Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Personhood



MULTIMEDIA: Personhood Topics

Does Giving Animals More Rights Improve the Quality of Human Life?

Are Smartphones Trapping Us in Anti-Social Bubbles?

3 Myths of Genius Debunked

What Carries Our Personal Identity?

Should you be able to patent a human gene?

Cyborg Art- Prefigurative, Performative, Inhuman, Hybrid?

Podcast Interview - Is High Tech Turning Us Into the Borg?

Powerful Nonsense Ep 95 - Finding meaning in an automated world

Manifesto for Cyborgs

Switzerland: Basic Income ‘Robot’ causes a commotion in Davos

Singularity 1 on 1: Compassion is the reason to reverse aging!

Chris Hables Gray on Singularity 1 on 1: We Need Strong Citizenship!

Episode 237 - The Sofalurity Is Near

Dead Bodies, Naked Women or Money. Which Excites You More?

Autism Is a Term for Behavior, Not Disease




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Personhood Topics




Daniel Dennett: In Defense of Robotic Consciousness

by John G. Messerly

Daniel Dennett (1942 – ) is an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research is in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is currently the Co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies, the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and a University Professor at Tufts University. He received his PhD from Oxford University in 1965 where he studied under the eminent philosopher Gilbert Ryle.



Apple Search Finally Stops Directing People Seeking Abortions to Adoption Centers

by Valerie Tarico

Ask Siri where to get an abortion and get a list of adoption agencies–for five years that was the experience of Apple users in cities ranging from San Francisco to Philadelphia. Recent technical upgrades appear to have resolved the problem, but advocates seeking to end abortion stigma say they intend to keep an eye on Siri and her competitors.



John Searle’s Critique of Ray Kurzweil

by John G. Messerly

John Searle (1932 – ) is currently the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD from Oxford University. He is a prolific author and one of the most important living philosophers.



Book Review: The Misfortunes of the Dead, by George Pitcher

by John G. Messerly

George Pitcher is emeritus professor of philosophy at Princeton where he was a member of the philosophy department from 1956-1981. His 1984 article, “The Misfortunes of the Dead,” addresses the question of whether the dead can be harmed.



Gerontological Manifesto

by Alexey Matveyevich Olovnikov

The necessity to create various remedies for degenerative age-related diseases is beyond any doubts. But this process is somewhat like a Sisyphean task, because the aging of each person only deepens over time, persistently destroying the results of treatment. Pharma is forced to deal with the countless consequences, rather than with their cause. The primary cause of aging is still deeply buried in gerontological terra incognita. Meanwhile, a growing and imminent new threat for humankind is becoming increasingly apparent. This threat is the increasing aging of the human population as a whole.



Epictetus: What Can We Control?

by John G. Messerly

Epictetus (c. 55 – 135 CE) was born as a slave in the Roman Empire, but obtained his freedom as a teenager. He studied Stoic philosophy from an early age, eventually lecturing on Stoicism in Rome. He was forced to leave the city in 89 CE, after the Emperor Domitian banished philosophers from Italy. He then established his own school at Nicopolis on the Adriatic coast in Greece, where he taught and lectured until he died around 135. Today he is regarded as one of the preeminent Stoic philosophers.



Basic Income is certain, but ‘they’ will wait as long as they can to implement it.

by Khannea Suntzu

Looking at the barrage of news on technological unemployment, we may get lucky and avoid the predictable denialism phase altogether. A lot of time gets wasted on denying things that are inescapable. We may get lucky, as in “we might avoid a massively disfunctional dystopian future full of mass-poverty and the consequences thereof“.

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New Evidence Suggests Human Beings Are a Geological Force of Nature

by George Dvorsky

For years, the term “Anthropocene” has been used to informally describe the human era on Earth. But new evidence suggests there’s nothing informal about it. We’re a true force of nature — and there’s good reason to believe we’ve sparked a new and unprecedented geological epoch.



Transhumanismus: Der neue Politiktrend?

by Roland Benedikter

Das humanistische Menschenbild prägte die Entwicklung westlicher Gesellschaften. Doch inzwischen ist der Transhumanismus auf dem Vormarsch. Vertreter dieser neuen ideologischen Strömung beraten westliche Regierungen, Firmen und Entscheidungsträger. Sie streben eine Cyborgisierung des Menschen an. Doch was sind die politischen Folgen?



Becoming the First Transhuman: A Call For The Right Stuff

by Margaret Morris

Who will officially be the first transhuman? Will it be you? Why wait decades? This article explains one approach to speeding up the process and also the challenge involved.

Defining the Object of the Goal:

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What is the very first question true AGI will ask?

by Gareth John

I love my sic-fi.  Reading, watching, listening - I can’t get enough of it. Having said that, there’s far more out there unread, unwatched, and unheard of by me than I’ve had the opportunity to chance upon or get around to.

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The Droids We’re Looking For

by Anthony Miccoli

I’ve been a fan of Cynthia Breazeal for well over a decade, and have watched her research evolve from her early doctoral work with Kismet, to her current work as the creator of JIBO and the founder of JIBO, inc. What I found so interesting about Dr. Breazeal was her commitment to creating not just artificial intelligence, but a robot which people could interact with in a fashion similar to human beings, but not exactly like human beings. 

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Will Cyborgs Rule the World?

by Daniel Faggella

Thanks to movies like Terminator, Universal Soldier and Blade Runner, the popular image of a cyborg is that of a futuristic, evil killing machine. The reality, however, is quite different, says Dr. Chris Hables Gray, a cyborg expert and professor at the  University of California at Santa Cruz. In fact, he says cyborgs are everywhere; technically speaking, anyone who’s had a vaccination can be considered a cyborg.

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Survival of Extremely Premature Infants Opens New Ethical Decisions

by Valerie Tarico

Changes in what we can do always lead to new questions about what we should do—questions about what is prudent or loving or wise, about what serves human well-being or even that of the broader web of life. Recent medical advances around resuscitation and life support for extremely premature infants are no exception, and new options have opened a set of difficult conversations that many would rather avoid.



Extending Legal Protection to Social Robots

by Kate Darling

“Why do you cry, Gloria? Robbie was only a machine, just a nasty old machine. He wasn’t alive at all.”

“He was not no machine!” screamed Gloria fiercely and ungrammatically. “He was a person like you and me and he was my friend.”

– Isaac Asimov (1950)

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#2: Why it matters that you realize you’re in a computer simulation

by Eliott Edge

According to IEET readers, what were the most stimulating stories of 2015? This month we’re answering that question by posting a countdown of the top 30 articles published this year on our blog (out of more than 1,000), based on how many total hits each one received.

The following piece was first published here on November 14, 2015,  and is the #2 most viewed of the year.

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Religion and Violence

by Rick Searle

Sometimes, I get the uneasy feeling that the New Atheists might be right after all. Perhaps there is something latently violent in the religious imagination, some feature, or tendency, encouraged by religion that the world would better be without.



Children Beating Up Robot Inspires New Escape Maneuver System

by Kate Darling

A few years ago, the curious folks at the Radiolab show/podcast asked some kids to hold a Barbie doll, a live hamster, and a Furby robot upside down.  Not surprisingly, the children were unfazed by the Barbie, holding it on its head for a long time. When it was the hamster’s turn, the kids were quick to release the squirming animal, for fear that they were hurting it (no surprise here either).

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Don’t Know Mind: Zen and the Art of AGI Indecision

by Gareth John

By now I’ve clocked up a relatively comprehensive slew of reading up on Artificial General Intelligence, in particular concerning its ethical implications. Still mostly in the dark when it comes to any of the difficulties and scientific quandaries that go into creating such a machine, I am at least at a level of understanding whereby I can begin to tease out for myself some of the wider implications AGI would present for humankind.



#22: Time to Start Looking at ‘Cyborg’ as a Gender Identity

by B. J. Murphy

According to IEET readers, what were the most stimulating stories of 2015? This month we’re answering that question by posting a countdown of the top 30 articles published this year on our blog (out of more than 1,000), based on how many total hits each one received.

The following piece was first published here on January 28, 2015, and is the #22 most viewed of the year.

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#23: The Age of Transhumanist Politics Has Begun: Will It Change the Concepts of Left and Right?

by Roland Benedikter

According to IEET readers, what were the most stimulating stories of 2015? This month we’re answering that question by posting a countdown of the top 30 articles published this year on our blog (out of more than 1,000), based on how many total hits each one received.

The following piece was first published here on April 27, 2015, and is the #23 most viewed of the year.

Full Story...



#28: Posthumanisms: A Carnapian Experiment

by Daryl Wennemann

According to IEET readers, what were the most stimulating stories of 2015? This month we’re answering that question by posting a countdown of the top 30 articles published this year on our blog (out of more than 1,000), based on how many total hits each one received.

The following piece was first published here on March 19, 2015, and is the #28 most viewed of the year.

Full Story...



How Games of Thrones Teaches Us About the Syrian Refugee Crisis

by Stefan Morrone

Fans of Game of Thrones were treated to a big piece of news last week. As audiences know, the fan-favorite character Jon Snow was left to die at the hands of his Night’s Watch Brothers at the end of the previous season.  Yesterday, a poster was revealed showing a bloodied image of the character.



Star Trek Philosophy: “We Were Like You Once, But We Evolved”

by B. J. Murphy

The following dialogue below took place on Star Trek: Enterprise, on episode 18, season 2, titled “The Crossing.” It was between members of the Enterprise crew (Captain Archer, Commander T’Pol, and Lieutenant Reed) and a non-corporeal alien entity known as the Wisp, of which they discuss the Wisp’s past biological existence and how they evolved into a non-corporeal species.



What About Me?

by Gareth John

As a technoprogressive it’s my desire to see that everyone benefits from emerging technologies with regard the rapidly approaching transhumanist future. To this end I’m trying to do what little I can to further and support technoprogressive aims and ideals. This does however beg the ques-tion: what about me?



Will technological unemployment lead to human disenhancement?

by John Danaher

I have written a lot about the prospects of widespread technological unemployment; I have also written a lot about the ethics of human enhancement. Are the two topics connected? Yes. At least, that’s what Michele Loi tries to argue in his recent paper “Technological Unemployment and Human Disenhancement”. In this post, I want to analyse his argument and offer some mild criticisms. I do so in a constructive spirit since I share similar views.



Obfuscation: protect privacy by destroying the Web!

by David Brin

Time for a return to the core issue of our time: how shall we best preserve and extend freedom?  Along with freedom’s contingent benefits, like privacy?

In the LA Review of Books, Internet Privacy: Stepping Up Our Self-Defense Game, Evan Selinger reviews a slim book—Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest, by Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum.



After Paris, can we be both safe and free?

by David Brin

Of course we are all still quivering, following the attacks in Paris last week that killed 129 people, not so very far from where my wife and I lived for a couple of years, as newlyweds during the 1990s.  Our hearts go out to the brave folk of Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité in la Ville Lumiere.



Moral and Legal Imperatives for Sentient A.I. - Terasem Colloquium in Second Life Dec. 10th

by Giulio Prisco

The 2015 edition of the Terasem Annual Colloquium on the Law of Futuristic Persons, themed “Moral and Legal Imperatives for Sentient AI” will take place in Second Life – Terasem sim – on December 10, with Zoltan Istvan and Jack Sarfatti among the speakers.



Is Anyone Competent to Regulate Artificial Intelligence?

by John Danaher

Artificial intelligence is a classic risk/reward technology. If developed safely and properly, it could be a great boon. If developed recklessly and improperly, it could pose a significant risk. Typically, we try to manage this risk/reward ratio through various regulatory mechanisms. But AI poses significant regulatory challenges. In a previous post, I outlined eight of these challenges. They were arranged into three main groups. The first consisted of definitional problems: what is AI anyway? The second consisted of ex ante problems: how could you safely guide the development of AI technology? And the third consisted of ex post problems: what happens once the technology is unleashed into the world? They are depicted in the diagram above.

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