Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


Santens @ North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress
September 30-

Horizons - Perspectives on Psychedelics
October 9-11

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

Engineering the Brain
October 15-16
Chicago, IL USA

Brin on “Privacy: Why Does It Matter?”
October 15
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY USA

Hughes, Brin, Anderson, Pellissier, Sirius, Gillis, Kuzsewski @ Future of Politics
October 18
Oakland, California

Brin on “Human Augmentation” @ Innovation Outreach Program
October 26
Amsterdam, Netherlands

MULTIMEDIA: Rights Topics

Europeans Are Desperate for Babies

The Future of Work and Death (Trailer)

The Brain with David Eagleman

Anti-love drugs? The ethics of a chemical break up

Techno-Religions and Silicon Prophets

Can We Stop Telling Women What to Do With Their Bodies?

Robots Are Taking Our Jobs

What is the Future of Virtual Assistants?

Two Brilliant Hacks for Finding Your Calling

Anticipating Technological Unemployment

If Your Robot Commits Murder, Should You Go to Jail?

Basic Income and other ways to fix capitalism

Basic Income and Moral Enhancement

Media Sell the Mentally Ill as Violent Criminals. Truth Is, They’re Not.

Is Xenophobia Inherent in Organized Religion?

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Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List

Rights Topics

How Can Bitcoin Help Emancipate Billions, and Help Food Security?

by David Orban

Through the fundamental invention of the Blockchain, we now have a tool that, through the use of planet-wide communications networks and smartphones that are available to anybody, can put a Western city-dweller and an Indonesian fisherman on equal footing, to participate in global commerce, maximizing their mutual advantage, and heightening incentives to achieve local and global food security.

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Want USA Colleges to be Free? Nationalize Energy; Tax Churches; Halt Offshore Tax Evasion

by Hank Pellissier

“Free college education for all Americans would be wonderful… it’s a Bernie Sanders goal, and I like it.”

I stated this opinion of mine at a family gathering last weekend. My conservative relatives glared.

“He’s a socialist!” Mom grumbled. She’s leaning towards Ben Carson.

“How you going to pay for that?” Cousin Richard demanded. He’s a Southern California lawyer, happy with Trump. “Where you going to get the money? It’s just not there!”

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IEET Poll: China Rising

We asked “Will China be the dominant world power in the 2020s?” Almost two thirds of the 143 respondents felt that China will continue to grow in influence, but will not be dominant by the 2020s.

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Transhumanisme et Décroissance

by Marc Roux

Pourquoi et comment est-il possible de concevoir une évolution transhumaniste dans un contexte de Décroissance?

Une opposition en apparence

À la lecture des publications proposées par le courant des “objecteurs de croissance”[1], on pourrait être amenés à penser que ce mouvement n’a strictement rien à échanger avec le Transhumanisme. Leur présentation relève de la critique la plus radicale, la plus hostile même, se confondant avec celle d’une organisation comme l’association Pièce et Main d’Oeuvre. Leurs rédacteurs n’hésitent pas à reprendre pour eux le qualificatif de “néoluddites”[2], à savoir, ceux qui se disent prêts à détruire les outils de la technologie, les machines.

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Sexual Assault, Consent Apps and Technological Solutionism

by John Danaher

Sexual assault and rape are significant social problems. According to some sources, one in five American women will be victims of sexual assault or rape at some point during their university education. Though this stat is somewhat controversial  (see here for a good overview) similar (sometimes higher) figures are reported in other countries. For example, in Ireland one estimate is that 31% of women experience some form of ‘contact abuse’ in their lifetime. The figure for men is lower, but higher than you might suppose, with abuse more likely to occur during childhood.

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What a Serious Anti-Abortion Movement Would Actually Look Like

by Valerie Tarico

Forty years after Roe v. Wade, the anti-abortion movement is a radical failure by the very metrics that Pro-life leaders cite to inspire their base. What would an effective anti-abortion movement look like?

U.S. women have obtained nearly 53 million legal abortions since 1973. At least in part, that is because self-described abortion foes ignore or oppose the most powerful strategies for making abortion obsolete. The anti-abortion movement is dominated by religious fundamentalists whose determination to control sex—who has it, with whom, for what purpose—takes priority over their desire to reduce abortions. This focus has seriously interfered with eliminating the supply and demand for abortion services.

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A New Kind of Economic Philosophy: Network Economies of Abundance

by Melanie Swan

Blockchain technology, as revolutionary as it is, is perhaps most revolutionary in exposing the corner of a whole new philosophy of economics that can be formulated as a Network Economics of Abundance.

Not just a new economic theory, but a new philosophy of economics is required because the entirety of existing economic theory has been constructed around the assumption of scarcity, and reconfiguring our economic thought around abundance instead as a central parameter requires rethinking economics so profoundly as to be a new philosophical position that is outside the field of economics.

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IEET sponsors “The Future of Politics” conference in Oakland, California

IEET is co-sponsoring a conference on “The Future of Politics.” The event will be held at Humanist Hall, in Oakland, California, on Sunday, October 18, from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

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Minimum Wages vs. Universal Basic Income

by Scott Santens
I think that wherever possible, we should look to permanently eliminate underlying causes instead of treating symptoms without end. When it comes to minimum wage laws, we’re perpetually treating a symptom and not a cause. The problem we wish to solve is that employees aren’t getting paid enough to work. So the government then has to step in and say, “Hey, employers, you can’t pay less than this amount, and employees, you can’t accept less than this amount.”

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UK Peace Activist Leads the Labour Party

by David Swanson

I wonder if people in the United States understand what it means that the Labour Party in London now has a peace activist in charge of it. Jeremy Corbyn does not resemble any U.S. politicians. He doesn’t favor “only the smart wars” or prefer drone murders to massive invasions. Corbyn opposes wars, and he works to end militarism.

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The Misogyny Behind Witchcraft Accusations

by Leo Igwe

In the North of Ghana, among the Dagomba, the name for a witch is Sonya, and a wizard is Bukpaha. But in local discourse there is often no reference to Bukpaha. Sonya is commonly used to refer to a person, male or female (though largely female), who engages in malevolent magic.

Another Dagomba term for Sonya is Pakurugu, which means an old woman, or as the English speaking Dagomba say, an ‘old lady’. Among the Dagomba, the notion of witchcraft has a female face. Men are more often perceived as ‘doctors’ with the cure for witchcraft.

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Claiming Abortion Care as a Positive Social Good—Four Steps to Change the Conversation and Win

by Valerie Tarico

Will our daughters, sons and young neighbors have the same reproductive rights we have? Only if advocates of chosen childbearing tap the deep moral roots and emotions beneath abortion care.

Picture a future in which children come into the world by design rather than by default. In this future, young women and men pursue their dreams and form the families of their choosing without the ever-present risk of a surprise pregnancy that plagues young lives today. Contraceptives almost never fail, and most pregnancies are healthy thanks to “preconception care” and prenatal care.

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Why haven’t Robots taken our Jobs? The Complementarity Effect

by John Danaher

You’ve probably noticed the trend. The doomsayers are yelling once more. They are telling us that technology poses a threat to human employment — that the robots are coming for our jobs. This is a thesis that has been defended in several academic papers, popular books and newspaper articles. It has been propounded by leading figures in the tech industry, and repeatedly debated and analysed in the media (particularly new media).

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Voluntary Euthanasia: Beware of the godly!

by Russell Blackford

In the United Kingdom, ongoing social and political controversy over voluntary euthanasia, or (physician) assisted suicide, has reached a new stage. Labour MP Rob Marris has put forward a private member’s bill, and it will be debated in the House of Commons this month. Thus, the UK now becomes a focus of attention for those of us with an interest in the issue of assisted suicide.

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The Debate Between the Economists and the Technologists, Who Wins?

by Rick Searle

For a while now robots have been back in the news with a vengeance, and almost on cue seem to have revived many of the nightmares that we might have thought had been locked up in the attic of the mind with all sorts of other stuff from the 1980’s, which it was hoped we would never need.

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Economic Liberation: Network Economics of Abundance

by Melanie Swan

The possibility of creating true network economies of abundance and designing personalized economic systems raises a host of issues about what kinds of behavior might result from programmed economic parameters. In moving from indirect advertiser-supported models to direct peer-supported models, for example, one first issue might be the business model - which parts of the system should (can) be free and which paid? For any paid parts, certain externalities and artificial behaviors might be created.

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The Future of Real: Meaning and Social Intelligence in a Transhuman Age

by Dorothy Deasy

I remember seeing the children falling through the air, their limbs akimbo, grasping for land or any anchor that would save them from the fall. I remember the feelings of terror, panic, pity and helplessness as I watched, unable to intervene. And then I awoke – alone, scared and slowly came to the realization that it was simply a dream, though still I feared closing my eyes again too soon lest I return. That dream took place more than 30 years ago. Much of the detail has faded – how did they come to fall? Were they pushed or did they jump like lemmings? – still I remember the images, can recall the emotions. It was just a dream; it wasn’t real. But I recall the experience of the dream. The personal semiotics that the dream contained were real, telling me something about my own psyche, my own sense of self and so making it an experience with meaning.

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Do Transhumanists View Overpopulation as a Global Threat? - interview with Steve Fuller

by Hank Pellissier

Transhumanists often disregard overpopulation as a serious problem; perhaps many just accept the relaxed viewpoint Max More expressed in his essay “Superlongevity Without Overpopulation” published in 2005.  I am guilty of that mimicry — in 2009 I supported More’s analysis in my essay “To Breed or Not To Breed?

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The Space of Mind Designs and the Human Mental Model

by Roman Yampolskiy

The following essay is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of my recently published book, Artificial Superintelligence

2.1 Introduction

In 1984, Aaron Sloman published “The Structure of the Space of Possible Minds,” in which he described the task of providing an interdisciplinary description of that structure. He observed that “behaving systems” clearly comprise more than one sort of mind and suggested that virtual machines may be a good theoretical tool for analyzing mind designs.

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VR Chains and DAC Brains: Upload your Mind as a VR AI DAC

by Melanie Swan

Blockchain thinkers or DAC Brains are the notion of having DAO/DAC entities running with smart contracts on blockchains for the purpose of conducting thinking operations. The genesis of blockchain thinkers could be organic or inorganic: human mindfile lifelogs and uploads, and any variety of brain emulations  and AI ML/DL algorithms (artificial intelligence machine-learning deep-learning algorithms). One idea is to instantiate your mindfile on the blockchain as a lifelogging tracker and standalone ideation tool: your own mind as an AI DAC.

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The Future of Property

by Enrique Lescure

Within the Anglo-American, and then specifically American political discourse, the dominant paradigm for around two generations right now is that the main guarantor of liberty (defined as the absence of physical force) is the institution of private property, and the main threat against private property and thence liberty is the state. While the purest expression of these sentiments reside amongst Market Libertarian elements, these thoughts have come to dominate a lot of the thinking within political economics in the west, and thence in the world.

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Sleep Drug Modafinil Affirmed by Scientists as a Safe and Effective Brain Booster

by George Dvorsky

Off-license users of modafinil—a drug developed to treat various sleep disorders—have known for some time that it doubles as a surprisingly effective cognitive enhancer, and with very few side effects. A new systematic review shows it’s true, raising some important ethical questions about the use of smart drugs.
Modafinil, which is sold under such brand names as Alertec, Provigil, and Modavigil, is a wakefulness-promoting drug used to treat conditions such narcolepsy, the effects of shift work, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders. But it’s also used off-license by people—especially students—hoping to exploit its nootropic qualities.

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Rethinking Work - Wasting Half of our Waking Lives is Terrible

by John G. Messerly

Swarthmore College Professor Barry Schwartz just published an op-ed in The New York Times, “Rethinking Work.”  The essay begins by noting that a “survey last year found that almost 90 percent of workers were either “not engaged” with or “actively disengaged” from their jobs.” So 9 out of 10 “workers spend half their waking lives doing things they don’t really want to do in places they don’t particularly want to be.” But Why?

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42 Splices and Counting: Nine Facts You Should Know About the Planned Parenthood Smear Campaign

by Valerie Tarico

Imagine that someone hated you (or your company) and wanted to make you look bad. So, he pretended to be a friend or colleague, went to your events, repeatedly asked you to meetings or lunch, gained your trust, and then spent two years recording private conversations. Could he find stuff that would make you sound like a heartless monster? If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, there’s no way it would take years.

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Oliver Sacks Has Died in Peace

by John G. Messerly

I have written previously (here and here ) about the great author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, who died recently at his home in New York City. (Here is the link to the story from the New York Times.)

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Beginning to Exist and the Kalam Cosmological Argument

by John Danaher

The Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) opens with the following premise:

(1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence

From there, the argument continues with the observation that the universe began to exist and ends with the conclusion that God must be the cause of the universe’s existence.

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Humans: The Next Platform

by Geoffrey Woo

Biohacking and transhumanist advances (including nootropics, extended longevity, cybernetic implants, better behavioral and genetic self-understanding) will materially advance our quality of life and productivity in the coming decade, but we need to be thoughtful about the potential social and ethical pitfalls as we transform. Google Trends shows a marked uptick in searches for “nootropics” and related biohacking fields, so now is the time to have the conversation about the direction we’re headed.

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The Political Voice of a Transhumanist - An Interview with Presidential Candidate Zoltan Istvan

by Daniel Faggella

About a year from today, Americans will line up at the polls to vote for the 45th President of the United States.  Whether Zoltan Istvan will represent the Transhumanist Party on that ballot remains to be seen, but it seems likely that he’ll be the first Transhumanist candidate to run for office.

Fringe political parties are not new, though ‘Transhumanist’ does have a novel ring to it. In a recent TechEmergence interview, I asked Zoltan, why is this the time, the 2016 election, for the Transhumanist party to make an entrance?

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Smart Regulation For Smart Drugs

by Geoffrey Woo

“For the modern mad men and wolves of Wall Street, gone are the days of widespread day drinking and functional cocaine use. Instead, in this age of efficiency above all else, corporate climbers sometimes seek a simple brain boost, something to help them to get the job done without manic jitters or a nasty crash.

For that, they are turning to nootropics,” writes Jack Smith IV on the cover story for an April 2015 edition of the New York Observer.

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Ten Health Benefits of Marijuana

by Marc Howard

10. Treatment of Glaucoma

If you are one of the millions who have been suffering from glaucoma, then smoking marijuana can help you get the best eyesight and relieve pressure from they eyes. Intraocular pressure can increase in certain individuals, especially those who have diabetes. Glaucoma is serious disease that can cause blindness.

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