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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Life

Global Conference: Augmentation
September 3-5


Cascio @ TEDx in Marin
September 18
Marin


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


Sorgner on “three types of posthuman perfection”
September 30
Erlangen, Germany


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


Brin @ TERADYNE Corp. biannual internal technical conference.
October 7
San Diego


Brin on the future of technological change.
October 10
NY, NY USA




MULTIMEDIA: Life Topics

Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble

Skepticism, the Singularity, Future Technology & Favorite Frauds

Can Brain Implants Make Us Smarter?

Science and Human Nature (1 hr)

Animals and Ethics

On Parfit’s view that we are not Human Beings (50 min)

Under the ice: Looking for Life

Singularity 1 on 1: Science is an epistemology in the house of philosophy

Achieving Personal Immortality Roadmap

Buildings That Can Heal the Environment

Singularity 1 on 1: The Curiosity Cycle

Humans Need Not Apply (Mechanical Minds Will do Your Job)

Bits. Bits Everywhere! With MIT Media Lab’s

What’ll be the Impacts of Self Driving Cars?

Philosophy of Science - Intro and the Demarcation Problem - Science & Pseudoscience




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Life Topics




Sex in Samoa – Margaret Mead not so wrong after all?

by Russell Blackford

In her famous 1928 book, Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead notoriously wrote about an island paradise in the Pacific with much more carefree attitudes to pre-marital sex than existed in Western countries at the time, and she was apparently motivated, at least to an extent, by something of an ideology of free love. She believed that a relaxation of sexual restrictions in her own society would have utilitarian benefits, that the restrictions did more harm than good.



Is cultural evolution a Darwinian process?

by Massimo Pigliucci

The “Darwinian” theory of evolution is here to stay. I used the scare quotes to refer to it in the previous sentence because the current incarnation, known as the Modern Synthesis (and incorrectly referred to as “neo-Darwinism,” which actually was an even earlier version) is significantly more sophisticated and encompassing than the original insight by Darwin. Indeed, my opinion — which is certainly not universally shared — is that evolutionary biology is currently undergoing another gradual but significant change, referred to as the Extended Synthesis, that will expand its domain of application and explanatory tools even further.



Few IEETers Quantify the Self

Although the quantified self movement has been getting a lot of attention within technoprogressive and transhumanist communities, appealing to the self-engineering mindset, not many IEET community members have started quantifying themselves. Two thirds either measure nothing about themselves, or only watch their weight. Only one in eight are using mobile health devices or apps to record facts about their bodies or minds.

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Immortal Jellyfish and the Collapse of Civilization

by Rick Searle

The one rule that seems to hold for everything in our Universe is that all that exists, after a time, must pass away, which for life forms means they will die. From there, however, the bets are off and the definition of the word “time” in the phrase “after a time” comes into play. The Universe itself may exist for as long as 100s of trillions of years to at last disappear into the formless quantum field from whence it came. Galaxies, or more specifically, clusters of galaxies and super-galaxies, may survive for perhaps trillions of years to eventually be pulled in and destroyed by the black holes at their centers.



The War on Drugs: What’s the Point?

by piero scaruffi

The moment one argues in favor of liberalizing drugs people accuse him of being a drug addict: i have not drugs, do not do drugs and do not intend to do drugs. I care for my brain. Just like i do not smoke because i care for my lungs and i do not eat junk food because i care for my heart.



You Should Watch This SCOTUS Case, Just in Case Your Skin Sloughs Off

by Kelly Hills

We’ve all been in the situation where we do something – crash a bike, step wrong on thawing ground, trip over a damnedbeloved pet – that leaves us with a painful injury that doesn’t go away. And when that happens, we go to the doctor to verify we’re not badly injured, and possibly pick up some anti-inflammatories. For most of us, when this happens, our skin won’t slough off, we won’t end up in a burn unit for treatment, and we won’t be in a medically induced coma for months.



Nagel on the Burden of Enhancement (Part One)

by John Danaher

A couple of weeks back, I looked at David Owens’s article “Disenchantment”. In this article, Owens argues that the ability to manipulate and control all aspects of human life — which is, arguably, what is promised to us by enhancement technologies — would lead to disenchantment. Those of you who read my analysis of Owens’s article will know that I wasn’t too impressed by his arguments. Since then I’ve been wondering whether there might be a better critique of enhancement, one which touches upon similar themes, but which is defended by more rigorous arguments.



How will religious institutions cope with technological immortality?

by Jønathan Lyons

“What the mind doesn’t understand, it worships or fears.” – Alice Walker Walker’s words ring profoundly true for me, at the moment. In my sci-fi course (which is actually all about science fiction becoming real-world, bleeding-edge science; personhood; and the technological Singularity; but sci-fi is better shorthand) we’ve just covered a number of approaches to concepts such as mind uploading and immortality.



Who’s responsible for the obesity epidemic?

by Massimo Pigliucci

There is no question that we are in the midst of an obesity-related health crisis. The numbers are staggering and keep getting worse every year. The current situation in the United States is hard to believe: one third of adults are clinically obese, and so is one fifth of all children; a whopping 24 million Americans are affected by type II diabetes, usually the result of a poor diet.



A Critique on the Politics of Transhumanism

by Wesley Strong

Transhumanism may be considered a recent philosophical development, but its roots go much deeper. Modern transhumanism focuses largely on technological developments, scientific research, and biological means to improve, extend and perpetuate life. Transhumanism is centered around “transcending humanity”, what it means to be human, and the biological barriers presented by human bodies that deteriorate by nature.



Questions I’m often asked. Part II: About Science Fiction!

by David Brin

Continuing a compilation of questions that I’m frequently asked by interviewers. This time, we’ll talk about…



A New History of Prehistory - Part 1 & 2

by piero scaruffi

The Missing Mutation: Are We Really Smarter than our Ancestors? Several innovations that happened in the Neolithic seem to provide no advantage and sometimes create problems instead of solving them. About 10,000 years ago the burial ritual lasted a lifetime and the living were supposed to give offerings to the dead that were not valuable. At some point the burial ritual became much simpler but the living were supposed to give offerings to the dead that were valuable (e.g., food at times of starvation). Neither attitude makes a lot of sense from a materialistic viewpoint: what is the adaptive advantage of wasting goods and food for dead people? At the same time the cult of the dead moved from underground to aboveground (temples, pyramids), again an incredible waste of resources.



Theism and the Meaning of Life (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This post is the second part in a short series about the meaning of life. The series is working primarily off Gianluca di Muzio’s article “Theism and the Meaning of Life”, which appeared in the journal Ars Disputandi back in 2006. However, I’m trying to develop some formal reconstructions of Di Muzio’s arguments so as to improve my understanding of the arguments in this debate. My central contention, which is worth keeping in mind while reading this post, is that the debate is concerned with finding the necessary and sufficient conditions for a life that is worth living (i.e. meaningful = worthwhile).



Death and Humanist Funerals in Nigeria

by Leo Igwe

On February 9, 2013, the former Chair of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, Eze Ebisike died after a brief illness. On March 2, he was buried in his hometown Okpokume, Mpam, Ekwerazu Ahiazu Mbiase in Imo State. Ebisike was an ex-catholic priest and an atheist. He was buried after a short humanist funeral ceremony in the compound.



New Contraceptives for Cascadia: The lesson of St. Louis

by Valerie Tarico

Last fall, researchers in Missouri caught the attention of public health experts and advocates across North America. Some 9,000 St. Louis women had been offered their choice of contraceptives for free in a study that has since been called an “Obamacare simulation.” Two years later, the teen pregnancy rate was at 6 per 1,000 instead of the US average of 34. The abortion rate was less than half the rate of other St. Louis women.



Common Misconceptions about Transhumanism

by Gennady Stolyarov II

Transhumanism is often misunderstood and maligned by who are ignorant of it – or those who were exposed solely to detractors such as John Gray, Leon Kass, and Taleb himself. This essay will serve to correct these misconceptions in a concise fashion. Those who still wish to criticize transhumanism should at least understand what they are criticizing and present arguments against the real ideas, rather than straw men constructed by the opponents of radical technological progress.



Transhumanism and Money

by Zeev Kirsh

Money is at the very center of how human beings communicate with one another in complex societies and yet it is almost completely ignored in all private k-12 education in the united states and most nations. Money isn’t economics, Money is human behaviour, it is group and individual psychology.Particularly now, as the world body of nations and central banks escalate currency wars(and trade wars), more people are turning their attention to money.



Technological unemployment: panacea or poison?

by George Deane

“We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.” Buckminster Fuller



Stem cells and bioprinters take aim at heart disease, cancer, aging

by Dick Pelletier

Science and technology have utterly transformed humanity during my lifetime. Where forecasts of the future used to be measured in decades, today, new medical discoveries are announced almost weekly. This article focuses on cutting-edge research that promises a healthier and longer lifespan for all of us.



The Naked Future: the Suicide Girls talk Feminism, Erotica, and What Comes Next

by Kris Notaro

Suicide Girls and the IEET Team up to Tackle Feminism, Erotica, Science, and the Future of Technology: An Interview with Voodou Suicide. We discuss everything from sex robots to the future of nanotechnology. It was a pleasure interviewing her, and I think you will enjoy the questions and answers and learn something at the same time!




Finding Our Way in the Great God Debate, Part 2

by Rick Searle

In what follows I want to take a look at the opportunities for new kinds of religious thinking this gap between religion and science offers, but most especially for new avenues of secular thought that might manage, unlike the current crop of New Atheists to hold fast to science while not discarding the important types of thinking and approaches to the human condition that have been hard won by religious traditions since the earliest days of humanity.



‘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.



If the Dalai Lama were Pope

by Valerie Tarico

Despite Vatican efforts to keep the public eye focused on pomp and circumstance, speculation about the real reason for Pope Benedict’s resignation dominates conversation about the papal succession: Is it the Vatileaks money laundering? Is it the pedophilia scandal? Might it have something to do with criminal charges filed in European courts? How about the impact of all three on Catholic Church coffers and pews? Is this about immunity or power or finances or brand management?



“Primer” Technologies For Enhancing 21st Century Citizenship

by David Brin

What new technologies could make the most difference?



Africa’s progress on governance

by Lee-Roy Chetty

The importance of good governance to sustainable development and poverty reduction is well recognized.



The Singularity: A Documentary by Doug Wolens

by Nikki Olson

“I guide you, I really help you along to get on board with the argument. But you don’t have to take that hook and believe it. It’s important to me that we think about these things, because ultimately every person in the world should come to terms with some of these notions and come up with their own ideas.” – Doug Wolens, on The Singularity



1930s Post-Scarcity Dreams: Remembering the Technocracy Movement

by Benjamin Abbott

For a brief moment in the 1933, a radical solution to the Great Depression seized public attention across the United States. Claiming the mantle of scientific authority and well-equipped with facts and figures, Technocracy condemned the economic status quo – the price system – as hopelessly antiquated in an age of abundant energy. Technocrats argued the era of meaningful scarcity had ended.



Same-sex marriage case approaches US Supreme Court hearing

by Russell Blackford

In an important test of the legal and cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage, the current ban on equal mariage recognition in California is now approaching a hearing in the US Supreme Court.



If Government “Acted Like a Business” It Would Reject Today’s Deficit Madness

by Richard Eskow

The pro-corporate, anti-majority political class is sustaining itself with a lot of self-serving myths these days. Guess you need to do that when you’re dismantling the social contract. In the closed society that is Insider Washington, rites and mythologies are used to promote the otherwise-indefensible: the cruel irrationality of Austerity Economics.



Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA)

by Jonathan Lin

The loss of thousands of US jobs. $300 billion in trade secrets stolen from the United States last year. Doing nothing to combat other countries using this data to compete against America. “That’s just wrong,” Democratic Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger announced during a panel session at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) less than two weeks ago.

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