Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Rights

Santens @ North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress
September 30-


“A Dangerous Master” by Wendell Wallach (Lecture & Book Signing)
May 5-
Connecticut Science Center | Downtown Hartford, CT


North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress
May 12-15
Manitoba, Canada


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ PFSK 2016 Forum
May 13
New York City, NY


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Hammer Museum
May 17
Los Angeles, California


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Powell’s Books
May 20
Portland, OR


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Webvisions
May 20
Portland, OR




MULTIMEDIA: Rights Topics

Enhance Creativity by Utilizing Both Your Conscious and Unconscious Mind

The Digital Economy Should Be about Capital Creation, Not Extraction

How Your Brain Rewards Love Is a Double-Edged Sword

How Meditation Can Lead to a Vegan Diet

A new superweapon in the fight against cancer

Algorithms: Killing Jobs, Narrowing Our Personalities

Hackers Will Be Tempted by Cyborg Vulnerabilities

Online Companies Like Facebook Have Created a Meaningless Economy

Is your phone part of your mind?

Overcoming the Obstacles on the Path to Post-Scarcity

Episode #1- Tal Zarsky on the Ethics of Big Data and Predictive Analytics

Douglas Rushkoff on Redesigning the Economy

Immortality: When We Digitally Copy Our Minds, What Happens to Humanity?

The Rise of A.I., Shifting Economies, and Corporate Consciousness Will Define the Future

This country isn’t just carbon neutral — it’s carbon negative




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Rights Topics




Longévité, condition féminine et travail reproductif

by Audrey Arendt

L ’allongement net de la durée de la jeunesse biologique soulève à tort les questions de surpopulation et de croissance démographique, lorsqu’au contraire tout porte à anticiper les effets inverses.



Technology and Caregiving go Hand in Hand

by Marie Miguel

Hungry? You can order some pizza and pay for it online. Need to pay your bills? You don’t have to go to the bank or to the billing company to do it. You can either do it online on your desktop or on your smartphone. Need to buy a gift for your nephew whose birthday is this weekend? No need to go out during your lunch break to buy a gift. Just order online and you can have it delivered at your door step.

Full Story...



Humai’s Head of Engineering On the Future That is to Come

by B. J. Murphy

Just the other week Humai’s head of engineering John LaRocco sat down with The Hartman Media Company where he discussed artificial intelligence (A.I.), head transplants, and synthetic organs. It was an alluring conversation to listen to, one which will help people acquire a better understanding as to the company Humai’s vision for the future ahead of us.



The Challenge of Secularism and Human Rights in Africa

by Leo Igwe

African countries have been facing various challenges since independence and one of these major dilemmas is defining the relationship between religion and politics. At independence, African countries inherited multiple faiths, political religions that seek to control state formation and structure.

Full Story...



Transhuman Debate 2.0 in SF East Bay

IEET is co-sponsoring “Transhuman Debate 2.0” on April 2, 2016, from 12:30 - 4:00pm in Oakland, CA, at Octopus Literary Salon, 2101 Webster St, #170 - only 2 blocks from BART.

Full Story...



The Penalty for Poverty Should Not Be Death

by Richard Eskow

The Brookings Institution recently issued a report showing that poor Americans die at a much earlier age than rich Americans, and that this life expectancy gap between rich and poor is growing rapidly. A professor of public health at Yale University told the New York Times, “It’s embarrassing.”

Yes, it is.

Full Story...



Google Hedonics

by Andrés Gómez Emilsson

Hello my children!
Hello my sons!
Hello my daughters!
Hello my brothers and sisters!
I’m here to tell you that the world’s last unpleasant experience…
Will be a precisely dateable event!
Yes! It will happen in our lifetimes if we commit all of our energy today…

To the task of Paradise Engineering!

– Yacht, Paradise Engineering

(referencing David Pearce’s Hedonistic Imperative

Full Story...



Political Delusions - Do we just rationalize our emotional decisions?

by David Brin

I’ve long maintained that humanity’s greatest gift and greatest curse are one and the same - our prodigious talent for delusion.  For believing things - passionately - that are belied by both logic and evidence. This is the wellspring of great art. Indeed, as a novelist* I cater to the desire of my own customers to - temporarily and knowingly - believe they are experiencing other realities and the thoughts of credible characters, engaged in barely plausible adventures.

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What is the Difference Between Philosophy, Science, and Religion?

by John G. Messerly

In order to more clearly conceptualize philosophy’s territory, let’s consider it in relationship to two other powerful cultural forces with which it’s intertwined: religion and science.

We may (roughly) characterize the contrast between philosophy and religion as follows: philosophy relies on reason, evidence and experience for its truths; religion depends on faith, authority grace, and revelation for truth.

Full Story...



Review of Michael Bess’, Our Grandchildren Redesigned

by John G. Messerly

Vanderbilt University’s Michael Bess has written an extraordinarily thoughtful new book: Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life In The BioEngineered Society Of The Near Future. The first part of the book introduces the reader to the technologies that will enhance the physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities of our children and grandchildren: pharmaceuticals, bioelectronics, genetics, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and virtual reality.



Danaher published in the journal “Science and Engineering Ethics”

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher recently published a paper on technological unemployment and the meaning of life in the journal Science and Engineering Ethics.

Full Story...
Link to Science and Engineering Ethics



“Humanist Missionaries” aim to secularize Africa via Children’s Education

by Hank Pellissier

Africa is the world’s most religious continent.

Brighter Brains Institute (BBI) - a San Francisco Bay Area think-and-do-tank - seeks to counter that, by establishing and supporting secular “humanist” schools in the region.

What is BBI’s motivation?

Full Story...



Can Teaching Evolution Help Kids Flourish In School And In Life?

by Dustin Eirdosh

Positive Education (PE) is the integrative field of study that tightly links human well-being with academic achievement. Common sense tells us that healthy, happy students will, on average, be more successful academically. Positive education tries to implement a nurturing environment for students, but also suggests we teach the science of human flourishing as content itself.

Full Story...



Western Philosophy - The Beginnings of Rationalistic Thinking

by John G. Messerly

The word philosophy comes from two Greek roots meaning “the love of wisdom.” Thus philosophers are (supposed to be) lovers of wisdom. In the western world, philosophy traces its beginnings to the ancient Ionian city of Miletus, the richest city in the ancient Greek world. There, on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean in the sixth century B.C.E., the Greeks began to systematically apply human reason to questions concerning nature and human life without reference to the supernatural.

Full Story...



Everything You Know About Artificial Intelligence is Wrong

by George Dvorsky

It was hailed as the most significant test of machine intelligence since Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in chess nearly 20 years ago. Google’s AlphaGo has won two of the first three games against grandmaster Lee Sedol in a Go tournament, showing the dramatic extent to which AI has improved over the years. That fateful day when machines finally become smarter than humans has never appeared closer—yet we seem no closer in grasping the implications of this epochal event.



New Technologies as Social Experiments: An Ethical Framework

by John Danaher

What was Apple thinking when it launched the iPhone? It was an impressive bit of technology, poised to revolutionise the smartphone industry, and set to become nearly ubiquitous within a decade. The social consequences have been dramatic. Many of those consequences have been positive: increased connectivity, increased knowledge and increased day-to-day convenience.



VR Will Create Multiple Existences - “meatspace” will not be considered the only true reality

by Brent Logan Reitze

The nature of what is truly real has been pondered by philosophers for centuries. Plato argued we were only seeing shadows of true reality. Descartes pointed out nothing could be proven by your own thoughts. And while we must assume a shared reality to function with other over the course of daily life, that assumption will come to be questioned in the future with the rise of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies. 

Full Story...



Body-based Trades and the Ethics of Divided Labour

by John Danaher

This post focuses on a particular argument about the ethics of body-based trades, in particular surrogacy and reproductive labour. The argument comes from Anne Phillips and is presented in her book Our Bodies, Whose Property?

Full Story...



Satoshi Roundtable: Is Bitcoin Dead due to Scalability Issues?

by Melanie Swan

Scalability was the most prominent issue discussed at the February 26-28, 2016 Satoshi Roundtable (the Bitcoin industry’s annual technical meeting).

This is expected as scalability is an ongoing issue to be resolved for any cryptocurrency to achieve mainstream adoption.

Full Story...



BJ Murphy interviewed by Future of Sex

IEET Affiliate Scholar BJ Murphy was recently interviewed by the website Future of Sex.

Full Story...
Link to Future of Sex



Beauty Will Be in the Bionic Eye of the Beholder

by B. J. Murphy

How might we define beauty in a future of cyborgs and the genetically enhanced?

Today we live in a world that has been radically transformed by the hands of advanced science and technology. Depending on which sci-fi literature you might’ve read, one could accurately portray today’s reality as a sci-fi future. A future where everyone is interconnected using tiny computational devices which fit in their pockets, biological limbs being replaced by advanced bionic prosthetics, and disease being combated using gene-editing tools.

Full Story...



Understanding Exploitation: Unfair advantage and the lack of consent

by John Danaher

I feel like there is a lot of exploitation in the world. When I buy clothes, I worry that they have been made by exploited workers, labouring in appalling conditions in sweatshops in developing countries. When I use my mobile phone, I worry that the coltan that is used to manufacture the chips has been sourced from exploited workers in conflict zones, and that the phones themselves have been assembled by exploited workers in large factory complexes somewhere in Asia. Of course, I still buy the clothes and use the phone (like pretty much everybody else). So the question arises: should I worry about the exploitation?

Full Story...



Goertzel Launches Indiegogo to create AI Tablets for African Children

IEET Fellow Ben Goertzel is promoting an Indigogo campaign to complete YaNetu, a project that would provide AI tablets to African children.

Full Story...
Link to Indigogo



A Conversation With Bionic Actress Angel Giuffria

by B. J. Murphy

What will the future look like in the eyes of those one step ahead of us?

I’ve been speaking a lot lately about what I believe the future will be like, as envisioned by robotics company Humai. For a change of pace, I decided to reach out to someone else and get their take on the world of tomorrow.

That someone is cyborg and bionic actress Angel Giuffria

Full Story...



Let’s Tear Down the Ivory Tower Called School

by Ayesha Khanna

Schools insulated from industry and workplaces do a disservice to young people, as industries of the future require them to innovate and tinker, not just sit in classrooms absorbing lessons.

The industries of the future require students to be innovative and creative so that they can work effectively with technology instead of being replaced by it. They also require resilience and grit, as innovations demand tinkering, and failure is, more often than not, a natural step before success.

Full Story...



Martine Rothblatt at The Women’s Center 30th Annual Leadership Conference

IEET Trustee Martine Rothblatt will be speaking at the 30th Annual Leadership Conference of the Women’s Center.

Full Story...



Inequality Against Democracy: 10 Facts About the 1 Percent

by Richard Eskow

Economic inequality inspired Occupy Wall Street, a movement that in a few short months transformed our political discourse with the concept of the “1 percent” and the “99 percent.” Today the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders is altering the political landscape with a call to reduce inequality.

Full Story...



Youtube as Motivator - what people can do with their basic incomes

by Scott Santens

As I’ve blogged about previously, being a cord cutter I watch YouTube instead of TV, and it’s because of this I think I don’t see people in the same way many do, where there’s a mistaken belief people do nothing unless paid to do something. To the contrary, it’s clear on YouTube that people love doing all kinds of things when they have the ability to do them. Therefore, YouTube to me is a window into a post-basic income world full of intrinsic motivation, where video after video is made for the love of making and sharing videos with those who enjoy watching them.

Full Story...



Reconnaître l’IA

by Cyril Gazengel

Le propre de l’homme ?
L’intelligence, ce domaine suprême dans lequel l’humain se croit leader est peut-être en train de vivre ses dernières années anthropocentriques. Déjà, l’idée d’une exclusivité humaine de certains traits vus comme définissant l’intelligence s’est vue taillée en brèche au XXe siècle où nombre d’animaux se sont retrouvés avec des dons antérieurement associés aux seuls hominidés.



How dark epistemology explains the rise of Donald Trump

by Rick Searle

We are living in what is likely the golden age of deception. It would be difficult enough were we merely threatened with drowning in what James Gleick has called the flood of information, or were we doomed to roam blind through the corridors of Borges’ library of Babel, but the problem is actually much worse than that. Our dilemma is that the very instruments that once promised liberation via the power of universal access to all the world’s knowledge seem just as likely are being used to sow the seeds of conspiracy, to manipulate us and obscure the path to the truth.

Full Story...

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