Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Life

Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work Conference
December 5-6
Rice University, Houston, Texas




MULTIMEDIA: Life Topics

What’s so sexy about math?

This tiny particle could roam your body to find tumors

This is your brain on communication

Algocracy and Transhumanism Podcast: Deborah Lupton on the Quantified Self

Algocracy and Transhuamnism Podcast: Hannah Maslen on the Ethics of Neurointerventions

How better tech could protect us from distraction

The birth of virtual reality as an art form

This scientist makes ears out of apples

Color and Sound Perception Explained

Zoos Enrich Our Lives but Cost Animals Their Dignity

The Psychology of Solitude: Being Alone Can Maximize Productivity

How college loans exploit students for profit

A smarter, more precise way to think about public health

Combatting Political Corruption Combats Climate Change

Work/Life Balance Is a Non-Issue If You Find Your Purpose




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Life Topics




Blockchain Health - Remunerative Health Data Commons & HealthCoin RFPs

by Melanie Swan

The bigger concept behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is blockchain technology. The blockchain (a chain of transaction blocks) is a public transaction ledger, automatically downloaded and stored digitally in electronic wallet applications; a digital record of all transactions in a certain asset class like bitcoin. 



Indefinite Life Extension: The Pay is $Infinity

by Eric Schulke

World awareness of indefinite-life-extension research increases the percentage of people who will then want to contribute to its success. When we inform the mainstream of most of the industrialized world and beyond, about the people, projects, and organizations working directly and indirectly toward indefinite life extension, then a percentage of that world – which is a lot of people at even a fraction of 1% – will be helping to execute the projects that need to be completed to see if we can make this happen.



Interactively visualizing major health risks

by Andrew Maynard

Visualizing risk, NHS style It maybe because I hang out too much in the US these days, but I’ve only just come across this rather excellent  Atlas of Risk from the UK National Health Service…



Transhumanism and The Journal of Evolution and Technology

by Russell Blackford

I’ve had the honor of serving as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Evolution and Technology (henceforth “JET”) since January 2008 – so it’s now approaching seven years! Where did the time go? Having been invited by Kris Notaro to write something about an aspect of transhumanism as it involves me professionally, I’m taking the opportunity to reflect briefly on JET and its mission. We have a great story to tell, and perhaps we should tell it more often.



The Obvious Relationship Between Climate and Family Planning—and Why We Don’t Talk About

by Valerie Tarico

Several years ago, Bill Gates keynoted a breakfast for Seattle-based Climate Solutions, a nonprofit focused on advancing the clean energy economy and driving practical, profitable solutions to climate change. Gates opened his speech with an equation. To paraphrase: Our carbon problem = persons x services x the energy intensity of services x the carbon intensity of energy. The number of people is growing, Gates observed, and we all want more services.



Dawkins and the “We are going to die” -Argument

by John Danaher

Consider the following passage from Richard Dawkins’s book Unweaving the Rainbow“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people…”



Will we uplift other species to sapience?

by David Brin

This time, let’s veer into an area wherein I actually know a thing or two!  The matter of whether humanity might someday… or even should… meddle in other creatures on this planet and bestow upon them the debatable “gift” of full sapience—the ability to argue, ponder, store information, appraise, discuss, create, express and manipulate tools, so that they might join us in the problematic task of being worthy planetary managers.



Can Technology Help Save Africa?

by R. Dennis Hansen

Ray Kurzweil recently made the observation that:  “A kid in Africa has access to more information than the President of the United States did 15 years ago.”[1]  Since I try to spend at least one month a year in Africa (mostly in Uganda), this quote got me thinking.



Review: When Google Met WikiLeaks (2014) by Julian Assange

by Harry J. Bentham

Julian Assange’s 2014 book When Google Met WikiLeaks consists of essays authored by Assange and, more significantly, the transcript of a discussion between Assange and Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen.



How to avoid drowning in the Library of Babel

by Rick Searle

Between us and the future stands an almost impregnable wall that cannot be scaled. We cannot see over it,or under it, or through it, no matter how hard we try. Sometimes the best way to see the future is by using the same tools we use in understanding the present which is also, at least partly, hidden from direct view by the dilemma inherent in our use of language.



Longevity Gene Therapy Is the Best Way to Defeat Aging

by Maria Konovalenko

Gene engineering is the most powerful existing tool for life extension. Mutations in certain genes result in up to 10-fold increase in nematode lifespan and in up to 2-fold increase in a mouse life expectancy. Gene therapy represents a unique tool to transfer achievements of gene engineering into medicine. This approach has already been proven successful for treatment of numerous diseases, in particular those of genetic and multigenic nature. More than 2000 clinical trials have been launched to date.



100 Zephyrs: Why The Left Must Challenge Corporate Democrats

by Richard Eskow

Writing on our blog and in Real Clear Politics, my Campaign for America’s Future colleague Bill Scher dismisses Zephyr Teachout’s call for progressive primary challenges against conservative Democrats. Scher argues the left should focus instead on “gaining influence without launching a civil war,” arguing that “unlike the dynamic in the Republican Party, disagreements within the Democratic family are not debilitating.”



Mitochondria and its role in aging

by Maria Konovalenko

Today was an amazing lecture by Dr. David Lee about mitochondria and its role in aging. Dr. Lee started with an overview of what mitochondria is and what it does. You may have heard that the origin of mitochondria is bacteria that was engulfed by the cell early in the course of evolution.



Biblical “Spare the Rod” Parenting Tied to PTSD and Chilling Revenge

by Valerie Tarico

When is it acceptable for a muscular man who weighs 100 kilos and stands 1.85 meters tall to grab a stick and repeatedly hit a skinny, scared person half his size?



“Think Locally, Act Globally”: 6 Takeaways From The Scotland Vote

by Richard Eskow

Scotland’s independence vote has been cast, and its citizens chose overwhelmingly to remain part of Great Britain. But this historic vote should be studied by all those who want to affect political and economic change around the world, because there are important lessons to be learned.



Peering into the Future: AI and Robot brains

by David Brin

In Singularity or Transhumanism: What Word Should We Use to Discuss the Future? on Slate, Zoltan Istvan writes: "The singularity people (many at Singularity University) don't like the term transhumanism. Transhumanists don't like posthumanism. Posthumanists don’t like cyborgism. And cyborgism advocates don't like the life extension tag. If you arrange the groups in any order, the same enmity occurs." 



Can blogging be academically valuable? 7 reasons for thinking it might be

by John Danaher

I have been blogging for nearly five years (hard to believe). In that time, I’ve written over 650 posts on a wide variety of topics: religion, metaethics, applied ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of law, technology, epistemology, philosophy of science and so on.



Enhancing Virtues: Intelligence (Part 4): Brain Machines

by J. Hughes

The limitations of cognitive enhancement drugs will soon be complemented and surpassed by brain machine interfaces. The most consumer accessible brain machine devices that provide some intellectual enhancement are neurofeedback and transcranial direct current stimulation.  Genetic and tissue engineering may provide avenues for at least the repair of cognitive deficits, and perhaps enhancement. Progress in actual nano-neural brain-machine interfaces, which will require advances in miniaturization, materials and nanotechnology, will enable more profound enhancement.



Enhancing Virtues: Intelligence (Part 3): Pharmaceutical Cognitive Enhancement

by J. Hughes

There are limits to our ability to enhance intelligence, and the intellectual virtues, through social reform and lifestyle changes. For thousands of years we have used stimulants like caffeine, coca, qat and nicotine to boost attention. Now we have increasingly targeted drugs that improve attention, memory and learning, with fewer side effects.



Chalmers vs Pigliucci on the Philosophy of Mind-Uploading (2): Pigliucci’s Pessimism

by John Danaher

This is the second and final part of my series about a recent exchange between David Chalmers and Massimo Pigliucci. The exchange took place in the pages of Intelligence Unbound, an edited collection of essays about mind-uploading and artificial intelligence. It concerned the philosophical plausibility of mind-uploading.



Review of Ilia Stambler’s “A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century”

by Gennady Stolyarov II

A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century by Ilia Stambler is the most thorough treatment to date of the ideas of famous thinkers and scientists who attempted to prolong human lifespans. In this detailed and impressively documented work – spanning 540 pages – Dr. Stambler explores the works of life-extensionist thinkers and practitioners from a vast variety of ideological, national, and methodological backgrounds.



10 Horrifying Technologies That Should Never Be Allowed To Exist

by George Dvorsky

As we head deeper into the 21st century, we’re starting to catch a glimpse of the fantastic technological possibilities that await. But we’re also starting to get a grim sense of the potential horrors. Here are 10 frightening technologies that should never, ever, come into existence.



Proximity Marketing: Opportunity for Rich-Attribute Conveyance

by Melanie Swan

Real-time Location-based Services (RT-LBS or just RT-LS) is an important new concept in mobile marketing. These offerings are starting to tout the ability to deliver information and services based on the real-time location of a person. Some key examples are receiving a mobile phone-based notification of a restaurant offer while walking in a downtown area or a product coupon while shopping in a specific grocery aisle.



IEET Fellow Evan Selinger, referenced in New York Times

The NY Times picked up on IEET Fellow Evan Selinger’s concerns over the cognitive and characterological downside to using predictive consumer technology, including the new form of texting available on Apple’s iOS8.

Full Story...
Link to New York Times



Transhumanism - Considering Ideas From Existentialism and Religion

by Alex Nichols

“Immortality formulas” are often our biggest motivators in our life endeavors. There are similar concepts that philosophers, theologians, and transhumanists have pushed forward. All of which support different means of enhancing ourselves as a way of life. The core of transhumanist values seem to view death as a disease to be overcome, and that science will produce the means to conquer it.



Are hierarchical theories of freedom and responsibility plausible?

by John Danaher

In order to be responsible for your actions, you must be free. Or so it is commonly believed. But what exactly does it mean to be free? One popular view holds that freedom consists in the ability to do otherwise. That is to say: the ability to choose among alternative possible futures. This popular view runs into a host of problems. The obvious one being that it is inconsistent with causal determinism.



Living, intelligent patterns in Conway’s Life

by Giulio Prisco

Conway’s Game of Life, a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970, is a rich mental laboratory to think about our own universe.



Hollywood Must Turn Its Head to Personalized Longevity Science instead of Anti-Aging Pseudoremedies

by Maria Konovalenko

This attention-worthy article in The Hollywood Reporter signals that Hollywood people are ready and willing to do something about their longevity. The article mentions hormone replacement therapy, different check-ups and other things available in California, however completely misses 99% of what actually can be done about aging – science.



MMR Vaccines and Autism: Bringing clarity to the CDC Whistleblower Story

by Andrew Maynard

Anyone following the Twitter #vaccinesNOVA hashtag on the evening of Wednesday September 10 would have seen their stream seemingly overwhelmed by the #CDCWhistleblower hashtag.



Biology and Biology of Aging Resources (6 videos)

by Maria Konovalenko

We have prepared a list of resources that can help understand biology of aging. We tried to find easy to grasp information sources and compiled a list of lectures, audio courses, popular science books and articles on biology in general and biology of aging in particular. The selected resources probably don’t exhaust the whole picture of aging science, but they shed light on the main ideas and research directions in this area.

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