Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Eco-gov



MULTIMEDIA: Eco-gov Topics

3-D Printing Guns, Drugs, and DNA Weapons: Organized Crime Is Being Decentralized

Olympic Cyclist Vs. Toaster: Can He Power It?

Let’s kick oil while the price is down

The Rejection Of Climate Science And Motivated Reasoning (25min)

Sustainable Systems SFA 2.0 (Computer Simulation from the Genome to the Environment)

SETI Institute: Risky tales: Talking with Seth Shostak at Big Picture Science

Newberry Geothermal Project (Can power a city of 80,000 people!)

Primer on Nuclear Fusion and Photos from the People’s Climate March (Sep, 21, 2014)

Beyond The People’s Climate March

The future is going to be wonderful (If we don’t get whacked by the existential risks)

We Need a Carbon Tax!

First Formula E Electric Car

The link between unemployment and terrorism

Futurists discuss The Transhumanist Wager

Can technology solve our big problems?




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Eco-gov Topics




Why We Should Preserve the Privacy and Spirit of Bitcoin

by Giulio Prisco

The trend toward mainstream,” sanitized” forms of Bitcoin that can be adopted by governments and banks is here to stay, which is not a bad thing. At the same time, it’s also important to preserve important aspects of the original vision of the Bitcoin Founders – a P2P currency that can’t be controlled by banks and governments, and supports untraceable private transactions.

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Network Economies: Economic System as a Configurable Parameter

by Melanie Swan

We personalize everything else, why not economic systems too? Starbucks selectability comes to economic system participations! Some interesting implications for personalized economic system design arise per a recent post about ‘Decentralized Reddit.’

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“Open Borders”: A Gimmick, Not a Solution

by Richard Eskow

Newsweek recently published an article by Daniel Bier with the headline “Bernie Sanders on Immigrants: Silly, Tribal and Economically Illiterate.”

The piece, when it is not distracting the reader with rather unimaginative vitriol (phrases like “lame socialist agenda” are hardly Pulitzer material), bases its argument on a trendy libertarian idea called “open borders.”

Like many libertarian ideas, “open borders” is bold, has superficial intellectual appeal - and is incapable of withstanding thoughtful scrutiny. It would benefit the wealthy few at the expense of the many, here and abroad.

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Obsolete the President - Replace with Direct Democracy (interview with Nicole Sallak Anderson)

by Hank Pellissier

Election day in the USA is fifteen months away. Every citizen is braced for the onslaught of bickering candidates, obsessive media attention, vicious advertising, and billions of dollars raised and spent to persuade us to pick a Leader.

A commander-in-chief of the military, a vetoer of bills, an appointee of judges, a figurehead, a symbol, an ambassador to the world - an instant super-celebrity that we will scrutinize and hate on and wonder what pets they’ll pamper in the White House and where they’ll take their kids on vacation.

It’s Boring and It Belittles Us.

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Everything You Think You Know About the History and Future of Jobs is Wrong

by Scott Santens

“47 Percent…”

That’s the highly cited estimate out of Oxford by Frey and Osbourne of the percentage of existing jobs that are likely to be automated away with the help of technology within the next two decades. According to this paper, flip a coin and call heads or machines to see if your job will exist in 20 years. This is the 21st century fear for many called “technological unemployment.”

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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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Pope Francis, the Encyclical Laudato Si, Ethics, and Existential Risk

by Brian Patrick Green

In June, the Vatican released Pope Francis’s much anticipated encyclical letter Laudato Si on the environment and humanity’s relationship with the natural world. The encyclical is worth exploring for those interested in global catastrophic and existential risks (GCE-risks) because the particular environmental problems the Pope discusses are placed in the general context of the many GCE-risks that humanity faces.

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8 Craziest Mega-Engineering Projects We Could Use to Rework the Earth

by George Dvorsky

Humans have been modifying the Earth for thousands of years, but we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. Here are eight dramatic ways we could change the face of our planet.

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How Cheap Can Solar Get? Very Cheap Indeed

by Ramez Naam

Electricity cost is now coupled to the ever-decreasing price of technology. It’s profoundly disruptive to other electricity-generating technologies and businesses. And it’s good news for both people and the planet.

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Smartgrid Life: Blockchain-Enabled Virtual Food Cooperatives

by Melanie Swan

The contemporary era of blockchains as an implementation mechanism for decentralization suggests a new overall conceptualization of life as being supported by any number of smartgrids. Distributed network grids is a familiar idea for resources such as water, electricity, health services, and Internet access, and might be extended to other resources, literally and conceptually.

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The Social Fabric of a Technically Advanced Society

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

There is so much human potential. I see it everywhere I turn. Yet something seems to hold us back, ever so slightly, from actually becoming a stable species. Yes, we have come a long way, yet at this moment in time it seems we have but two choices before us, begin to cooperate and live in harmony, or destroy everything, including our planet.

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If We Can Achieve Gay Marriage and Legal Pot, We Can Fix Climate Change Too

by Ramez Naam

A decade ago, it was nearly inconceivable that in 2015, gay marriage would be legal across the US and marijuana fully legal in four states plus the District of Columbia. Yet it happened. It happened because citizens who wanted change led, from the bottom up, often through citizens initiatives.

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Book Review: Abundance—A Must Read for Any Futurist

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

Authors Peter H. Diamandis and Steve Kotler have created just about the perfect handbook when it comes to envisioning a technically advanced, democratic and thriving society. Written in 2012, this book is still an important read for anyone who’s interested in a technical future where humanity finally rises above the mire it has been tethered to for millennia.

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Promoting scientific and rational literacy to create a friendly global ideology that helps humanity

by Soenke Ziesche

We are living in a world with many challenges and even existential risks. Yet only a relatively small number of people seem to be concerned about this, while others apparently oblivious behave adversely towards these challenges, e.g. through an environmentally unfriendly lifestyle, in developing as well as developed countries. Very often the reason for this behaviour is not lack of education, but wrong education. In many places children are neither educated properly in sciences, nor are their rationality skills trained. Instead in many parts of the world, the curriculum is linked to unscientific ideologies, which pupils are prone to believe forever if indoctrinated in early childhood.

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The death of our Republic is inevitable, but what should replace it?

by Rick Searle

Happy two hundred and thirty ninth birthday, America! Although it’s more accurate to claim the country is younger and date the current republic’s birth from the adoption of the constitution in 1787. Amazingly, it’s a constitution that in most respects remains essentially the same despite all the enormous changes that have happened in the centuries since it was written.

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Longevity will lead to Overpopulation - we need to consider our options now

by Adrian Cull

At some point technology will allow us to live forever. With billionaires spending millions on research [1] and huge corporations such as Google getting in on the act, very soon we are likely to see rapid advances in life expectancy – with the ultimate aim of radical life extension. All diseases will be cured, and the cellular aging that leads to the deterioration in body and mind will be slowed and eventually reversed so that everybody can choose how long they want to live for.

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Existential Risks – my shortlist ranging from conventional to bizarre

by Steven Umbrello

The dangers that face Earth and its inhabitants are diverse and intricate. The solutions, if any exists per particular danger, are equally complex and nuanced. Below you will find a shortlist of threats that range from conventional to bizarre.

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Solar: The First 1% Was the Hardest

by Ramez Naam

Solar power now provides roughly 1% of the world’s electricity.  It took 40 years to reach that milestone. But, as they say in tech, the first 1% is the hardest.

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How To Survive the Robot Apocalypse

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

It’s in the air. It’s in the news.

Our struggling economy. Our struggling democracy. The income gap. Technology and artificial intelligence. At first glance, these things might not seem connected, but upon closer inspection, I find they’re all part of one impulse, and together they create the web of humanity—and our future.

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‘The Singularity & Socialism’ - an interview with author C. James Townsend

by B. J. Murphy

The Singularity is near! That’s what a lot of us futurists have been planning for since we first came to understand the exponential growth rate of information technologies. What this technological singularity entails, however, is an entirely different question, and one of which requires radical thinking. One such author, C. James Townsend, has ventured himself on the quest of answering this very question – not just from a scientific or technological viewpoint, but equally an economic and political one as well!

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How many X-Risks for Humanity? This Roadmap has 100 Doomsday Scenarios

by Alexey Turchin

In 2008 I was working on a Russian language book “Structure of the Global Catastrophe”.  I showed it to a friend to review, the geologist Aranovich, an old friend of my late mother’s husband.

We started to discuss Stevenson’s probe — a hypothetical vehicle which could reach the earth’s core by melting its way through the mantle, taking scientific instruments with it. It would take the form of a large drop of molten iron – at least 60,000 tons – theoretically feasible, but practically impossible.

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Two Major Hardware Upgrades for Humanity: Mindfulness and Shamelessness

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

I’ve been thinking a lot about connectivity lately. On many levels. From the fact that Comcast really is just a horrible ISP, to the connection between the ecosystems on Earth, I think it’s safe to say we’re not separate entities. We are intimately connected within webs, both virtually (which is why when we all want to stream Netflix in the neighborhood, our internet slows around here) and materially (which is there is a link between an increase of flesh eating bacteria on our beaches after a major oil spill—those little guys just love a good tarball.)

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Split the Earth: 50% for Humans, 50% for Protected Biodiversity Zones

by Alex Lightman

The Sixth Mass Extinction is upon us.

Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich has been studying extinction for decades; he published Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of Disappearing Species in 1981. Since that time Ehrlich has seen numbers that indicate the rate of extinction - of vertebrates, including mammals - is increasing.

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What’s the EROI (Energy Return on Investment) of Solar?

by Ramez Naam

There’s a graph making rounds lately showing the comparative EROIs of different electricity production methods. (EROI is Energy Return On Investment – how much energy we get back if we spend 1 unit of energy. For solar this means – how much more energy does a solar panel generate in its lifetime than is used to create it?)

This EROI graph that is making the rounds is being used to claim that solar and wind can’t support an industrialized society like ours.

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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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The Second Intelligent Species: How Humans Will Become as Irrelevant as Cockroaches

by Marshall Brain

Chapter 1 - The Origin and State of the First Intelligent Species

The following statement is something we all understand, but it bears repeating because it is perhaps the coolest, most interesting scientific fact that we know about our universe and human existence:

Hydrogen, given sufficient time, turns into people.

It is an amazing statement if you think about it. A collection of simple atoms swirling around in the early universe, combined with the ordinary laws of nature like gravity, created human beings living here on planet earth over the course of billions of years.

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We May be Systematically Underestimating the Probability of Annihilation

by Phil Torres

This article examines the risks posed by “unknown unknowns,” which I call monsters. It then introduces a taxonomy of the unknowable, and argues that one category of this taxonomy in particular should lead us to inflate our prior probability estimates of annihilation, whatever they happen to be. The lesson here is ultimately the same as the Doomsday Argument, except the reasoning is far more robust.

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If We No Longer Force People to Work to Meet Their Basic Needs, Won’t They Stop Working?

by Scott Santens

What underlies a question like this is that it’s okay to force people to work by withholding what they need to live, in order to force them to work for us. And at the same time, because they are forced, we don’t even pay them enough to meet their basic needs that we are withholding to force them to work.

What is a good word to describe this?

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Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck

by Scott Santens

Late last year, I took a road trip with my partner from our home in New Orleans, Louisiana to Orlando, Florida and as we drove by town after town, we got to talking about the potential effects self-driving vehicle technology would have not only on truckers themselves, but on all the local economies dependent on trucker salaries. Once one starts wondering about this kind of one-two punch to America’s gut, one sees the prospects aren’t pretty.

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Solar + Wind, More Than the Sum of Their Parts

by Ramez Naam

David Roberts has an amazing first post in his new job at Vox, on why a solar future is inevitable.

Full Story...

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