Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Life

Sorgner @ Beyond Humanism Conf: From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?
September 15-18
Seoul, S. Korea


International Longevity Day
October 1
Global


Siegel @ Transformative Technology Conference
October 2-4
Sofia University, Palo Alto CA, USA


Stambler, de Grey @ Super Longevity Conference
October 3-4
New Delhi, India


Horizons - Perspectives on Psychedelics
October 9-11
NYC, NY USA


Roux on H+ & Cyborgization @ “Transformed Body” (“Le Corps Transformé”)
October 9-10
Montpellier, France


Vita-More @ Alcor Conference
October 9-11
Scottsdale, AZ USA




MULTIMEDIA: Life Topics

Bipolar Disorder Is Like Having Two Serious Illnesses at Once

Digital Stroke

What is the Future of Your Mind?

Technology Made Us Human

Practopoiesis Tells Us Machine Learning Isn’t Enough

What Explains The Rise of Humans?

The Science of Why Nature Is Beautiful to Us

10 Amazing Robots That Will Change the World

First Video Camera to Use Artificial Intelligence to Identify and Self-Edit

Artificial Intelligence for the Blind

What is the Future of Brain-Computer Interfaces?

Fashion industry’s First Transgender Modeling Agency

Moral Enhancement: Do Means Matter Morally?

Yet Another Reason to Exercise: It May Make You More Creative

3-D Printing Guns, Drugs, and DNA Weapons: Organized Crime Is Being Decentralized




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Life Topics




Cosmic Beings: Transhumanist Deism in Ted Chu’s Cosmic View

by Giulio Prisco

In Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution, IEET affiliate scholar Ted Chu, a professor of Economics at New York University in Abu Dhabi and former chief economist for General Motors and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, argues that post-humanity is a logical and necessary evolutionary next step for humanity, and we need a new, heroic cosmic faith for the post-human era. “The ultimate meaning of our lives rests not in our personal happiness but in our contribution to cosmic evolution,” says Chu…



Rick Searle’s Rational Monster

by Daryl Wennemann

In his essay Erasmus Reads Kahneman, or why perfect rationality is less than it’s cracked up to be it does not seem that the concept of rationality Rick Searle cites as following the principle of non-contradiction is at work when he asserts, “We could turn even a psychopathically rational monster like Hitler into a buffoon because even he, after all, was one of us.”



Healthier, Stronger, More Youthful You by 2024, Experts Predict

by Dick Pelletier

In just ten years, many of today’s older citizens might look in the mirror and ask, “Who is that gorgeous person?” Their reflection would reveal a revitalized body overflowing with enthusiasm, sporting a dazzling smile, wrinkle-free skin, perfect vision, natural hair color, real teeth, and an amazing mind and memory.



Erasmus reads Kahneman, or why perfect rationality is less than it’s cracked up to be

by Rick Searle

The last decade or so has seen a renaissance is the idea that human beings are something far short of rational creatures. Here are just a few prominent examples: there was Nassim Taleb with his The Black Swan, published before the onset of the financial crisis, which presented Wall Street traders caught in the grip of their optimistic narrative fallacies, that led them to “dance” their way right over a cliff. There was the work of Philip Tetlock which proved that the advice of most so-called experts was about as accurate as chimps throwing darts. There were explorations into how hard-wired our ideological biases are with work such as that of Jonathan Haidt in his The Righteous Mind.



What’s the case for sousveillance? (Part One)

by John Danaher

Steve Mann (pictured) has been described as the world’s first cyborg, and as a pioneer in wearable computing. He is certainly the latter. I’m not so sure about the former (I believe Mann rejects the title himself). He is also one of the foremost advocates for sousveillance in the contemporary era. Sousveillance is the inverse of surveillance. Instead of recording equipment solely being used by those in authority to record data about the rest of us, sousveillance advocates argue for a world in which ordinary citizens can turn the recording equipment back onto the authorities (and one another). This is thought to be beneficial in numerous ways.



5 Obnoxious Libertarian Oligarchs Who Earned Fortunes from the Government They’d Like to Destroy

by Richard Eskow

These highly privileged and highly unaware individuals have been inappropriately lionized by society.The cult of the libertarian-minded ultra-weatlhy would make an intriguing anthropological case study. But it would be a case study with a twist: its research subjects increasingly control our economy, our politics, and even our personal lives. We’re dealing with a cohort of highly fortunate, highly privileged and highly unaware individuals who have been inappropriately lionized by society. That lionization has led them to believe that their wealth and accomplishments are their own doing, rather than the fruits of collaborative effort – effort which in many cases was only made possible through government support.



Putting Innovation to a Vote? Majoritarian Processes versus Open Playing Fields

by Gennady Stolyarov II

Putting innovation to a vote is never a good idea. Consider the breakthroughs that have improved our lives the most during the 20th and early 21st centuries. Did anyone vote for or ordain the creation of computers, the Internet, smartphones, or tablet computers? No: that plethora of technological treasures was made available by individuals who perceived possibilities unknown to the majority, and who devoted their time, energy, and resources toward making those possibilities real. The electronic technologies which were unavailable to even the richest, most powerful men of the early 20th century now open up hitherto unimaginable possibilities even to children of poor families in Sub-Saharan Africa.



Contingency and Emotion:  The role of affect in the structure of knowledge

by Devin Van Dyke

Perceptible in the background of the texts and discussions around the reception of evolutionary theory in the United States and Great Britain are attempts to explain how best to understand the relationship between the theory as originally articulated by Charles Darwin and the myriad interpretations and addenda of the theory which have since emerged, all claiming direct descent from Darwin’s work.



Why App Developers May Be Selling Their Souls To Apple And Google

by Evan Selinger

The app economy is booming. Back in May, Apple AAPL +1.4% noted customers are downloading “more than 800 apps per second at a rate of over two billion apps per month on the App Store.” While this massive market reflects consumer taste at a time when smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, a dark side also clouds consumer consequences. With respect to games alone, we hear recurring stories of exploited kids, adults being tricked into “doing something against their will,” and questionable privacy practices.



The School as Superorganism: Cooperation, Control, and Working Across the Moral Matrix

by Dustin Eirdosh

This year, the PEAR Lab is laser-focused on our on-going search for superorganisms within the schools and classrooms of Toliara, the capital city of Southwestern Madagascar. In my first writing on the subject - it might seem to many readers that my claim is prescriptive; that finding such educational superorganisms represents an unambiguous moral positive. This is far from the case - and as I describe below - ambiguity is really the name of the game in this emerging branch of human ecology.



The End of Nation States May Enhance Humanity

by Harry J. Bentham

Perhaps parallel to the physical enhancement of human ability and longevity through technology, enhancements to civilization must also have cultural and political forms. By far the most important of these could be the neglect and final dissolution of borders and “nations”.



Defeating aging, and the avenues ahead of us: Part 3

by Eric Schulke

There is a nice, succinct “Roadmap to Immortality” (http://mariakonovalenko.files.wordpress.com

/2013/01/roadmap_immortality_eng.pdf
) that is great for visualizing the big picture of the pathways that could take us to indefinite life extension. Teachers like mine have been telling students that there is probably no way forward to defeating aging. I like to think of this roadmap as the totality of the response that rose to meet that challenge.



On Coyne, Harris, and PZ (with thanks to Dennett)

by Massimo Pigliucci

Oh dear, I pissed off the big shots among the New Atheists — again. If you are on Twitter or happen to have checked a couple of prominent NA blogs recently, you will have noticed a chorus comprised of none other than Jerry Coyne, Sam Harris, PZ Myers and, by way of only a passing snarky comment, Richard Dawkins — all focused on yours truly. I’m flattered, but what could I have possibly done to generate such a concerted reaction all of a sudden? Two things: I have published this cartoon concerning Sam Harris, just to poke a bit of (I thought harmless, good humored, even!) fun at the guy, and — more substantively — this technical, peer reviewed, paper in a philosophy journal devoted to a conceptual analysis and criticism of the NA movement, from the point of view of a scientist, philosopher, and, incidentally, atheist.



500 Words on Cryptocurrencies

by Jamais Cascio

It will likely come as little or no surprise that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin (my favorite) are frequent topics of conversation among futurist types. After all, they’re supposed to be paradigm-breaking disruptions of the status quo, or something. But I still haven’t gotten over my sense that something isn’t quite fully-baked about the current generation of digital currencies, and I’m going to spend my ~500 words here trying to spell out why.



Inside Google’s Mysterious Ethics Board

by Patrick Lin

The technology world was abuzz last week when Google announced it spent nearly half a billion dollars to acquire DeepMind, a UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) lab. With few details available, commentators speculated on the underlying motivation.



Welcome to the New Age of Revolution

by Rick Searle

Last week the prime minister of Ukraine, Mykola Azarov, resigned under pressure from a series of intense riots that had spread from Kiev to the rest of the country. Photographs from the riots in The Atlantic blew my mind, like something out of a dystopian steampunk flic. Many of the rioters were dressed in gas masks that looked as if they had been salvaged from World War I. As weapons they wielded homemade swords, molotov cocktails, and fireworks. To protect their heads some wore kitchen pots and spaghetti strainers.



Transhumanism and War

by Kamil Muzyka

Throughout the transhumanist movement there is a strong belief, that transhuman technology will eventually end all wars and poverty. On the other hand there is a very large military interest in transhuman technology, like DARPA. There is an old saying, that war stimulates progress, but like with every stimulant, one must care not to overdose.



Defeating aging, and the avenues ahead of us: Part 2

by Eric Schulke

With a clear way forward, what are we waiting for? If we get this done, then we can probably live indefinitely. Can humans be so mentally slothful and negligent that they would be able to do all kinds of things on microscopic scales and yet not be able to clear damage out of biology? Does anybody really think that most mitochondrial proteins can make it through the TIM/TOM complex, but that it’s out of the question for the rest of them?



Earth 2050 and beyond: enhanced immortal humans head for the stars

by Dick Pelletier

What can we expect from our high-tech future? Of course, no one can forecast with 100% accuracy how our lives will progress; but if we look at what experts predict might become possible over the next two-to-three decades; and then blend in some scenarios that push the envelope – an incredible time begins to take form.



Life Extension is a Political Task

by Maria Konovalenko

Sooner or later the human life extension problem, the task of achieving immortality will become the main issue of government policies in developed countries of the world. This will happen on its own because of the exponential growth of technologies. At some point of time immortality will become the main political question. This is inevitable.



Does Inequality Matter?

by David Brin

During his State of the Union Address, President Obama brought into the open, a topic we've all been mulling, lately… the worrisome rise in wealth and income disparity.  Especially in the U.S., where two generations have grown up under the blithe illusion (unprecedented in human history) that matters of class are no-big-deal. Knowing that we're about to discuss the calamitous effects of a rising plutocracy, some of you will click away.



Bioengineered monkeys with human genetic diseases have almost arrived

by George Dvorsky

Looking to create more accurate experimental models for human diseases, biologists have created transgenic monkeys with “customized” mutations. It’s considered a breakthrough in the effort to produce more human-like monkeys — but the ethics of all this are dubious at best.



Defeating aging, and the avenues ahead of us: Part 1

by Eric Schulke

“[...] the most promising ways to postpone aging are by disrupting the pathways underlying it, just as we do for specific diseases.” (de Grey, p.22) That line sums up an important element of strategies for engineering negligible senescence (SENS) in Aubrey de Grey’s book Ending Aging, published in 2007. The book outlines the straightforward sense in disrupting the pathways that cause us to age: by engineering the damage of aging out of our biology after the body has experienced the damage, but before the damage accumulates to deadly levels.



When Does Hindering Life Extension Science Become a Crime?

by Zoltan Istvan

Every human being has both a minimum and a maximum amount of life hours left to live. If you add together the possible maximum life hours of every living person on the planet, you arrive at a special number: the optimum amount of time for our species to evolve, find happiness, and become the most that it can be. Many reasonable people feel we should attempt to achieve this maximum number of life hours for humankind. After all, very few people actually wish to prematurely die or wish for their fellow humans’ premature deaths.



What Getting Thin Taught Me About Being Fat

by Valerie Tarico

Two years ago, at a small cabin in the San Juan Islands, I put a ladder on a slippery deck and stepped on it, and something happened that will surprise nobody but a woman utterly intent on fixing a rain gutter: it slipped off. I landed on one leg, fragmenting the knee joint. My husband hauled me to the beach and onto a boat and into a car, and ultimately I ended up at the best trauma center in the region, Harborview Hospital in Seattle.



How Many Methods of Mind-Uploading?

by John Danaher

I’ve written a few posts about mind-uploading, focusing mainly on its risks and philosophical problems. In each of these posts I’ve drawn distinctions between different varieties of “uploading” and suggested that some are less prone to risks and problems than others. So far, the distinctions I’ve drawn have been of my own choosing, based on what I’ve read about the topic over the years. But in his article “A Framework for Approaches to Transfer of a Mind’s Substrate”, Sim Bamford offers an alternative, slightly more sophisticated, framework for thinking about these issues. I want to share that framework in this post.



Real Identity on the Internet (My Variation)

by Kelly Hills

What is a digital trail? How can all your blog posts, photos, opinions, articles, and news affect your personal, professional and academic life? What is happening to the internet and how is affecting people in the real world? Kelly Hills tells us about her own personal story and how life online is a bit more complicated than you might expect.



Project Citizen & The Politics of Play in Madagascar

by Dustin Eirdosh

As I watched the sun set from my balcony last night, a mysteriously booming bass speaker washed the beach in a lively party atmosphere. Local teens had organized an impromptu game of football; naked Malagasy children took turns flipping off each others shoulders into the public waters comprising Toliara’s harbor; and couples in love strolled hand in hand along the rocky shoreline. All simply enjoying the glowing day’s end by sharing this beautiful moment together.



The Dark Side of a World Without Boundaries

by Rick Searle

The problem I see with Nicolelis’ view of the future of neuroscience, which I discussed last time, is not that I find it unlikely that a good deal of his optimistic predictions will someday come to pass, it is that he spends no time at all talking about the darker potential of such technology.



The Gamer’s Dilemma: Virtual Murder versus Virtual Paedophilia (Part Two)

by John Danaher

The Gamer’s Dilemma is the title of an article by Morgan Luck. We covered that article in part one. In brief, the article argues that there is something puzzling about attitudes toward virtual acts which, if they took place in the real world, would be immoral.  To be precise, there is something puzzling about attitudes toward virtual murder and virtual paedophilia.

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