Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Life

Love and Sex with Robots
June 16-
Iskandar, Malaysia


PRODUCTIONS OF “CITIZEN CYBORG”
June 27-10
NYC, NY USA


Anderson, Pellissier @ Transhuman Superpowers and Longevity Conference
July 12
Oakland, CA


Ramez Naam on “Enhancing Humans, Advancing Humanity”
July 22
San Francisco, CA USA


Vita-More, Rothblatt, Hughes @ Juniata H+ Conference
July 26-31
Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA USA


Living Machines 2015
July 27-31
La Pedrera, Barcelona, Spain


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




MULTIMEDIA: Life Topics

Did the Evolution of the Brain… Evolve Our Morality?

The Future of Superhuman Technology

Tinkering with Consciousness

The Forgotten History of Autism

Transhumanist Fashion Research Film

Sleepless in the Future?

Do we see reality as it is?

AI, Immortality and the Future of Selves

Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio

The Bionic Man | Robotica

Synthetic Sex and “Being Yourself”

The surprisingly logical minds of babies

Singularity 1-on-1: PJ Manney on her sci-fi novel (R)Evolution

Lift Weights Stronger Starting in Your Sixties

Caitlyn Jenner Undergoes Facial Feminization Surgery




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Life Topics




The Worst Lies You’ve Been Told About the Singularity

by George Dvorsky

You've probably heard of a concept known as the Technological Singularity — a nebulous event that's supposed to happen in the not-too-distant future. Much of the uncertainty surrounding this possibility, however, has led to wild speculation, confusion, and outright denial. Here are the worst myths you've been told about the Singularity.



A Children’s Book Ponders Death

by Zoltan Istvan

Few children’s books touch on the theme of death. This is partially because our society deals with death as a dangerous and taboo topic. Many people feel they want to protect young minds from thinking about death at all. There is, however, a social movement afoot that treats the topic of death differently. Transhumanists believe that in the near future they will be able to eliminate death via the use of advanced medicine, science, and technology. Rather than fear or avoid death, they aim to fight directly against it.



#7 There Can Be No Healthy Aging

by Maria Konovalenko

The study, conducted by a team of scientists and clinicians from JCVI and WCHN, will focus on two groups of elderly individuals aged 65 to 85 years by correlating genetics with a variety of human genomic, gut microbiome and other “omics” profiles and integrating these data with the individuals’ health record. One group will consist of healthy individuals, and the other will have individuals with a variety of diagnosed health conditions.



Invasive Medical Technology – For the betterment of the human condition

by Clyde DeSouza

“Your threshold for pain is near zero”, said my dentist, as she deftly moved the extremely thin fiber optic laser head away. “That’s why I chose to fly in here. Gum filet carving doesn’t appeal to me”, I mumbled, my lips feeling leathery from the anesthetic spray. There was a mild tingling as the laser killed millions of enemies under my gum-line. I lay back in the chair and considered the alternative I was presented only the day before by an over enthusiastic periodontist - A scalpel and suture gum flap procedure for “deep cleaning.”



#8 On GMO Plants

by Brenda Cooper

A number of people who I respect have written articles and chapters in books that support GMO crops. These include leading environmentalist Mark Lynas, author of The God Species: How the planet can survive the age of humans, and Ramez Naam, author of The Infinite Resource: The power of ideas on a finite planet.



Embracing Thanatophobia

by Peter Wicks

Is there a person alive today who does not fear dying? Well yes, if they are asleep or in a coma. But most of us, while we are awake and going about our business, harbour a deep-seated fear of dying. (“Thanatophobia”, in case anyone was wondering, being Greek for “fear of death”.)



#9: 5 ways Augmented Reality will make us Transhuman

by Clyde DeSouza

Transhumanism is all about the creative and ethical use of technology to better the human condition. Futurists, when discussing topics related to transhumanism, tend to look at nano-tech, bio-mechanical augmentation and related technology that, for the most part, is beyond the comprehension of lay-people.



An Epicurean Christmas Letter To Transhumanists

by Rick Searle

Whatever little I retain from my Catholic upbringing, the short days of the winter and the Christmas season always seem to turn my thoughts to spiritual matters and the search for deeper meanings. It may be a cliche, but if you let it hit you, the winter and coming of the new year can’t help but remind you endings, and sometimes even the penultimate ending of death. After all, the whole world seems dead now,  frozen like some morgue-corpse, although this one, if past is prelude, really will rise from the dead with the coming of spring.



#10 The difference between people and machine will blur as we trek through the decades ahead

by Dick Pelletier

As we move into the late 2030s and 2040s, the most salient scenario is that we will merge with our technology gradually, not overnight. We may not experience a single great leap like a “Singularity;” instead, we could see many small steps as we slowly become more machine-like.



Libertarianism and the Basic Income (Part Three)

by John Danaher

This is the third, and final, part in my series on libertarianism and the basic income. To quickly recap, the universal basic income (UBI) is a proposal for reforming the way in which welfare is paid, moving away from a selective and conditional system of payment to a universal and unconditional one. Libertarianism is a political philosophical associated with the individual rights, the celebration of the free market, and the minimal state.



#11 The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational

by George Dvorsky

The human brain is capable of 1016 processes per second, which makes it far more powerful than any computer currently in existence. But that doesn't mean our brains don't have major limitations. The lowly calculator can do math thousands of times better than we can, and our memories are often less than useless — plus, we're subject to cognitive biases, those annoying glitches in our thinking that cause us to make questionable decisions and reach erroneous conclusions.



Libertarianism and the Basic Income (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This is the second part in my series on libertarianism and the basic income. The universal basic income (UBI) is a proposal for reforming the way in which welfare is paid. It is thought to be radical because it is paid to everyone, regardless of their work status, or other sources of income. Libertarianism, on the other hand, is a political philosophy associated with robust negative and property rights, the promotion of the free market, and a minimal state.



Dear @Twitter: I don’t want your head, but can I borrow your ear?

by Kelly Hills

As just about everyone who uses Twitter is likely aware, on Thursday the company attempted to roll out changes to the “block” feature. Instead of the previous policy, which didn’t allow blocked users to follow you or interact with your Tweets, “block” was going to function more like “mute”: blocked users would still be able to follow you and interact with (RT, MT, favourite, etc) your Tweets, you’d just never see it happening.



#12 Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems

by Valerie Tarico

At age sixteen I began what would be a four year struggle with bulimia.  When the symptoms started, I turned in desperation to adults who knew more than I did about how to stop shameful behavior—my Bible study leader and a visiting youth minister.  “If you ask anything in faith, believing,” they said.  “It will be done.” I knew they were quoting the Word of God. We prayed together, and I went home confident that God had heard my prayers.



The Fork On The Road For Homo Futura

by Steve Fuller

To think about the existential prospects that lie ahead for Humanity 2.0, or Homo futura, imagine yourself in 1900 faced with two investment opportunities for the future of personal human transport: on the one hand, a specially bred – that is, genetically modified – horse; on the other, a mass-produced automobile. Which prospect would you pursue?



Libertarianism and the Basic Income (Part One)

by John Danaher

I have recently become interested in the case for an unconditional basic income (UBI). In large part, this has been prompted by an increasing fascination with the phenomenon of technological unemployment and its future progression. Some argue that increasing levels of technological unemployment, and the associated capital-labour income inequality that comes with this, would be best solved by something like the UBI. This strikes me as a prima facie plausible argument.



A Review of The Techno-Human Shell, by Joseph Carvalko

by Nikki Olson

Joseph Carvalko, polymath, has authored a new book entitled “The Techno-Human Shell: A Jump in the Evolutionary Gap”. Carvalko is a lawyer, an engineer, a musician, and an inventor who currently holds 10 patents in the fields of electronics, biomedicine and financial services. His new book, an exploration of Transhumanist topics, focuses on implantable device technology as well as legal and ethical aspects of the transition to post-humanity.



#13 Human enhancement: does nature know best?

by George Deane

An ardent objection common to human enhancement and transhumanism is that it is both perilous and foolhardy to try to ‘play God’, or to question the wisdom of Mother Nature. As with most mental shortcuts, there is some truth in the ‘nature knows best’ argument. Cognitive enhancement, perhaps the most challenging and promising of all, is no mean feat. Naïve intervention into the mechanisms of the most complex system in the known universe could disrupt the delicately poised equilibrium struck by evolution over millions of years with unknown consequences.



But which one is ME? Letting go of our mono-being identity orientation: Poly-beings, here we come!

by Chris T. Armstrong

Audience for this essay: You can save yourself from wasting some of your finite and far too short lifespan by totally ignoring this essay if you fall into any of the following three categories…



#14 New Computer Programming Language Imitates The Human Brain

by George Dvorsky

As we pointed out earlier this week, we’re still far from being able to replicate the awesome power of the human brain. So rather than use traditional models of computing, IBM has decided to design an entirely new computer architecture — one that’s taking inspiration from nature.



Non-biological brains could become reality by the 2050s

by Dick Pelletier

As wild as this idea seems, within 40 years, neurons made from nanomaterials could enable humans to survive even the most horrendous accident, and as a bonus, acquire some remarkable new abilities.



Life Extension and Risk Aversion

by Gennady Stolyarov II

A major benefit of longer lifespans is the cultivation of a wide array of virtues. Prudence and forethought are among the salutary attributes that the lengthening of human life expectancies – hopefully to the point of eliminating any fixed upper bound – would bring about. Living longer renders people more hesitant to risk their lives, for the simple reason that they have many more years to lose than their less technologically endowed ancestors.



Analysis of STRATFOR Leaks Misrepresents Nonviolent Movements

by David Swanson

Carl Gibson and Steve Horn have done an important service in writing their article outlining Srdja Popovic’s inexcusable collaboration with the global intelligence company STRATFOR and his disclosure of the activities of movements and activists with whom he has worked.  Unfortunately, as will be spelled out below, the article falls into a rather simplistic and reductionist analysis of Popovic’s motivations and, more critically, misrepresents the nature of the popular uprisings in Serbia and other countries. The article also contains a number of factual errors and misleading statements. 



#15 Justifying Human Enhancement: The Case for Posthumanity

by Andy Miah

This paper argues on behalf of a posthuman future that is intimately tied to the use of human enhancement technology. It presents three principal justifications for enhancement, which focus on functionality, creative expression, and the ritual of re-making the self through biological modification. Collectively, these aspirations articulate the values surrounding posthuman life and the pursuit of biocultural capital.



The Ethics of Chemical Castration (Part One)

by John Danaher

Chemical castration has been legally recognised and utilised as a form of treatment for certain types of sex offender for many years. This is in the belief that it can significantly reduce recidivism rates amongst this class of offenders. Its usage varies around the world. Nine U.S. states currently allow for it, as well as several European countries. Typically, it is presented as an “option” to sex offenders who are currently serving prison sentences. The idea being that if they voluntarily submit to chemical castration they can serve a reduced sentence.



#16 ‘Big Bang’ Theory Wrong?

by Dick Pelletier

The ‘Big Bang’ theory, widely regarded as the leading explanation for the origin of the universe, goes something like this: space and time instantly appeared about 14 billion years ago in a hot, expanding fireball of nearly infinite density.



Don’t Be Evil!

by Rick Searle

However interesting a work it is, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s The New Digital Age is one of those books where if you come to it as a blank slate you’ll walk away from it with a very distorted chalk drawing of what the world actually looks like. Above all, you’ll walk away with the idea that intrusive and questionable surveillance was something those other guys did, the bad guys, not the American government, or US corporations, and certainly not Google where Schmidt sits as executive chairman.



#17 A Letter to Sergey Brin

by Maria Konovalenko

I’ve heard you are interested in the topics of aging and longevity. This is very cool, because fighting for radical life extension is the wisest and most humanitarian strategy. I would like to tell you what needs to be done, but, unfortunately, I haven’t got your email address, or any other way to be heard.



#18 Abortion As a Blessing, Grace, or Gift–A Renewed Conversation about Reproductive Rights

by Valerie Tarico

Can we reclaim the moral high ground in the debate about abortion as a part of thoughtful, wise loving and living? We won’t know until we try.Most Americans think of childbearing as a deeply personal or even sacred decision. So do most reproductive rights advocates. That is why we don’t think anybody’s boss or any institution should have a say in it. But for almost three decades, those of us who hold this view have failed to create a resonant conversation about why, sometimes, it is morally or spiritually imperative that a woman can stop a pregnancy that is underway.



5 Ways Conservatives Promote Shirking and Freeloading

by Valerie Tarico

Early in high school my daughters learned a lesson about group projects: some people don’t like to pull their weight. It wasn’t the kids who struggled to produce quality work that the girls found most frustrating. As fiery Ohio State Senator Nina Turner says, “We don’t all run the race at the same pace,” and the girls got that. It was the shirkers. I myself used to want one of those bumper stickers that say, “Mean people suck.” The girls would have wanted one that said, “Freeloaders suck.”

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