everyone is an expert on it and has something to say. Most of the advice I received was from my close guy friends, a bunch of professional, weekend warrior types. Unfortunately, most of their advice was biased towards getting the so-called hot girl, and then later in life: the trophy wife (hot girl who can be a good mother).



An open source future for synthetic biology

by Harry J. Bentham

If the controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) tells us something indisputable, it is this: GMO food products from corporations like Monsanto are suspected to endanger health. On the other hand, an individual’s right to genetically modify and even synthesize entire organisms as part of his dietary or medical regimen could someday be a human right.



IEET Affiliate Scholar Rick Searle was a 3rd place winner of a $2,000 prize from FQXi

IEET Affiliate Scholar Rick Searle was a 3rd place winner of a $2,000 prize in this spring’s FQXi essay contest “How Should Humanity Steer the Future?” The contests are regular events held by the Fundamental Questions Institute whose mission is “To catalyze, support, and disseminate research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources.”

Full Story...
Link to FQXi



IEET Fellow Stefan Sorgner on German public radio (WDR)

With more than 100,000 podcast users alone, IEET Fellow Stefan Sorgner was interviewed by Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln (WDR, West German Broadcasting Cologne.) Below is the audio in German…

Full Story...
Link to WDR



Top 5 Killer Apps: QS-Automotive Sensors

by Melanie Swan

The Internet of Things means not just that computing devices have connectivity to the cloud but that they are connected to each other, and therefore that novel applications can be developed in this rich ecosystem. One area for development is linking quantified self wearable sensors with automotive sensors for applications including Fatigue Detection, Real-time Parking and Assistance, Anger/Stress Reduction, Keyless Authentication, and DIY Diagnostics.



City As Superintelligence

by Rick Searle

A movement is afoot to cover some of the largest and most populated cities in the world with a sophisticated array of interconnected sensors, cameras, and recording devices, able to track and respond to every crime or traffic jam ,every crisis or pandemic, as if it were an artificial immune system spread out over hundreds of densely packed kilometers filled with millions of human beings.



CBS Approves Pilot of TV Drama Based on Work of IEET Advisor Arthur Caplan

CBS will produce a pilot of “Austen’s Razor,” a drama inspired by the career of bioethicist and IEET Advisor Arthur L. Caplan.

Full Story...



IEET Fellow David Eagleman to Host PBS Series on The Brain

IEET Fellow David Eagleman has written and will host a six hour television series on The Brain for PBS.  The series will premeire in 2015, and deals with tough questions of ethics and emerging neurotechnologies.

Full Story...



IEET Scholar Ted Chu Appointed Chief Economist at World Bank’s International Finance Corporation

Ted will be moving to Washington D.C. to lead the Global Economics and Strategy Department and be responsible for IFC’s strategy and development impact functions, leading a global team of approximately 100 people.

Full Story...



Do Cognitive Enhancing Drugs Actually Work?

by John Danaher

I’ve been writing about the ethics of human enhancement for some time. In the process, I’ve looked at many of the fascinating ethical and philosophical issues that are raised by the use of enhancing drugs. But throughout all this writing, there is one topic that I have studiously avoided. This is surprising given that, in many ways, it is the most fundamental topic of all: do the alleged cognitive enhancing drugs actually work?



Robot Servants Are Going to Make Your Life Easy. Then They’ll Ruin It

by Evan Selinger

Jibo, the “world’s first family robot,” hit the media hype machine like a bomb. From a Katie Couric profile to coverage in just about every outlet, folks couldn’t get enough of this little robot with a big personality poised to bring us a step closer to the world depicted in “The Jetsons” where average families have maids like Rosie. In the blink of an eye, pre-orders climbed passed $1.8 million and blew away the initial fundraising goal of $100k.



Enhancing Virtues: Intelligence (part 1)

by J. Hughes

The ability to think clearly and make good decisions is on almost every society’s list of virtues. In this essay I discuss the debate over different aspects of intelligence, the degree to which they are shaped by genes, chemistry and society, and the role of intelligence in other virtues.



IEET Fellow Susan Schneider Interviewed in the cover story for The Humanist (Sept/Oct)

Can consciousness be created in a machine? Is the mind/brain simply a computational system? IEET Fellow and University of Connecticut philosopphy professor, Susan Schneider, was interviewed by The Humanist on these pressing topics. What kind of technology will exist in a transhumanist world the humanists are starting to question…

Full Story...
Link to The Humanist



Fumed silica: Another nano material we need to worry about?

by Andrew Maynard

Pick up a jar of chili powder, and the chances are it will contain a small amount of fumed silica – an engineered nanomaterial that’s been around for over half a century.  The material – which is formed from microscopically small particles of amorphous silicon dioxide – has long been considered to be non-toxic.



Why the Pope is Less Wrong Than Keith Farrell

by Kevin Carson

Pope Francis’s remarks on poverty, inequality and capitalism — most recently at his open air mass in Seoul — don’t sit well with many conservatives and right-leaning libertarians. The Pope’s remarks include criticism of growing economic inequality and a call to “hear the voice of the poor.”



Enhancing Virtues: Caring (part 3)

by J. Hughes

We can encourage empathy and compassion through social policy and individual practices. But fully realizing our capacities for empathy and compassion will require careful, nuanced neurotechnological intervention.



Why the Price of Theism is Normative Skepticism

by John Danaher

Street defends a form of constructivist antirealism, which I find quite attractive. I was thus pleasantly surprised to find that she had also recently written a paper dealing with one of my favourite topics in the philosophy of religion: the problem of evil and its moral implications. It’s a very good paper too, one that I’m sure will provide plenty of fodder for discussion.



On Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature”

by piero scaruffi

This book offers a colossal synthesis of history, biology, philosophy, psychology and neurophysiology. Surprisingly, the latter is the least plausible region of the book (we still know too little about the brain). But by mixing historical facts and evolutionary theories and using a bit of logical thinking, Pinker comes up with great insights into human nature. Pinker synthesizes the work of (literally) hundreds of thinkers and researchers and draws his own original conclusions.



Cyberwarfare ethics, or how Facebook could accidentally make its engineers into targets

by Patrick Lin

Without clear rules for cyberwarfare, technology workers could find themselves fair game in enemy attacks and counterattacks. If they participate in military cyberoperations—intentionally or not—employees at Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Sprint, AT&T, Vodaphone, and many other companies may find themselves considered “civilians directly participating in hostilities” and therefore legitimate targets of war, according to the legal definitions of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.

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