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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Life

Siegel, Pellissier, Kuszewski @ The Future of Emotional Health and Intelligence
July 26
Berkeley, California


Cascio @ Climate Engineering Conference 2014
August 18-21
Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany


Global Conference: Augmentation
September 3-5


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


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


Siegel @ Buddhist Geeks Conference
October 16-18
Boulder, Colorado


Sorgner @ 3rd World Humanities Forum
October 30-1
Daejeon City, Korea




MULTIMEDIA: Life Topics

Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble

A vote for stem cells

The Singularity Is Near Movie Trailer

Artificial Intelligence - We Had Better Start Thinking About it Now!

Primitivism, Progress, the Transhuman & the Technological Avalanche

History of a Time to Come

Cyborg Buddha

Buddhism & Transhumanism

The Future of Human Space Exploration (1hr)

A 30-year history of the future

Transhumanist, Adam Ford Talks with Primitivist, John Zerzan about Technology and Civilization

This Is My Body

Sued for Libel - Calling Out Pseudoscience in the Middle of Writing a Book on The Simpsons and Math

What Kind of Computer is the Brain?

Scientists Find ‘On/Off Switch’ For Human Consciousness




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Life Topics




Insurance strategies for the most vulnerable in Africa

by Lee-Roy Chetty

Insurance mitigates the economic effects of events like illness, death, disability, fire, theft, and natural disaster on individuals, households, or enterprises.



Is human enhancement disenchanting? (Part One)

by John Danaher

Although there are some enthusiasts, many people I talk to are deeply ambivalent about the prospects of human enhancement, particularly in its more radical forms. To be sure, this ambivalence might be rooted in human prejudice and bias toward the status quo, but I’m curious to see whether there is any deeper, more persuasive reason to share that unease.



My problems with Made in China

by Massimo Pigliucci

Lately I have been on a quest for a more mindful and ethical way of living, particularly as regards my buying habits. It is not easy, I tell you. Yes, there are — of course — apps for that,  but let’s not kid ourselves. Trying be more ethical (or at least less unethical) requires work and will likely cost you more than if you don't give a crap about the environment, workers’ conditions, or the use that corporations make of the money you send their way when you buy their products.



Past keeping faith with future… and day with night

by David Brin

Why the U.S. Civil War -relates to Sci Fi. Each night in November we watched Ken Burns's CIVIL WAR documentary with our 16 year old. A terrific work of high-class, dramatic and enriching media, very highly recommended. Still, I felt the documentary was a bit light on the underlying causes of a national trauma that is resonating within and among Americans.



The CBO Report: Six Things You Can’t Talk About in Washington

by Richard Eskow

Whom the gods would destroy, the old saying says, they first make mad. And there’s no quicker way to become completely untethered than to read economic reports, including the latest one from the Congressional Budget Office, and then watch the political debate go on as if reality didn’t even exist.



The Golem Genie and Unfriendly AI (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This is the second (and final) part in my series looking at the arguments from Muehlhauser and Helm’s (MH’s) paper “The Singularity and Machine Ethics”. As noted in part one, proponents of the Doomsday Argument hold that if a superintelligent machine (AI+) has a decisive power advantage over human beings, and if the machine has goals and values that are antithetical to the goals and values that we human beings think are morally ideal, then it spells our doom. The naive response to this argument is to claim that we can avoid this outcome by programming the AI+ to “want what we want”. One of the primary goals of MH’s paper is to dispute the credibility of this response. The goal of this series of blog posts is to clarify and comment upon the argument they develop.



Autism: Disease or the New Normal?

by Travis James Leland

The rise in reported cases of people being born with conditions on the Autism Spectrum indicate a possible evolutionary trait: a mutation that enhances the ability of the most powerful tool the human animal has – its mind. Instead of working toward a cure for ASD, we should be harnessing the collective power of these genius minds to fundamentally change our society. We need to evolve or die.



Hugh Reviews “Yes”

by Hugh Marman

I held out for a long time, longer than pretty much everyone I know. But eventually I joined Facebook. In fact, I held out for so long that, by the time I joined, a bunch of my friends were already deep into the “how the fuck do I actually DELETE my account FOREVER?!” backlash.



On guns: the facts, the reasons

by Massimo Pigliucci

I've wanted to write about the always highly contentious topic of guns for a long time (RS has covered the issue before: here and here, but I have never written about it). The aftermath of last week’s horrific events seems like a good time to do it (despite repeated calls from conservative quarters that it is “too soon” to do so, whatever that means). This essay cannot come even close to being comprehensive enough to cover all relevant aspects of the debate, and as it is often the case for my writings here, it is more a way for me to clarify my own thoughts than anything else. Still, I hope people will find these reflections useful for further (much needed) discussion.



Kant’s Utopian Daydream

by Rick Searle

I am currently reading a monster of a book. At 802 pages, Steven Pinker’s Better Angels of Our Nature, leaves even a voracious reader like myself a little winded. Pinker’s argument is that the world has become less and less violent over time, so much so that we now live in what is the most peaceful period of human history ever.



From Religion to the Quantified Self, 5 things you may have missed!

by Five Things You May Have Missed

1: Q&A: Lean on me by Dale McGowan
2: CREATe: a trade fiction author’s perspective by Charlie Stross
3: Quantified-self Experimentation Platforms by Melanie Swan
4: As Public Makes “Hard Choices” On Social Security, Alan Simpson Ducks His “Moment of Truth” by Richard Eskow
5: Second child syndrome by Carol Lloyd



Kardashev Civilizations: Star Trek-like world in our future

by Dick Pelletier

Imagine if you could enjoy an exotic vacation billions of light years from Earth; or travel back in time to observe the dinosaurs in their violent world; or hop into a parallel universe where another you is living a better life than you; and you could swap places if you like.



Cyborg Possibilities – The Torso and Skin (Part 2)

by John Niman

Returning to our Deus Ex graphic, the next three categories are the torso, back, and skin. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll lump the torso and back together. The skin, however, deserves its own category.



Science Fiction and Our Duty to the Past

by David Brin

Does science fiction owe a “duty” to the past? I’ve long pondered: might the field better have been named Speculative History?  First: SF authors read more history than science (only a few of us know very much about the latter).  Second, almost everything we do is about extending, or extrapolating, or pondering alterations in the grand, sweeping epic of humanity.  Even when zooming down to the private angst of one narrow life, we in this genre remain keenly aware of the context - our shared drama and the poignancy of change.  I’ll talk some more about this below… and in my next posting…



Mobile technology – creating an enabling environment in Africa

by Lee-Roy Chetty

With an increasing use of retail agents and communications technology, bank-led and nonbank-led models are found to be converging not in branchless banking but a banking beyond- branch (BBB) arrangement.



The Flynn Effect: are we getting smarter?

by David Brin

I enjoy a habit of contrarian-poking at overused assumptions. Especially the hoary nostrum that humanity is not improving. Elsewhere I take on one aspect of this cynical calumny, where folks sadly shake their heads over how "our ethics haven't kept pace with technology." What malarkey. What stunning ability to ignore all we have done in the last 60 years.



Hidden factors in the rush to immigration reform

by David Brin

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I favor immigration reform, under the general outlines that have been proposed both by President Obama and the recent bipartisan committee in the US Senate.  After a shellacking at the polls, Republicans now seem ready to join in resolving an array of issues.  Still, I'm less interested in discussing this consensus than factors that the public may not know about.



7 Best-Case Scenarios for the Future of Humanity

by George Dvorsky

Most science fictional and futurist visions of the future tend towards the negative — and for good reason. Our environment is a mess, we have a nasty tendency to misuse technologies, and we’re becoming increasingly capable of destroying ourselves. But civilizational demise is by no means guaranteed. Should we find a way to manage the risks and avoid dystopic outcomes, our far future looks astonishingly bright. Here are seven best-case scenarios for the future of humanity.



Cyborg Possibilities – The Head (Part One)

by John Niman

It has been a while since I last talked about prosthetic devices. For reference, see here, here, and here. This is part one in a several part series, but I intend to put out the whole series over the next week. What are the hottest new things to come out in the last year or so? Let’s start from the top, make our way down, and pretend this is Deus Ex.



The Difference Between Citizen and DIY Science

by Kelly Hills

As some folks know, I’m leading a discussion this afternoon on citizen/DIY science and research ethics, with my co-moderator, Dr. Judy Stone. One of the things that Judy and I have been talking about lately is whether or not there’s really a concern with ethical research in citizen science, or if the concern is with DIY science, a related yet independent concept.



Witch Killing and Africans

by Leo Igwe

There is a growing incident of lynching and murder of suspected witches in different parts of Africa. This wave of witch hunting targets elderly people particularly women. In Nigeria, a court has rejected the bail application of three persons accused of killing a 70-year old woman, Mrs Rebecca Adewumi, for witchcraft.



Life is already eternal, sort of…

by Rick Searle

What often strikes me when I put the claims of some traditionally religious people regarding “eternal life” and the stated goals of the much more recent, I suppose you could label it with the oxymoronic phrase “materialist spirituality”, next to one another is just how much of the language and fundamental assumptions regarding human immortality these very different philosophies share.



Why getting physically stronger will help you live longer

by George Dvorsky

Fitness trends come and go, but weight training in particular never seems to come into style. Part of the problem is that most people associate it with bodybuilding culture, and women in particular are reluctant to join the guys at the back of the gym.



Lance Armstrong should be celebrated as a pioneer in human enhancement

by Andy Miah

Although Lance Armstrong has broken the rules, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge him. In many ways he’s a pioneer in human enhancement, and history books may forgive him, argues Professor Andy Miah, Director of the Creative Futures Institute at the University of the West of Scotland.



Mind-Boggling Future

by Dick Pelletier

Five possibilities in what promises to be a mind-boggling future!





The Resilient Brain (great example of Positive Biology)

by Colin Farrelly

In general, I’m not a betting man. Intellectual humility cautions against sticking one’s neck out too far into terrain that is too complex to understand, let alone reasonably predict with any confidence.



The Personhood of the Technologically/Differently Sentient

by Jønathan Lyons

Around the world, a handful of projects are in the process, specifically, of attempting to duplicate, simulate, or in some way technologically reproduce the human brain. And we, as a species, do not appear to be even remotely prepared for the implications that success from those projects could bring.



Doubling Down on the Posthuman

by Uppinder Mehan

In December of 2011 a podcast produced by Radiolab discussed a legal issue involving Marvel characters, including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man (although the episode focuses on the X-Men). The "attorneys for a company that imported Marvel character action figures noticed that imported dolls were subject to a higher tax than toys, per the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. More importantly, dolls were distinguished from toys by “representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof.”



‘Big Brother’ watching: creating a safer world; or goodbye privacy

by Dick Pelletier

In gambling casinos, cameras spot a card counter, thief, or blacklisted player, and a database instantly confirms identification. The suspect is quickly escorted from the facility, or arrested. Intelligent cameras that can observe people and react to events are advancing exponentially. At a White House briefing, counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said, thanks to the U.S. military's latest facial recognition technology, he was "99 percent" certain that the commando team had killed bin Laden.



Forget 1984 and Conspiracy Stories, This is the Real Thing

by Federico Pistono

Imagine a world where a network of 147 'super-connected' companies control forty percent or more of the global financial network. Imagine a world where as much as 80% of the countries systematically censor and restrict communications and access to information.


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