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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Rights

Global Conference: Augmentation
September 3-5


Neuro-Interventions and the Law
September 12-14
Atlanta, GA USA


Cascio @ TEDx in Marin
September 18
Marin


Sorgner @ Posthuman Politics
September 25-28
University of the Aegean, Lesbos, Greece


Sorgner on “three types of posthuman perfection”
September 30
Erlangen, Germany


CyborgCamp ‘14
October 2-4
MIT's Media Lab 75 Amherst St. Cambridge, Boston


Brin @ TERADYNE Corp. biannual internal technical conference.
October 7
San Diego




MULTIMEDIA: Rights Topics

Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble

Skepticism, the Singularity, Future Technology & Favorite Frauds

Can Brain Implants Make Us Smarter?

Science and Human Nature (1 hr)

Animals and Ethics

On Parfit’s view that we are not Human Beings (50 min)

Singularity 1 on 1: Science is an epistemology in the house of philosophy

Achieving Personal Immortality Roadmap

Singularity 1 on 1: The Curiosity Cycle

Humans Need Not Apply (Mechanical Minds Will do Your Job)

Philosophy of Science - Intro and the Demarcation Problem - Science & Pseudoscience

Neil deGrasse Tyson Testifies Before Senate Science Committee and We Stopped Dreaming (2)

What Does Utopia Look Like?

Neil deGrasse Tyson - We Stopped Dreaming (Episode 1)

On Lab Meat / in vitro meat




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Rights Topics




IEET Fellow Ramez Naam’s Nexus is a Finalist for the Endeavour Award

 Nexus is a finalist for the 2014 Endeavour Award, for the best SF or fantasy book written by a Pacific Northwest author in the previous year. 

Full Story...
Link to Endeavour Award



CBS Gives Pilot Production Commitment to Drama Based on Bioethicist Arthur L. Caplan

CBS has given a pilot production commitment to “Austen’s Razor,” a drama from Legendary Television and CBS Television Studios that’s inspired by the career of bioethics expert Arthur L. Caplan.

Full Story...
Link to CBS



Is Singapore the next Silicon Valley?

by Ayesha Khanna

Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook are winning the war for talent and Silicon Valley office space, encouraging start-ups to go on a global hunt for a new heartland. In Asia, Singapore wants to be the answer. The government has established numerous schemes and initiatives to encourage entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to set up shop there.



Baggage Culture and Why Embracing Transhumanism Doesn’t Come Easy

by Zoltan Istvan

Twenty years ago, while in college and wondering why everyone else in the world wasn't hell-bent on trying to live indefinitely via the promising fields of transhumanist science, I began working on the idea of what mass culture is and if it was holding back people from wanting to maximize their lifespans and human potential. I came up with the concept baggage culture, which is explored in detail in my novel The Transhumanist Wager and its philosophy Teleological Egocentric Functionalism (TEF).



Party Time! Excellent! Educators and Health Professionals Celebrate a Drop in Teen Pregnancy

by Valerie Tarico

Public health officials, educators, and parents of teens have reason to party! According to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, American teen pregnancy rates are lower currently than they were back in 1975 when top 40 dance music included “Kung Fu Fighting” and “The Hustle.”



How would you spend $5k to spread info & raise awareness about indefinite life extension?

by Eric Schulke

Movement for indefinite life extension (MILE) activist contest II: How would you spend $5,000 to spread information and raise awareness about people, projects &organizations working toward indefinite life extension?



Ebola, Paternalism, and the Need for WHO’s Medical Ethics Review of Experimental Treatments

by Kelly Hills

The World Health Organization has released a statement (in full, bottom of blog post) that they are going to convene, early next week, a panel of medical ethicists to “explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.” The statement goes on to say that “the recent treatment of two health workers from Samaritan’s Purse with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether medicine that has never been tested and shown to be safe in people should be used in the outbreak.”



The First Machine War and the Lessons of Mortality

by Rick Searle

I just finished a thrilling little book about the first machine war. The author writes of a war set off by a terrorist attack where the very speed of machines being put into action,and the near light speed of telecommunications whipping up public opinion to do something now, drives countries into a world war. In his vision whole new theaters of war, amounting to fourth and fifth dimensions, have been invented. Amid a storm of steel huge hulking machines roam across the landscape and literally shred human beings in their path to pieces. Low flying avions fill the sky taking out individual targets or help calibrate precision attacks from incredible distances beyond. Wireless communications connect soldiers and machine together in a kind of world-net…



Confessions of a Scientist Communicator

by Andrew Maynard

I consider myself to be pretty self-aware.  It’s an illusion of course, but one I am usually blissfully ignorant of. Until some insightful reporter shatters it! This was me a few days ago.  I was talking with a journalist about science communication and the perils and pitfalls faced by young scientists.  As I got into my groove talking about scientists and communication, she interrupted me and asked, “do you think there many scientists that hold such unusual views?” (or words to that effect).



Where the Wild Things Are–Family Planning Conversations on Teen Turf

by Valerie Tarico

No one birth control method fits everyone, but today young women have better options than ever before. Across the United States, from New York to South Carolina to Texas to Oregon, health advocates and providers are scrambling to get the word out about long-acting yet easily reversible contraceptive methods that are now approved for use by teenagers and well liked by most who use them. (See this earlier Sightline series, Twenty Times Better Than the Pill.)



Living Without ‘Her’

by Andy Miah

What makes love so important to us? Why is it so central to our lives? Why do we invest so much of ourselves into its discovery and feel so strongly that our happiness depends on it lasting?



Gaza Is a Transhumanist Issue!

by Benjamin Abbott

Transhumanists as a rule may prefer to contemplate implants and genetic engineering, but few if any violations of morphological freedom exceed being torn to pieces by shrapnel or dashed against concrete by an overpressure wave. In this piece I argue that the settler-colonial violence in occupied Palestine relates to core aspects of modernity and demands futurist attention both emotionally and intellectually.



Back to the Future — Modernizing Sexual Health Care, Regulations, and Reimbursement for Teens

by Valerie Tarico

More than 80 percent of teen pregnancies are accidents. A girl with other hopes and dreams—or maybe a girl who is floundering, who hasn’t even begun to explore her hopes and dreams—finds herself unexpectedly slated for either an abortion or 4,000 diapers. Given the shame and stigma surrounding abortion in many American subcultures, that can seem like a choice between the proverbial rock and hard place. The exciting news that launched this Sightline series is that teen pregnancy is in decline across the United States and across all major ethnic groups. Fewer and fewer young women are facing hard decisions after the fact.



As Congress Adjourns, GOP Declares “Omission Accomplished”

by Richard Eskow

Our long national nightmare is over – for the moment. Congress has adjourned for summer recess after a session that can safely be described as “historic,” both for its historic lack of accomplishment and the historically low regard in which it is now held by the public.



The True Origins of the American Revolution

by David Brin

A few weeks ago, I was one of the headlined speakers at Freedom Fest, the big libertarian convention in Las Vegas. Do I seem an odd choice, given my past thorough and merciless dissections of Ayn Rand?  In fact I’ve done this before, showing up to suggest that a movement claiming to be all about freedom might want to veer away from its recent, mutant obsession — empowering and enabling the kind of owner-oligarchy that oppressed humanity all across the last 6000 years. Instead, I propose going back to a more healthy and well-grounded libertarian rootstock — encouraging the vast creative power of open-flat-fair competition…...a word that libertarians scarcely mention, anymore. Because it conflicts fundamentally with their current focus — promoting inherited oligarchy.



Bostrom on Superintelligence (4): Malignant Failure Modes

by John Danaher

This is the fourth post of my series on Nick Bostrom’s recent book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. In the previous post, I started my discussion of Bostrom’s argument for an AI doomsday scenario. Today, I continue this discussion by looking at another criticism of that argument, along with Bostrom’s response.



Bostrom on Superintelligence (3): Doom and the Treacherous Turn

by John Danaher

In the first two entries, I looked at some of Bostrom’s conceptual claims about the nature of agency, and the possibility of superintelligent agents pursuing goals that may be inimical to human interests. I now move on to see how these conceptual claims feed into Bostrom’s case for an AI doomsday scenario.



Bring It On! — Why It’s Tme For Over the Counter Oral Contraceptives.

by Valerie Tarico

When Plan B emergency contraceptives became available without a prescription, I sent my teenage daughter, Marley, and her friend Amanda out to do a little research. Was the medication available in our local pharmacies? What would happen if they asked for help?
Most of the drugstores the girls visited in their meander through Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood kept the medication behind a counter or locked up because it’s so expensive (close to $50 for a single dose).



Hacking the world, public health style

by Andrew Maynard

What has the Maker Movement got to do with public health? Quite a lot as it turns out, as I explore in the latest Risk Bites video.  This in turn was inspired by being invited to talk at the inaugural We Make Health Fest in Ann Arbor (August 16 – please join us if you can!).



9 Obvious Steps to Immortality

by Maria Konovalenko

Maria Konovalenko discusses personalized medicine services, why you should participate in clinical trials of geroprotector drug candidates,  Personalized science, Why scientific research should be organized, why you should be friends with people with no harmful habits,  “Create crowdfunding campaigns in the area of longevity”, why you should increase your own competence, promote the value of human longevity, and neuropreservation.



Bostrom on Superintelligence (2): The Instrumental Convergence Thesis

by John Danaher

This is the second post in my series on Nick Bostrom’s recent book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. In the previous post, I looked at Bostrom’s defence of the orthogonality thesis. This thesis claimed that pretty much any level of intelligence — when “intelligence” is understood as skill at means-end reasoning — is compatible with pretty much any (final) goal. Thus, an artificial agent could have a very high level of intelligence, and nevertheless use that intelligence to pursue very odd final goals, including goals that are inimical to the survival of human beings. In other words, there is no guarantee that high levels of intelligence among AIs will lead to a better world for us.



Bostrom on Superintelligence (1): The Orthogonality Thesis

by John Danaher

In this entry, I take a look at Bostrom’s orthogonality thesis. As we shall see, this thesis is central to his claim that superintelligent AIs could pose profound existential risks to human beings. But what does the thesis mean and how plausible is it?



Dazed and Confused — The Case for Comprehensive Sexual Education

by Valerie Tarico

Can a girl get pregnant if she has sex standing up? Will my boyfriend be able to feel my IUD? What are dental dams, and why do people use them for sex? Does everybody shave or trim down there? If a guy pays for dinner, what does a girl owe him?



Sherlock Holmes as Cyborg and the Future of Retail

by Rick Searle

Lately, I’ve been enjoying reruns of the relatively new BBC series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which imagines Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective in our 21st century world. The thing I really enjoy about the show is that it’s the first time I can recall that anyone has managed to make Sherlock Holmes funny without at the same time undermining the whole premise of a character whose purely logical style of thinking make him seem more a robot than a human being.



Convergent Risk, Social Futurism, and the Wave of Change (Part 2 of 2)

by Amon Twyman

The third section in this chapter will lay out a ‘toolkit’ of policies and strategic options for a transition phase toward a Social Futurist outcome. Such a medium-term focus on transition and interim steps may give an impression that our viewpoint is reformist rather than deeply revolutionary, when in fact it should be considered revolutionary on two levels.



Beauty Is Skin-deep—But That’s Where Genetic Engineering Is Going Next

by Ted Chu

A Korean woman was on the verge of divorce because her husband no longer found her attractive and was having an affair. Nothing worked in her efforts to save the marriage and as a last resort she underwent cosmetic surgery. The result was so dramatic and her son didn’t recognize her when she returned home.



Convergent Risk, Social Futurism, and the Wave of Change (Part 1 of 2)

by Amon Twyman

In recent years there has been a growing understanding that technologies often do not develop in isolation, but instead affect and frequently accelerate each others’ development. This process of increasing interdependence between developing technologies is known as convergence. When discussing this phenomenon, commentators tend to focus on the convergence of NBIC (Nanometre scale, Biological, Information, and Cognitive) technologies.



Why Solitary Confinement Is The Worst Kind Of Psychological Torture

by George Dvorsky

There may be as many as 80,000 American prisoners currently locked-up in a SHU, or segregated housing unit. Solitary confinement in a SHU can cause irreversible psychological effects in as little as 15 days. Here’s what social isolation does to your brain, and why it should be considered torture.



The Trifecta of Roommate Selection Technology: Privacy, Prejudice, And Diversity

by Evan Selinger

Over at The New York TimesNatasha Singer discusses the pros and cons of universities providing incoming students with online technology that helps them select roommates. She does a great job of identifying salient points. But I think it’s important to augment the story by adding some remarks on privacy and prejudice.



The Maverick Nanny with a Dopamine Drip: Debunking Fallacies in the Theory of AI Motivation

by Richard Loosemore

My goal in this article is to demolish the AI Doomsday scenarios that are being heavily publicized by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, the Future of Humanity Institute, and others, and which have now found their way into the farthest corners of the popular press. These doomsday scenarios are logically incoherent at such a fundamental level that they can be dismissed as extremely implausible - they require the AI to be so unstable that it could never reach the level of intelligence at which it would become dangerous.  On a more constructive and optimistic note, I will argue that even if someone did try to build the kind of unstable AI system that might lead to one of the doomsday behaviors, the system itself would immediately detect the offending logical contradiction in its design, and spontaneously self-modify to make itself safe.

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