Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Rights

Love and Sex with Robots
June 16-
Iskandar, Malaysia


PRODUCTIONS OF “CITIZEN CYBORG”
June 27-10
NYC, NY USA


Ramez Naam on “Enhancing Humans, Advancing Humanity”
July 22
San Francisco, CA USA


Vita-More, Rothblatt, Hughes @ Juniata H+ Conference
July 26-31
Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA USA


Sorgner @ Beyond Humanism Conf: From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?
September 15-18
Seoul, S. Korea


Transhumanism and the Church
September 24-26
Samford University, Birmingham, AL USA


Roux on H+ & Cyborgization @ “Transformed Body” (“Le Corps Transformé”)
October 9-10
Montpellier, France




MULTIMEDIA: Rights Topics

Did the Evolution of the Brain… Evolve Our Morality?

The Forgotten History of Autism

Could You Transfer Your Consciousness To Another Body?

Sleepless in the Future?

Cyborg Sex - Greg Stevens and B.J. Murphy discuss sexuality and gender in a transhumanist future

Synthetic Sex and “Being Yourself”

Chimps have feelings and thoughts. They should also have rights

Caitlyn Jenner Undergoes Facial Feminization Surgery

Want to Be a Billionaire? Impact a Billion People

Have You Been Inventoried? Identity Future Emerge

The Most You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically

My daughter, my wife, our robot, and the quest for immortality

The Awareness

The Ethics of Moral Enhancement

Science Fiction is Really Important But Not Because It’s Right




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Rights Topics




The Balkanization of Things

by Marcelo Rinesi

The smarter your stuff, the less you legally own it. And it won’t be long before, besides resisting you, things begin to quietly resist each other.

Full Story...



Transhumanism and Degrowth - a false opposition?

by Marc Roux

Is it possible to imagine a transhumanist evolution in the context of Degrowth

Full Story...



Faith Leaders Seek Safe Abortion for Rape Victims in Conflict Zones

by Valerie Tarico

Religious leaders to Obama: Clarify or repeal the Helms Amendment–It’s a matter of compassion!

During violent unrest that followed Kenya’s 2007 election, Jaqueline Mutere, a widowed community organizer and mother of four, was raped.

For women caught in conflict zones or societal breakdown sexual violence can lurk around every corner and behind every gun. A United Nations report lists a dozen countries in which sexual violation is being used as a weapon today. Aggressors may sexually assault either males or females, but girls and women face the additional horrors of sex trafficking, forced marriage, and unwanted pregnancy.

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Human Experimentation: a CIA Habit

by David Swanson

The Guardian on Monday made public a CIA document allowing the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research.”

Human what?

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Installing Swing Sets in the Gulu Area, Uganda

by R. Dennis Hansen

A few years ago, Gulu was the center of an ugly uprising that left northern Uganda in dire straights.  Since the defeat of the rebel group–the Lord’s Resistance Army–the area is in recovery, but is still poor.

Our objectives in being in the Gulu area were threefold:

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Universal Basic Income—The Foundation of a Technically Advanced Society

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

The 2016 Presidential elections are well underway. As usual, many topics will be discussed, but there are many other important policies that will be left untouched. The scripted, binary world of American Politics leaves out much of importance during its process, preferring instead to emphasize fear tactics as a means of garnering votes.

One of the more important issues on the table for me is Universal Basic Income. This is not welfare, or assistance, or social security. This is a guarantee that every single human being in our society has shelter, food and health care. UBI is a call to finally use our technology to provide the most basic needs to all our citizens.

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A Truly Major Issue, helping decide the fate of democracy

by David Brin

One thing I promise, when we do politics here.  It won’t be stuff you are reading anywhere else.

Cranking back NSA spying…?

Topmost in the news, recently, the shocking ability of the U.S. Congress to actually pass a compromise bill, one that dials back a few of the powers given (since 9/11) to our Professional Protector Caste (PPC) in the Patriot Act.

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Voluntary Intoxication and Responsibility

by John Danaher

If you voluntarily consume alcohol and then go out and commit a criminal act, should you be held responsible for that act? Many people seem to think that you should. Indeed, within the criminal law, there is an oft-repeated slogan saying that “voluntarily intoxication is no excuse”.

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African Development: Is Kicking Out Christianity and Islam the Answer?

by Leo Igwe

I state right away that I do not think “Kicking Christianity and Islam out of Africa” is the Answer. Why do I believe this will not lead to development in Africa?

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Albino Killings and Humanism in Malawi

by Leo Igwe

Four persons suspected of murdering an ‘albino’ have reportedly been arrested in Malawi. They allegedly abducted an ‘albino’ man from his village, killed him, removed his body parts and buried them in a riverbed. These horrific murders which have been taking place mainly in Tanzania seem to be spreading to this Southern African country, and it is important to rally Malawians against this horrendous practice before it is too late.

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Basic Income as Paid Parental Leave - how new mothers actually use basic income when given it

by Scott Santens

Once again John Oliver has shone a light on something important we tend to not discuss, and that is the way we in the United States collectively treat those who just gave birth.

We force them right back to work.

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Sex Beyond Procreation - Sex as Hobby

by Brent Logan Reitze

Sex throughout history has been fraught with psychological baggage, due to its role in procreation - but this provided sex with its initial evolutionary value: “I have more sex, thus higher chance of procreation; therefore I’m more evolutionarily valuable.“

This evolutionary value has impelled cultures to stigmatize and control sex, leading to sexist concepts. Virginity, for example, is a concept that’s been seen as more “valued” because there is no procreative competition.

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If U.S. Military Spending Returned to 2001 Level

by David Swanson

In 2001, U.S. military spending was $397 billion, from which it soared to a peak of $720 billion in 2010, and is now at $610 billion in 2015.

These figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (in constant 2011 dollars) exclude debt payments, veterans costs, and civil defense, which raise the figure to over $1 trillion a year now, not counting state and local spending on the military.

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Objectification & Pornography

by William Gillis

No one would disagree that porn is a major site of importance in modern patriarchy. And there are usually three broad categories of critique leveled against it: 1) That the means of its production are exploitative. 2) That it pushes narratives and perspectives reinforcing of patriarchy. 3) That the very act of getting off to or sexualizing visual stimuli mentally reduces other people to objects.

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Intoxicated Consent to Sexual Relations: A Map of Moral Claims

by John Danaher

Consent is moral magic. It transforms an impermissible act into a permissible one. But deciding when and whether to respect a particular token or signal of consent is an ethically fraught business. Can children consent to medical treatment? Can adults with early stage dementia consent to give away all their earthly possessions? Is a smile or a nod sufficient for consent? Is it possible to consent to something by doing or saying nothing? Can you consent to have something done to you while you are asleep, if you provided the consent in writing in advance? Questions of this nature abound.

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Ritual Killing and Skepticism in Zambia

by Leo Igwe

Zambia has just recorded its ‘first case’ of albino killing. Suspected ritualists butchered a 37 year old albino woman in the eastern district of Lundazi. They cut off her right hand and extracted the teeth from her mouth. In Zambia, ritual murder is on the rise.

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The Case for Circumcision

by Tsvi Bisk

Over the past several years the Jewish custom of male circumcision, in which the foreskin of the penis is removed, has been increasingly compared to female circumcision, in which the clitoris and sometimes the labia are removed, and condemned as genital mutilation. This comparison demonstrates an abysmal ignorance of anatomy. The clitoris is analogous to the penis and the labia to the scrotum which are certainly not removed in male circumcision. The foreskin is comparable to the clitoral hood which is sometimes removed surgically in women in order to enhance sexual pleasure.

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Not Choice but Choices: An Interview with Abortion Counselor and Advocate Charlotte Taft

by Valerie Tarico

“We focus on abortion as if that were the conversation, but we have been bamboozled into putting our focus there.”

When you think about abortion, what comes to mind? A woman’s right? The Religious Right? Feminists, or fetal photography, or fundamentalists? Do you see the color pink—as in Planned Parenthood—or the color red—as in anger and blood? If you worked in abortion care, the answer probably would be none of the above.

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The GOP’s Anti-Elderly, Pro-Billionaire Agenda

by Richard Eskow

Few political advisors would suggest running on a platform of open hostility toward the elderly. Most families include an older person, after all, and everyone who lives long enough will become older themselves someday.

Seniors vote in greater numbers, too.

That may be why the GOP isn’t openly presenting itself as the “anti-elderly party.” But how else are we to interpret its deeds and actions? Its leading presidential candidates are pushing cuts to Social Security, while its congressional budgets would end Medicare as we know it.

Full Story...



A Misleading Moment of Celebration for a New Surveillance Program

by Norman Solomon

The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights.

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Albino Killings, Witchcraft, And Political Elections In Tanzania

by Leo Igwe

If you are one of those who think there is no connection between politics and the savage practice of albino killing in Tanzania, then you need to read the recent statement from the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Pereira Silima. Silima made it clear to politicians in the country that if they stopped patronizing the ‘witch doctors’ then this East African country might see an end to the shameful and horrific murders of albinos.

The people in Tanzania need to discard the belief that drives them to attack kidnap and kill people living with albinism.

Full Story...



The Basic Affordability of Basic Income

by Scott Santens

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, The Economist in its May 23rd edition, published a piece with no name attached, where it labeled the idea of a basic income for all as “basically unaffordable.”  It then followed the publication with share after share via social media, with tweets such as “Why a ‘basic income’ for all is a bad idea for all”, and “Why the Green Party is wrong to support a ‘basic income’ for all.”

Full Story...



Pre-owned “American Girl Dolls” are Recycled to Support Girls Education in Uganda

by Hank Pellissier

An innovative project that recycles the popular American Girl Dolls is raising funds to help Uganda girls stay in school.

“World Girl Dolls” is capitalizing on the immense popularity and resale value of American Girl Dolls. The project, organized by Zenobia Lloyd (11-years-old) works like this:

Full Story...



The White House Supports A Proposed Ban On Editing The Human Germline

by George Dvorsky

In the wake of news that scientists in China modified the DNA of human embryos,  a number of scientists and bioethicists have called for a global moratorium on experiments that could alter the human germline. The White House has come out in support of such a ban — for now.

Full Story...



Game of Thrones: Is the Lannister’s incest immoral?

by Kyle Munkittrick


Isn’t it weird that no one is really talking about the incest on Game of Thrones? I mean, yes, among the fellow inhabitants of Westeros, sure, there are the insinuations and the snickers, the threats from the faithful, and the apparent manifestation of its awfulness in Joffrey. And sure, incest has been mentioned in articles about the show and it’s a core driver of several plot points and emotional arcs for our protagonists. It’s not completely glossed over.

But incest is supposed to be awful. Like as bad as rape. Even most anti-abortionists make two exceptions beyond sparing the mother’s life: rape and incest.

Full Story...



Is Automation Making us Stupid? The Degeneration Argument Against Automation

by John Danaher

This post continues my discussion of the arguments in Nicholas Carr’s recent book The Glass Cage. The book is an extended critique of the trend towards automation. In the previous post, I introduced some of the key concepts needed to understand this critique. As I noted then, automation arises whenever a machine (broadly understood) takes over a task or function that used to be performed by a human (or non-human animal). Automation usually takes place within an intelligence ‘loop’.

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Holacracy and the Transhumanist Party UK

by Amon Twyman

The Transhumanist Party UK represents a new branch of the Transhumanist movement, and as such is now taking the first steps in a long journey. Here at the beginning, we have the opportunity to consider how our movement will be organised, and what kind of character we want it to develop. We have a lot to think about, and work toward.

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Tracking the Progress of the Progressive Agenda

by Richard Eskow

We live in a political era dominated by corporate cash, billionaire “beauty pageants,” and a right-wing noise machine whose rhetorical phasers are permanently set to “stun.” It’s easy to lose track of ourselves when we’re distracted from moment to moment by Fox News pinwheels and celebrity-driven media circuses.

But out behind the tents, where the carnival lights aren’t as bright, a lot of people are fighting the good fight. How’s that fight going? One way to track its progress is by measuring recent developments against a populist or progressive agenda.

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Who’s Winning the Surveillance Arms Race?

by Valkyrie Ice McGill

You know the names Manning, Snowden and Assange, at least, you do unless you’ve been living under a rock. I’m pretty sure you also know that “Big Brother” doesn’t like them much.

But what you might not know is that their very existence shows that “Big Brother” isn’t as large and in charge as you might think he is.

Full Story...



Freedom in the Age of Algorithms

by Rick Searle

Reflect for a moment on what for many of us has become the average day. You are awoken by your phone whose clock is set via a wireless connection to a cell phone tower, connected to a satellite, all ultimately ending in the ultimate precision machine, a clock that will not lose even a second after 15 billion years of ticking.

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