Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: SciencePolicy



MULTIMEDIA: SciencePolicy Topics

Will AI make us immortal?

This Country Is Leading The Robot Revolution

Like It Or Not, Obamacare Affects Everyone

‘Hey Bill Nye, What Technology Can We Expect to Have 50 Years From Now?’

Einstein’s Persistence, Not Genius, Is the Reason We Know His Name

The ethical dilemma of designer babies

A young scientist’s quest for clean water

Bernie Has Some Questions For Trump’s Education Pick…

Digital Culture: Learn the Language before You Dismiss It

Could your car be your best friend?

The next step in nanotechnology

The world doesn’t need more nuclear weapons

If Scientific Discoveries Are Dangerous, Should They Be Censored?

Dr. James Hughes On Moral Enhancement Through Neurotech & Uploading The Mind To Computers

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Is Incomplete — There’s a Final, Forgotten Stage




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SciencePolicy Topics




Symbols and Consequences in the Sex Robot Debate (TEDxWHU)

by John Danaher

[Note: This is (roughly) the text of a talk I delivered at TEDxWHU on the 4th February 2017. A video of the talk should be available within a few weeks.]

There is a cave about 350km from here, in the Swabian Jura. It is called the Hohle Fels (this picture is the entrance to it). Archaeologists have been excavating it since the late 1800s and have discovered a number of important artifacts from the Upper Paleolithic era. In June 2005, they announced an interesting discovery.



La lente évaporation du travail

by Cyril Gazengel

Entre fantasme et réalité

Depuis le début de l’ère industrielle, l’idée du remplacement de l’homme par la machine dans le milieu du travail a fait du chemin, au point de paraître crédible aujourd’hui. En effet, les percées en intelligence artificielle lèvent une inquiétude : et si l’humain devenait obsolète.



Algorithmic Freedom as Non-Domination

by John Danaher

Freedom is important. Modern liberal societies are built around it. Citizens fight for their fundamental freedoms — rights to speech, thought, religious expression, education, work and so on — and governments are evaluated relative to their success in securing these freedoms. But liberal freedom is a highly contested concept.



Utopia Now!

by Rick Searle

Given all the chaos and pessimism lately and in light of the fact that with the inauguration of Trump we will be walking into very dangerous times, it’s perhaps a good moment for a little bit of hope, though the progressive rallies over the last few days certainly make me feel hopeful.



Clumsy Fingers Could Pose a Greater Risk to Civilization than Malicious Agents

by Phil Torres

When people worry about the dark side of emerging technologies, most think of terrorists or lone psychopaths with a death wish for humanity. Some future Ted Kaczynski might acquire a masters degree in microbiology, purchase some laboratory equipment intended for biohackers, and synthesize a pathogen that spreads quickly, is incurable, and kills 90 percent of those it infects.



The Reality Principle

by Marc Roux

Amongst the criticisms often directed at transhumanist ideas, one of the most common is the prediction that access to the technologies on which it depends will mostly be limited to a small affluent minority. This veritable “apartheid by technology” would create a divide into the commonality of the human race, and produce two or more human classes moving at different speeds, which would be the source of inequality and new forms of exploitation.



Prothèses et augmentations corporelles

by Alexandre Maurer

Dans quelle mesure les prothèses peuvent-elles nous augmenter ?

Cet article fait partie d’un projet de livre sur le transhumanisme. Pour en savoir plus, cliquez ici.

Published on 27 November 2016 on Technoprog



Making Makers

by David Orban

Inspiring and catalyzing creativity worldwide, Mark Hatch has been instrumental in jumpstarting the Maker Movement. He has now joined Network Society Ventures as a General Partner, leveraging his knowledge, skills, and passion to invest together with us in a new generation of startups.



Algocracy as Hypernudging: A New Way to Understand the Threat of Algocracy

by John Danaher

It is a noticeable feature of intellectual life that many people research the same topics, but do so using different conceptual and disciplinary baggage, and consequently fail to appreciate how the conclusions they reach echo or complement the conclusions reached by others.



Une vie plus longue

by Alexandre Maurer

Vivre beaucoup plus longtemps en bonne santé : est-il raisonnable d’y croire ? Et pour quoi faire ?

Published on 16 November 2016 on Technoprog



Yolk: Paper-Thin Solar Panels Are Here #CES2017

by B. J. Murphy

The age of solar energy is upon us. Last year alone, we witnessed solar energy prices drop lower than that of coal. As we move along into 2017, how might this ever-expanding industry continue moving along its own current of change.



Cognitive Easing: Human Identity Crisis in a World of Technology

by Melanie Swan

Cognitive Easing is the aim of much of our endeavor, whether explicit or implicit. We have never wavered from trying to create a life of ease, enjoyment, and fulfillment. The definition of Cognitive Easing is spending less mental effort to achieve a result.



DARPA hands off LUKE Arm to Military Medical Center

by B. J. Murphy

It’s that time of the month where we all come together and exchange gifts. Keeping this in mind, DARPA showed some holiday spirit when it provided Walter Reed National Military Medical Center the greatest gift the 21st century can offer: LUKE – the most revolutionary bionic arm available to date!



Le progrès doit-il se conformer au droit ?

by Hadrian Pourbahman

Avis d’un juriste sur la question.

Hadrien Pourbahman est étudiant en droit et membre de l’Association Française Transhumaniste. En début d’année, il avait effectué un stage avec Didier Coeurnelle sur le thème « Vers une reconnaissance d’un droit à la longévité », dont vous pouvez lire le résumé ici.



Tomorrow’s Problem of Good and Evil: The Challenges of Trans- and Post- Humanism

by Steve Fuller

A conception of evil that carries over from the Abrahamic religions into secular modernity is that of the ‘disorganization of the soul’. The idea here is that evil isn’t something separate from good but something that arises from the malformation or malfunctioning of good parts. Thus, Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost is God’s best angel gone rogue, the template for the villains faced by comic book superheroes. Many if not most mental illnesses, from neurosis to autism, are defined as some sort of ‘disorder’. In a similar but grander vein, cybernetics founder Norbert Wiener regarded entropy – the ultimate expression of disorganization in physics – as the material equivalent of evil, the source of all suffering, decay and death.



It May Not Feel Like Anything To Be an Alien

by Susan Schneider

Humans are probably not the greatest intelligences in the universe. Earth is a relatively young planet and the oldest civilizations could be billions of years older than us. But even on Earth, Homo sapiens may not be the most intelligent species for that much longer.



Mise au point : Non, ce n’est pas « la fin de l’immortalité

by Alexandre Maurer

Suite à une récente étude, la presse s’emballe : nous pourrions ne jamais dépasser 125 ans ! Mais qu’en est-il réellement ?



Happy Holiday! A.I. Writes and Sings Christmas Song

by B. J. Murphy

It’s finally the last month of the year and you know what that means – the holiday flood known as Christmas. Celebrated by many, it’s a time of the year where presents are exchanged and songs are sung. Only this year one of those songs won’t be sung (let alone written) by a human being. Nope, this time an artificial intelligence is giving it a go!



Trump’s Pick for Health Secretary Is Total Nightmare Fuel

by George Dvorsky

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), placing the Georgia Congressman in an extremely powerful position as far as the nation’s health is concerned. Given his dubious track record, this appointment is of serious concern.



The Logical Space of Algocracy (Redux)

by John Danaher

(The following is, roughly, the text of a talk I delivered to the IP/IT/Media law discussion group at Edinburgh University on the 25th of November 2016. The text is much longer than what I actually presented and I modified some of the concluding section in light of the comments and feedback I received on the day. I would like to thank all those who were present for their challenging and constructive feedback. All of this builds on a previous post I did on the ‘logical space of algocracy’)



Lip Reading Skills by Google’s AI is on Fleek

by B. J. Murphy

Having an artificial intelligence (AI) translate foreign languages for you is becoming a common occurrence for most people. While universal translators are getting closer to the market by each year, there’s one other form of communication which AI is aiming to dominate as well – lip reading!



Freaky Expanding Pill Stays in Your Gut for Days to Deliver Drugs

by George Dvorsky

The problem with pills is that you have to take them on a regular basis. An innovative new pop-up capsule solves this problem by staying in the stomach for days, where it slowly releases medication over the course of an entire treatment.



How We Might One Day Communicate With Liquids

by George Dvorsky

A new machine designed at Stanford University sends digital messages without electronics, using common household chemicals. Eventually, similar systems could allow tiny devices to communicate inside the body, or be adapted to environments in which traditional electronics break down.



Brain Implant Allows Paralyzed Woman to Spell Out Messages With Her Mind

by George Dvorsky

Researchers in the Netherlands have successfully tested a brain implant that allows a patient with late-stage Lou Gehrig’s disease to spell messages at the rate of two letters per minute.



Getting from 1932 to 1945

by J. Hughes

A piece I just wrote for the IEEE:

If the future is coming at an ever accelerating pace, then perhaps we can get from 1932 to 1945 in record time.

Full Story...



What a Trump Presidency Means for Human Survival: One Expert’s Take

by Phil Torres

Since its inception, the field of existential risk studies has recognized “bad governance” as an important factor that could modulate overall existential risk — or constitute an existential risk in its own right, if such governance were to gain global control.

Full Story...



We are in it, all right. But “figuratively”? … or “literally”?

by David Brin

Tis the season for post-mortems… for pompous declamations and dissections, explaining to us all what the F— just happened. And so, across the next week or so, I’ll offer summaries and links to a panoply of rationalizations for this bizarre turn of events.  How liberals, conservatives and other pundits got it wrong… and what I think may be glimmers of actual insight.



Nick Bostrom Testifies on Cognitive Enhancement for Obama BRAIN Initiative

The Obama administration’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues held a session on the ethical issues of cognitive enhancement, as part of the ethical, social, legal issues wing of the federal BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. IEET co-founder and author of the new bestseller SuperIntelligence, Nick Bostrom was one of four asked to testify. His comments focused on the importance of ensuring egalitarian access to and benefits from cognitive enhancement.

Full Story...



Zen and the art of GMO Policy Making

by Dustin Eirdosh

Madagascar is an island known the world over for it’s unique evolutionary pathway. A pathway fated early on from it’s isolated location in the Indian ocean conspiring with it’s natural geological diversity to yield an unimaginably endemic radiation of plant and animalian diversity. Yet this diversity was ‘fated’, as it were, by situational happenstance - not conscious intent. Then, some two-thousand years ago - waves of a species with a most curious cranium began to land on these bleeding red shores.

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