Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


Sorgner @ Transhumanism: Perspektiven, Chancen, Risiken
December 5
Nürnberg, Germany


How Digital Media Finally Enables Distributed Enterprise

Ep 8: Liz Parrish, Life Extension & Reversing the Aging Process

Network Society Interview with David Orban

Don’t we all wish to be Wonder Woman or Superman?

These Robots Come to the Rescue after a Disaster

How the Mysterious Dark Net Is Going Mainstream

An Internet Without Screens Might Look Like This

Appetite, Obesity, and the Brain

The Future of Flying Robots

We Can Now Edit Our DNA. But Let’s Do it Wisely


The moral bias behind your search results

Can a Computer Simulate Consciousness?

Technology is Harming Our Relationships, and We Can Stop It

The Future of Sex

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Life Topics

A Problem of Concepts (Part 1 of 2)

by Valkyrie Ice McGill

Any attempt to guide the future must first understand the future, and to understand the future, one must first reject the “consensus view” of the future. The consensus view, shaped by decades of media visions of technological utopias, and corporate controlled dystopias, is filled with expectations that block any ability to examine future trends based on current technological realities with unrealistic concepts that demand the future conform to these pre-made “ideals”.

“Who Makes the Game?” Donald Sterling Asked the Right Question, Anyway.

by Richard Eskow

His racism got all the headlines, but there was something to be learned from Donald Sterling’s other words. So, before the spotlight turns elsewhere and Sterling crawls back into well-deserved obscurity, it’s worth considering his usefulness as a representative sample of the oligarchical class.

Your nanorobotics future: life truly becomes ‘magical’

by Dick Pelletier

"You enter the wellness center and tell the receptionist avatar that you're here for an annual restoration, and though your real age is 110, you would like to be restored to the age of a 20-something. A nurse then injects billions of genome-specific 'bots non-invasively through the skin; you're now set for another year."

Why does the world exist, and other dangerous questions for insomniacs

by Rick Searle

A few weeks back I wrote a post on how the recent discovery of gravitational lensing provided evidence for inflationary models of the Big Bang. These are cosmological models that imply some version of the multiverse, essentially the idea that ours is just one of a series of universes, a tiny bubble, or region, of a much, much larger universe where perhaps even the laws of physics or rationality of mathematics differed from one region to another.

Roadmap to Immortality: Genetic, Regenerative Medicine, and Digital

by Maria Konovalenko

Maria Konovalenko presents us with 3 beautiful images of important life extension sciences. They include topics such as evaluating drug efficacy based on aging and longevity makers, studying our genetic makeup, genomics, genetic mathematical models, growing new bodies, stem cells, hematopoiesis, stimulating nerve tissue, better brain to computer interfaces, computer models of working nervous systems, full map of the human brain, to uploading ones mind to a computer platform.

Is Transhumanism Compatible with Anarchism?

by John Danaher

Transhumanists want to liberate themselves from the limitations of the human body. Anarchists want to liberate themselves from the limitations of contemporary human social structures. You might think that these two goals are compatible: that the liberatory ethos of transhumanism could complement that of anarchism.

Don’t outsource your dating life

by Evan Selinger

(CNN)—Critics haven’t been kind to Personal Dating Assistants, a new service that allows men to up their online dating game by outsourcing tasks to paid, clandestine wingmen who pimp profiles, locate prospects and ghostwrite correspondences. GQ calls it “creepy.” CNET says customers eventually will have to admit they are big fakes. And over at Jezebel, dudes who take advantage of the deception are called “human trash.”

A dirty little secret: books are free (and so should be readers and writers)

by Giulio Prisco

I don’t know anyone who still buys music discs. The age of music downloads started about 15 years ago (remember Napster?), but today it’s much easier: if I want to hear a song, I just find it on Youtube. Film: if a film hasn’t been totally ignored, chances are that it can be found on the torrent sites. And now books: today’s dirty little secret is that most books are free to download.

Hip Hop and Transhumanism: An Interview with M.C. Kilch and Maitreya One

by B. J. Murphy

Growing up in the South gave me a certain perspective of the United States that I wish many wouldn’t have to deal with, from bigotry to ignorance, poverty to inequality. So listening to Hip Hop became my way of escaping these realities. As time progressed, however, and as society evolved, so too did Hip Hop. Now as we reach the Information Age and a nearing Transhumanist paradigm shift, I again look to Hip Hop and see what it’s saying and whether or not it’s keeping up with the times.

The Image World and the Ethics of Virtual Acts

by John Danaher

I recently looked at the work of Stephanie Partridge, who argues that we should take a moralistic attitude toward certain fictional representations. Included within that group of fictional representations are acts of virtual rape (such as might be performed in a video game like RapeLay). In this post, I want to look at a similar set of arguments from Gert Gooskens. These will be drawn from his article “The Ethical Status of Virtual Actions”.

What is Anarcho-Transhumanism?

by William Gillis

Anarcho-Transhumanism is the recognition that social liberty is inherently bound up with material liberty, and that freedom is ultimately a matter of expanding our capacity and opportunities to engage with the world around us…

Letter from Agar to Danaher on latest IEET articles: Ethics of human enhancement

by Nicholas Agar

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher has recently been critiquing IEET contributor Nicholas Agar who has written several books about the ethics of human enhancement. This entry is a response in letter form from Agar to Danaher.  Philosophical disagreements were inevitably going to happen…

The Ethics of Virtual Rape

by John Danaher

The notorious 1982 video game Custer’s Revenge requires the player to direct their crudely pixellated character (General Custer) to avoid attacks so that he can rape a Native American woman who is tied to a stake. The game, unsurprisingly, generated a great deal of controversy and criticism at the time of its release. Since then, video games with similarly problematic content, but far more realistic imagery, have been released. For example, in 2006 the Japanese company Illusion released the game RapeLay, in which the player stalks and rapes a mother and her two daughters.

Nick Bostrom ranked 15th in Prospect Magazine’s top world thinkers

Nick Bostrom has been included in Prospect Magazine’s top 15 world thinkers, an honour shared with entrepreneur Elon Musk, Pope Francis, Arundhati Roy, and Nobel Prize winners Peter Higgs and Daniel Kahneman. For a full list of the top 50 world thinkers, please see here.

Full Story...
Link to Prospect Magazine

Our Space Future: gene-modified/non-bio humans head for the stars

by Dick Pelletier

The Smith family, Randolph, 50; his wife, Alicia, 45; son Mike, 11; daughter Sandy, 15; and Bradley, the life-like family robot, arrived on Mars via Virgin Galactic faster-than-light-speed hyper-drive, making the trip from New Mexico's Spaceport America to The Ratan Colony, Clarke Field in less than 3 hours.

“Death is Wrong” Fundraiser: Another Ship Returns to Harbor after Braving the Seas

by Eric Schulke

On December 2nd of 2013, the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension began a contest for people to send in their ideas on how to spend money on outreach for the cause. The following question was asked:

If you were to receive a check in the mail with $5,000 to inform as many people as possible about the desirability and the prospects for indefinite life extension, to get them interested in the people, projects and organizations working directly or indirectly toward indefinite life extension, then how might you spend it?

Six entries were entered into a poll...

IEET Fellow Ramez Naam Nominated for the Campbell, Clarke, Prometheus, and Kitschie Awards.

Ramez Naam has 6 placements on 4 awards shortlists and one prominent best-of list for his novels, and writing stories outside the traditional norm of science fiction.

Full Story...

The Social Futurist policy toolkit

by Amon Twyman

In a recent blog post and IEET article, I laid out an extremely general critique of Capitalism’s place within our society, and the barest outline of an alternative known as Social Futurism. The essence of that article was that Capitalism does certain things very well but it cannot be paused or adjusted when its effects become problematic, that rapid technological change appears to be on the verge of making certain alternatives viable, and that unfortunately we may be forced to fight for our right to personally choose those alternatives.

The Problem with the Trolley Problem, or why I avoid utilitarians near subways

by Rick Searle

Human beings are weird. At least, that is, when comparing ourselves to our animal cousins. We’re weird in terms of our use of language, our creation and use of symbolic art and mathematics, our extensive use of tools. We’re also weird in terms of our morality, and engage in strange behaviors visa-via one another that are almost impossible to find throughout the rest of the animal world.

Bostrom at Moogfest: Super intelligence is likely

Humans have beat the odds over 400,000 years surviving climate change, super volcanoes and the worst that Mother Nature could throw at us. Technology has always helped us along the way.

But what happens when we can build machines that are smarter than us?

Full Story...
Link to

Radical Enhancement and Perpetual Childhood

by John Danaher

This is going to be the final part in my series on Nicholas Agar’s book Truly Human Enhancement. In the most recent entry, I went through the first part of the argument in chapter 4. To briefly recap, that argument contends that radical enhancement may lead to the disintegration of personal identity (in either a metaphysical or evaluative sense).

Does the ACLU (at last) understand sousveillance?

by David Brin

Reaching back a bit…I had a chance to speak with the mighty maven of tech-future Journalism, Tim O'Reilly, during my previous visit to Washington DC. The next day in Forbes, Tim cited me with the following quotation: "It is intrinsically impossible to know if someone does not have information about you. It is much easier to tell if they do something to you." His article, The Creep Factor: How to Think about Big Data and Privacy, is cogent.

Is Mike Judge’s ‘Silicon Valley’ the End of Startup Mania?

by Doug Rushkoff

I’ve always credited ‘Beavis & Butt-head’ creator Mike Judge for bringing down MTV. The simple cartoon, originally a short segment on late-night Liquid Television, consisted mostly of two teenage boys watching rock videos, making commentary about them, and then rejecting them: “this sucks, change it.” For me, the show was armchair media criticism - a lesson in deconstructing television.

Welcome to Plutocrat-geddon! Obama and Thomas Friedman flatter our new billionaire overlords

by Richard Eskow

Forget inequality! Judging by the White House and the media, the real answer is sucking up to the wealthiest. Inequality is a burning topic among economists, especially since the release of Thomas Piketty’s recent book on the subject. Many are questioning whether this is a temporary period of runaway inequality, or whether we are on the verge of an irreversible collapse into extremes of wealth and poverty. (What would we call it? The Oligopolypse? Plutogeddon?)

Back to the future in the Metaverse

by Giulio Prisco

All seems to indicate that new, fully immersive next-generation virtual worlds and user interfaces may be behind the corner. Let’s go back to the future in the Metaverse!

Does radical enhancement threaten our sense of self?

by John Danaher

If we extended our lives by 200 years, or if we succeeded in uploading our minds to an artificial substrate, would we undermine our sense of personal identity? If so, would it be wiser to avoid such radical forms of enhancement? These are the questions posed in chapter 4 of Nicholas Agar’s book Truly Human Enhancement. Over the next two posts I’ll take a look at Agar’s answers. This is all part of my ongoing series of reflections on Agar’s book.

Study Gerontology! This Frontier Provides Hope for the Future

by Eric Schulke

The Boston Globe reported that enrollment in the UMass Boston undergraduate gerontology program has fallen by two-thirds, to a mere 13 students, over the last decade. A relaunch in 2010 failed to yield more students. For that reason, UMass Boston’s decision to suspend the gerontology undergraduate program was a bow to reality. 

The human trek: from crude beginnings to an immortal future

by Dick Pelletier

Historians place the beginning of culture about 10,000 years ago, when our early ancestors abandoned hunter-gathering in favor of settling into communities, cultivating crops, and domesticating live stock.

War Is Good for Us, Dumb New Book Claims

by David Swanson

Ian Morris has stuck his dog's ear in his mouth, snapped a selfie, and proclaimed "Man Bites Dog." His new book War: What Is It Good For? Conflict and Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots is intended to prove that war is good for children and other living things.  It actually proves that defenders of war are growing desperate for arguments.

Will sex workers be replaced by robots? (A Precis)

by John Danaher

I recently published an article in the Journal of Evolution and Technology on the topic of sex work and technological unemployment (available here, here and here). It began by asking whether sex work, specifically prostitution (as opposed to other forms of labour that could be classified as “sex work”, e.g. pornstar or erotic dancer), was vulnerable to technological unemployment. It looked at contrasting responses to that question, and also included some reflections on technological unemployment and the basic income guarantee.

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