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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Life

Brin on SETI @ AAPT
January 4-5
San Diego, CA USA


Brin @ NASA NIAC Meeting
January 27-30
Orlando, FL USA


Brin @ AAAS Annual Meeting
February 12-16
San Jose, CA USA


Human in the Meshes of the Digital Web. Ethical Challenges of Info and Communication Technologies
March 11-14
Strasbourg, France


Cognition and Neuroethics in Science Fiction
March 20-21
Flint, Michigan, USA


Wallach, Hughes @ Governance of Emerging Technologies
May 26-28
Tempe, AZ USA


Hughes @ Juniata H+ Conference
July 26-30
Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA USA




MULTIMEDIA: Life Topics

“Unequal access to technology: what can we learn from smartphones?” (50min)

“Demystifying visionary technology” (1hr)

“What is a fair distribution of brains?” (1hr)

Ambition: A Short Sci Fi Film Celebrates the Rosetta Mission (5min)

Longevity Cook Book

Transhumanism: A Glimpse into the Future of Humanity

John Danaher on “Will the Future be Ruled by Algorithm?”

What is Technoprogressivism?

The Future of Healthcare: Medicine 2064

SENS Foundation: 2014 Buck Institute Summer Scholars

Quantitative Metrics on Cancer

Noam Chomsky on Capitalism

Solar Will be the Energy Source For Humanity in a Few Decades

Why science is NOT ‘Just a Theory’

The Fermi Paradox, Self-Replicating Probes, Interstellar Transport Bandwidth (22min)




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Life Topics




Transvision 2014, the Technoprogressive Declaration, & the ISF

by Amon Twyman

I have just returned from attending the Transvision 2014 (TV14) conference in Paris, co-hosted by AFT (L’Association Française Transhumaniste) Technoprog!, fiXience, & Traces (ESPCI ParisTech), at the Espace des Sciences Pierre-Gilles de Gennes. I found this to be a particularly successful, interesting, and invigorating conference. The meeting’s theme was “Transhumanism Faces the Social Question”, which is of course a collision of worlds very much at the heart of the Social Futurist worldview.



The Epistemological Objection to Divine Command Theory

by John Danaher

Regular readers will know that I have recently been working my through Erik Wielenberg’s fascinating new book Robust Ethics. In the book, Wielenberg defends a robust non-natural, non-theistic, moral realism. According to this view, moral facts exist as part of the basic metaphysical furniture of the universe. They are sui generis, not grounded in or constituted by other types of fact.



The Need for Research of Aging and Aging-related Diseases to Improve Health of the Global Elderly

by Ilia Stambler

The Need to Promote Research of Aging and Aging-related Diseases as a Way to Improve Health of the Global Elderly Population.

Resolution of the International Conference on Aging and Disease of the International Society on Aging and Disease - ICAD 2014, November 1-2, 2014, Beijing, China: Aging and the Burden of Disease The degenerative aging processes and associated diseases are the gravest challenge to global public health. Aging-related degenerative processes do not necessarily cause a particular disease but rather combine to produce a large set of non-communicable chronic diseases.



A Stanford University Debate: Transhumanism vs. Anarcho-Primitivism

by Zoltan Istvan

At Stanford University, I had the honor of publicly debating the world's leading anarcho-primitivist philosopher John Zerzan. As a transhumanist, I differ from Zerzan on just about every topic. According to Wikipedia, anarcho-primitivism "advocates for a return to a non-'civilized' way of life through deindustrialization." Transhumanism advocates for the continued use of science and technology to improve and change the human species. Simply put, Zerzan encourages everyone to give up civilization and go back to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. And I encourage everyone to do more to speed up technological and scientific progress. It was a meeting of polar opposite views. The debate headline was: Zoltan vs. Zerzan.



The Legal Challenges of Robotics (2): Are robots exceptional?

by John Danaher

Will robots pose exceptional challenges for the law? That’s the question taken up in Ryan Calo’s recent article “Robotics and the Lessons of Cyberlaw”. As noted in the previous entry, Calo thinks that robots have three distinguishing features: (i) embodiment (i.e. they are mechanical agents operating in the real world); (ii) emergence (i.e. they don’t simply perform routine operations, but are programmed to acquire and develop new behaviours); and (iii) social meaning (i.e. we anthropomorphise and attach social meaning to them). So when Calo asks whether robots pose exceptional challenges for the legal system, he asks in light of those three distinguishing features.



On “How We Became Post-Human”

by piero scaruffi

Hayles has written a complex and erudite book on the hidden premises and visible consequences of the information age. Ultimately, her thesis is summarized by a sentence in the prologue: “thought is a much broader cognitive function depending for its specificities on the embodied form enacting it”. Rewritten in plain English, it means that you cannot separate your “i” from the body that you inhabit. Her nightmare is “a culture inhabited by posthumans who regard their bodies as fashion accessories rather than the ground of being”. Her dream is a society in which we “understand ourselves as embodied creatures living within and through embodied worlds and embodied words.”



Bitcoin and Science: DNA is the Original Decentralized System

by Melanie Swan

What is the role (if any) of Bitcoin and blockchain technology with regard to the natural world and traditional science? One obvious link is using the blockchain as a means of improving distributed community computing projects with tracking and remuneration. BOINC, whose software runs SETI@home, has introduced Gridcoin, and [Protein]Folding@home has introduced Foldingcoin.



Summa Technologiae, Or Why The Trouble With Science Is Religion

by Rick Searle

Before I read Lee Billings’ piece in the fall issue of Nautilus, I had no idea that in addition to being one of the world’s greatest science-fiction writers, Stanislaw Lem had written what became a forgotten book, a tome that was intended to be the overarching text of the technological age his 1966 Summa Technologiae.



Technoprogressive Declaration - Transvision 2014

Here at the Transvision 2014 in Paris we just concluded a meeting of the technoprogressive caucus to draft a statement of common principles. The meeting consisted of the members of Technoprog!: AFT, Amon Twyman representing Zero State/Institute for Social Futurism, David Wood from the London Futurists, and me (J. Hughes) from IEET. The result is below. We are inviting individual and organizational co-signators. Please let me know if you would like to add your or your organization’s name.  We would like to collect co-signators between now and the end of the year, so you don’t have to decide immediately.

Full Story...



Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality

by piero scaruffi

The US neurophysiologist Paul Nunez previously wrote “Electric Fields of the Brain” (1981) and “Neocortical Dynamics and Human EEG Rhythms” (1995), and in fact his credentials in the field of brain studies harken back to a paper originally written in 1972 and ambitiously titled “The Brain Wave Equation” (an equation that eventually he resurrects in this book, 40 years later). In this book Nunez summarizes his novel ideas on the way that “brains cause minds” (to use Searle’s expression).



How America’s Obsession With Bad Birth Control Hurts and Even Kills Women

by Valerie Tarico

Many women know more about the risks of birth control than about how the right contraceptive might improve their lives. For busy women, making good health decisions and actually taking care of ourselves can be a challenge, especially when practical factors such as complicated schedules, finances, and competing demands are taken into consideration. Well-balanced, well-presented information can empower women to make smart decisions about reproductive health care. Unfortunately, thanks in part to how the American legal system works, many women know more about the risks and side effects of birth control than about how the right contraceptive might improve their health and well-being.



A decade of uncertainty in nanoscale science and engineering

by Andrew Maynard

In 2004, the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering (RS-RAE) in the UK published the report Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: Opportunities and Uncertainties [1]. At the time it was widely speculated that the report arose from concerns expressed by Prince Charles over the possibility that nanotechnology could lead to a ‘grey goo’ scenario where self-replicating ‘nanobots’ destroy life as we know it [2]. Outlandish as the alleged motivation was (and Prince Charles was quick to downplay reports of his grey goo concerns [3]), the resulting report set the pace for the next decade of global research into the potential impacts of nanotechnology — and how to avoid them.



Longevity Gene Therapy – Updated Projects

by Maria Konovalenko

While discussing the longevity gene therapy project we encountered various questions and observations that prompted us to broaden the project and slightly change it. Generally, all the comments can be reduced into 5 main points…



Does Religion Cause More Harm than Good? Brits Say Yes. Here’s Why They May be Right.

by Valerie Tarico

Most British people think religion causes more harm than good according to a survey commissioned by the Huffington Post. Surprisingly, even among those who describe themselves as “very religious” 20 percent say that religion is harmful to society. For that we can probably thank the internet, which broadcasts everything from Isis beheadings, to stories about Catholic hospitals denying care to miscarrying women, to lists of wild and weird religious beliefs, to articles about psychological harms from Bible-believing Christianity.



A Transhumanist Manifesto

by Nikola Danaylov

Intelligence wants to be free but everywhere it is in chains. It is imprisoned by biology and its inevitable scarcity. Biology mandates not only very limited durability, death and poor memory retention, but also limited speed of communication, transportation, learning, interaction and evolution.



Who Says Ferguson Can’t End Well

by David Swanson

Just as a police officer in a heightened state of panic surrounded by the comfort of impunity will shoot an innocent person, the Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency preemptively, thus justifying violence in response to something that hasn't happened. Bombing Iraq in response to nonexistent weapons and Libya in response to nonexistent threats worked out so well, we may as well try it domestically, the Governor is perhaps thinking. "There Is No Way That This Ends Well" is a headline I actually just read about Ferguson.



Blockchain AI: Consensus as the Mechanism to foster ‘Friendly’ AI

by Melanie Swan

The blockchain is the decentralized public ledger upon which cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin run; the blockchain is possibly the next Internet; the blockchain is an information technology; the blockchain is a trustless network; the blockchain is an M2M/IOT payment network for the machine economy; and the blockchain is a consensus model at scale, the mechanism we have been waiting for that could help to usher in an era of friendly machine intelligence.



A Scientist’s Manifesto

by Andrew Maynard

Four years ago I posted Professor Robert Winston’s “Scientist’s Manifesto” on 2020 Science.  Having just gone back and read this, it still resonate deeply with me – so I’m reposting it in the hope that it will also resonate with others…



Sustain Between the Sheets!

by Valerie Tarico

Seventh Generation founder and daughter launch female-friendly, fair-trade, eco-friendly condom company When Meika Hollender’s dad, superstar green entrepreneur Jeffrey Hollender, first brought up the idea of founding a condom company together, Meika wasn’t quite sure what to think.



The Transhuman World

by David Eubanks

Whatever a transhuman is, xe (a pronoun to encompass all conceivable states of personhood) will have to live in a world that enables xer to be transhuman. I’ll explore the impact of three likely-seeming aspects of that world: ubiquitous interconnected smart machines, continuous classification, and virtualism.



Aid Organizations Working in Ebola Regions (v2.0)

by Kelly Hills

We’re heading in to mid-November, and while the very disturbing logistics/supply chain chart showing that some personal protective equipment stock in countries battling Ebola are at “zero”–and had been for a while–have improved, the Ebola outbreak is still racing through Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Sadly, the outbreak also appears to be gaining a small foothold in Mali.



Counterparty/Ethereum: Why Bitcoin topped $450 today (was under $350 last week)

by Melanie Swan

In the heated development space for Bitcoin 2.0 protocol projects (Figure 1), on November 12, 2014, Counterparty announced that they ported the open-source Ethereum programming language onto their own platform. Ethereum is regarded as one of the most advanced Bitcoin 2.0 projects, a general-purpose Turing-complete cryptocurrency platform.



A Wiki for President

by piero scaruffi

Digital technology is instead progressing very slowly when it comes to government: the link between the citizen and the politician is often just a “feedback form” on the politician’s website. Very little effort has been made to link the citizen and the decision making process in more effective and creative ways.



OutbreakChat: A Livetweet of a Movie That Gives People Nightmares,…

by Kelly Hills

...and probably not for the reason you think. Outbreak is one of those movies people seem to either love or hate (or possibly love to hate); almost everyone I know who has anything to do with public health, infectious diseases, or virology tends to swear up a blue storm when the movie comes up.



Pastor-Turned-Atheist Coaches Secular Church Start-Ups

by Valerie Tarico

On the last Sunday in September, fifty or so people tricked into an old classroom in North Seattle. Classic rock played in the background, and greeters pointed parents to a table at the back where young children could entertain themselves with art materials. They were there for the launch of Sunday Assembly Seattle, an experimental church community without gods, sacred texts or dogmas.



3-D Printing Can Help Alleviate Poverty

by R. Dennis Hansen

With a 3-D printer, an operator plugs in a virtual blueprint for an object, which the printer uses to construct the final product layer by layer.  Several types of these printers exist, using a variety of materials as the “ink.”  The most popular models work by extruding a filament of molten plastic.  The print head makes repeated passes over the item being printed.  It thus builds a 3-D structure.



Mary Shelley’s other horror story; Lessons for Super-pandemics

by Rick Searle

Back in the early 19th century a novel was written that tells the story of humanity’s downfall in the 21st century.  Our undoing was the consequence of a disease that originates in the developing world and radiates outward eventually spreading into North America, East Asia, and ultimately Europe. The disease proves unstoppable causing the collapse of civilization, our greatest cities becoming grave sites of ruin. For all the reader is left to know, not one human being survives the pandemic.



The Transhumanist Wager: Can We and Should We Defeat Death?

by John G. Messerly

The Transhumanist Wager, brainchild of noted transhumanist Zoltan Istvan, can be understood as follows. If one loves and values their life, then they will want (the option) to live as long and as well as possible. How do they achieve this?



A TEDx Talk on Beauty and Life Extension Science

by Zoltan Istvan

I recently had the opportunity to be the closing speaker at the 5th annual TEDxTransmedia event, held in the iconic Radio Television Suisee building in Geneva, Switzerland. Organized by media pioneer Nicoletta Iacobacci, the event was opened by a two-foot tall robot that gave a short welcome speech. The theme of the event was exponential beauty, and over a dozen speakers, performers, and young change makers also made presentations. The event was an overwhelming success that was topped off by a festive farewell cocktail reception.



Decentralized Money: Bitcoin 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0

by Melanie Swan

Bitcoin 1.0 is currency - the deployment of cryptocurrencies in applications related to cash such as currency transfer, remittance, and digital payment systems. Bitcoin 2.0 is contracts - the whole slate of economic, market, and financial applications using the blockchain that are more extensive than simple cash transactions like stocks, bonds, futures, loans, mortgages, titles, smart property, and smart contracts

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