Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Life

“A Dangerous Master” by Wendell Wallach (Lecture & Book Signing)
May 5-
Connecticut Science Center | Downtown Hartford, CT


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ PFSK 2016 Forum
May 13
New York City, NY


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Hammer Museum
May 17
Los Angeles, California


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Powell’s Books
May 20
Portland, OR


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Webvisions
May 20
Portland, OR


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Personal Democracy Forum
June 10
New York City, NY


Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work Conference
December 5-6
Rice University, Houston, Texas




MULTIMEDIA: Life Topics

Mind Hack: Combat Anxiety with This Breathing Technique

Enhance Creativity by Utilizing Both Your Conscious and Unconscious Mind

The Digital Economy Should Be about Capital Creation, Not Extraction

How Your Brain Rewards Love Is a Double-Edged Sword

How Meditation Can Lead to a Vegan Diet

We can reprogram life. How to do it wisely

A new superweapon in the fight against cancer

3D Virtual Reality Is the Best Storytelling Technology We’ve Ever Had

Algorithms: Killing Jobs, Narrowing Our Personalities

Hackers Will Be Tempted by Cyborg Vulnerabilities

Online Companies Like Facebook Have Created a Meaningless Economy

Unnecessary Supplement Use is Rising, Even Among the Elderly

Is your phone part of your mind?

Overcoming the Obstacles on the Path to Post-Scarcity

Episode #1- Tal Zarsky on the Ethics of Big Data and Predictive Analytics




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Life Topics




Nicotine Gum for Depression and Anxiety

by John G. Messerly

(Disclaimer – I’m not a medical doctor. For more info on these topics consult an M.D.)

I was thinking about a friend who quit smoking about 10 years ago with the help of nicotine gum. She eventually kicked the nicotine gum habit too, although she claimed that it was about as difficult to quit the gum as it was the cigarettes. She did notice that her ability to deal with anxiety was reduced after quitting the gum, and she also became more depressed. As a result, she has considered starting to chew gum again.



What Is a Global Citizen, and Can it Save Us?

by David Swanson

Headlines this past week claimed that for the first time ever more than half of poll respondents around the world said they saw themselves more as a global citizen than as a citizen of a country. What did they mean in saying that?



A Pro- and Anti-War Dialogue

by David Swanson

Anti-War Advocate: Is there a case that can be made for war?

Pro-War Advocate: Well, yes. In a word: Hitler!



Dangers de l’IA : une prophétie auto-réalisatrice ?

by Alexandre Maurer

En 2014 et 2015, de nombreuses personnalités ont exprimé leurs craintes quant aux dangers de l’intelligence artificielle (IA) : Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Bill Gates… Depuis, ce sujet est devenu très présent dans les médias.



IEET Affiliate Scholar Roland Benedikter New Contribution to the ACATECH Report

On April 25 2016 the new report of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (ACATECH) has been published: Innovation Potential of Human-Machine Interaction. IEET Affiliate Scholar Roland Benedikter contributed to this report. The Report is part of the official “Innovation Dialogue Between The German Federal Government, Economy and Science” (Innovationsdialog zwischen Bundesregierung, Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft 2015-16).

Full Story...
Link to Innovation Potential of Human-Machine Interaction



The Ethics of Intimate Surveillance (2): A Landscape of Objections

by John Danaher

This is the second in a two-part series (read Part I here)looking at the ethics of intimate surveillance. In part one, I explained what was meant by the term ‘intimate surveillance’, gave some examples of digital technologies that facilitate intimate surveillance, and looked at what I take to be the major argument in favour of this practice (the argument from autonomy).



The Deeper Meaning of the Anthropocene

by Rick Searle

Last year when I wrote a review of E.O. Wilson’s book The Meaning of Human Existence I felt sure it would be the then 85 year old’s last major work. I was wrong having underestimated Professor Wilson’s already impressive intellectual stamina. Perhaps his latest book Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life is indeed his last, the final book that concludes the trilogy of The Social Conquest of Earth and the Meaning of Human Existence.



MIT Journal, Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments Call for Papers

Advancements in virtual reality are not only technology driven, but actions within virtual environments implicate numerous issues in policy and law. For example, are virtual images copyrightable? Is the speech produced by a virtual avatar afforded rights under the U.S. and other Constitutions? How does criminal law relate to actions performed within virtual environments, or contract law apply to the lease and sale of virtual objects? These and other questions form the theme for this special issue. Legal scholars and practitioners from the U.S. and other jurisdictions are encouraged to submit.

See CFP here.

Link to Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments



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.



A New Theory of Time: X-tention is Simultaneously Discrete and Continuous

by Melanie Swan

Time has been conceived mainly as either discrete or continuous, but not widely as a simultaneity of the two. I would like to articulate a new theory of time in which time is reconceived as a ‘raw material’ whose natural state is both discrete and continuous. This is a “middle third” position that extends Husserl’s theory of internal time consciousness by being a new form of time in the middle between and connecting retention-protention (which are continuous) and recollection-expectation (which are discrete).



IEET Affiliate Scholar Hank Pellissier’s Athiest Ugandan Orphanage and School

Sarah Sloat, a writer at Inverse, has published an article discussing the successful venture spearheaded by Bwambale Robert Musubaho, Hank Pellissier and Zoltan Istvan in funding and developing an An Atheist Ugandan Orphanage.

Link to Inverse



The Ethics of Intimate Surveillance (1)

by John Danaher

Intimate Surveillance’ is the title of an article by Karen Levy - a legal and sociological scholar currently-based at NYU. It shines light on an interesting and under-explored aspect of surveillance in the digital era. The forms of surveillance that capture most attention are those undertaken by governments in the interests of national security or corporations in the interests of profit.



What’s happening inside the black box? Three forms of algorithmic opacity

by John Danaher

The debate about algorithmic governance (or as I prefer ‘algocracy’) has been gathering pace over the past couple of years. As computer-coded algorithms become ever more woven into the fabric of economic and political life, and as the network of data-collecting devices that feed these algorithms grows, we can expect that pace to quicken.



Better Birth Control for Men – How Would It Work? What’s in the Pipeline?

by Valerie Tarico

Most people think of contraception as an issue of women’s health and rights. But for millennia, men too have wanted choices—the means to decide whether, when, and with whom they father a child.



Why Woman-as-Abortion-Victim is Even Worse than Endorsing Punishment

by Valerie Tarico

Republican attempts to distance from “punishment” instead liken women to feeble minded children, incapable of adult moral agency or responsibility.

If Donald Trump’s comment about punishing women for abortions exposed the bloated belly of the Pro-Life Priesthood, his retraction exposed its sulfur-spewing rear end.



Is The Singularity A Religious Doctrine?

by John G. Messerly

A colleague forwarded John Horgan‘s recent Scientific American article, “The Singularity and the Neural Code.” Horgan argues that the intelligence augmentation and mind uploading that would lead to a technological singularity depend upon cracking the neural code. The problem is that we don’t understand our neural code, the software or algorithms that transform neurophysiology into the stuff of minds like perceptions, memories, and meanings. In other words, we know very little about how brains make minds.



Meaning in Life as Being Part of Cosmic Evolution

by John G. Messerly

Below is an excerpt of comments from an astute reader of my book, The Meaning of Life: Religious, Philosophical, Transhumanist, and Scientific Perspectives:



Cellules souches d’embryon humain : pourquoi faut-il en permettre la recherche ?

by Marc Roux

Dans le cadre de sa campagne pour le premier tour des élections, l’actuel président de la République, M. François Hollande avait fait une déclaration qui intéresse le transhumanisme. Il a en effet annoncé que, une fois élu, il proposerait de faciliter la recherche sur les cellules souches embryonnaires, sous entendu : humaine (CSEh) (L’Express, 22/02/2012).



The Habit of Thought That Made U.S. #1 in Prisons and Wars

by David Swanson

I’m going to start with a few brief opening remarks about what I think is the habit of thought that has made the United States #1 in the world in prisons and wars. And then I’ll be glad to try to answer as many questions as you think of. These remarks will be published online at American Herald Tribune.



Why Do Ethics Classes Fantasize About Murder So Much?

by David Swanson

At a post-screening discussion where I questioned the director of Eye in the Sky about the disconnect between his drone-kill movie and reality, he launched into a bunch of thought-experiment stuff of the sort I’ve tried to avoid since finishing my master’s in philosophy. Mostly I’ve avoided hanging out with torture supporters.



Predictability and Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)

by Wendell Wallach

Does predictability provide an overriding concept and perhaps a metric for evaluating when LAWS are acceptable or when they might be unacceptable under international humanitarian law? Arguably, if the behavior of an autonomous weapon is predictable, deploying it might be considered no different from, for example, launching a ballistic missile. This, of course, presumes that we can know how predictable the behavior of a specific autonomous weapon will be.



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.



Posthuman Rights: Dimensions of Transhuman Worlds

Woody Evans has published an article on Posthuman rights in the Spanish journal, Teknokultura. Below is the abstract of the paper. You can click on the journal title to find the full article online.

Full Story...
Link to Teknokultura



How Augmented and Virtual Realities Might Change Productivity Forever in the Next 10 Years

by Daniel Faggella

In the last 10 years, we’ve seen some amazing leaps and bounds in human productivity. Our phones are smaller, our internet is faster, and software and hardware automates much of what we used to do manually.



The Future of Gender

by Jules Hamilton

Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, a classic sci-fi, and Nebula Award winner for best novel, is about descendants of the human race that, due to evolution, periodically alternate their genetic sex. Sometimes they’re male and sometimes they’re female; it’s an intriguing exploration on the role of culture and gender. The story’s protagonist is like you and me, a visiting alien trying to understand the customs of this other world. What is gender? And why is everyone talking about it so much right now?



Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble

by Didier Coeurnelle

Vertiges et perspectives d’une vie en bonne santé beaucoup plus longue.
Chaque jour, la mort, la grande faucheuse, fait son travail avec un peu plus de difficulté. En effet, chaque jour nous gagnons environ 6 heures d’espérance de vie. Ces progrès ne sont pas également répartis. Contrairement à ce que beaucoup pensent, c’est dans la plupart des pays du Sud et non pas dans les pays du Nord que les progrès sont les plus rapides.



Blockchains and the Emergence of a Lex Cryptographia

by John Danaher

Here’s an interesting idea. It’s taken from Aaron Wright and Primavera de Filippi’s article ‘Decentralized Blockchain Technology and the Rise of Lex Cryptographia’. The article provides an excellent overview of blockchain technology and its potential impact on the law. It ends with an interesting historical reflection. It suggests that the growth of blockchain technology may give rise to a new type of legal order: a lex cryptographia. This is similar to how the growth in international trading networks gave rise to a lex mercatoria and how the growth in the internet gave rise to a lex informatica.



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.



Abortion Care as a Spiritual Ministry—An Interview with Dr. Willie Parker

by Valerie Tarico

What kind of person becomes a full time abortion provider, traveling across state lines to end unhealthy or unwanted pregnancy despite screaming protesters threatening death and damnation? Whatever image you may have in mind, Dr. Willie Parker probably doesn’t fit it.



Posthumanism and Contemporary Art

by Kevin LaGrandeur

The art in MOCA’s Winter/Spring exhibition Stranger, is art of the posthuman era. The idea of the posthuman is a big new philosophical and scientific concept, and big new philosophical or scientific concepts often cause paradigm shifts in the way we think about our world, about ourselves, and about our relation to the universe. And that, in turn, changes art. Which changes us, because art reflects and anticipates our struggles to absorb and assimilate new ideas and how they relate to us.

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