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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Cyber

Baum, Pellissier @ Global Existential Risks and Radical Futures
June 14
Piedmont, CA USA




MULTIMEDIA: Cyber Topics

Digital Rights Management

Government & Surveillance

Give Edward Snowden Clemency!

How The Grinch Stole an NFL Gnome – The Future of Manufacturing and Distribution

TechDebate: Lethal Autonomous (“Killer”) Robots

Terasem’s Lifenaut Project: Be The Author of Your Own Story

Futurists discuss The Transhumanist Wager

Transhumanism - Antecedents & the Future

Ignite San Francisco 6: The Wired Brain

The Love Police: Megaphone the Drone

Online Dating

Can Video Games Become the Next Great Spectator Sport?

Meet BRCK, Internet access built for Africa

What are the Most “Frightening” and Exciting Technologies of the Future?

Developing Safe AI




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Cyber Topics




Black Death for the Internet?

by Kathryn Cave

Will viruses be the digital era’s Black Death?



Equality, Fairness and the Threat of Algocracy: Should we embrace automated predictive data-mining?

by John Danaher

I’ve looked at data-mining and predictive analytics before on this blog. As you know, there are many concerns about this type of technology and the increasing role it plays in our lives. Thus, for example, people are concerned about the oftentimes hidden way in which our data is collected prior to being “mined”. And they are concerned about how it is used by governments and corporations to guide their decision-making processes. Will we be unfairly targetted by the data-mining algorithms? Will they exercise too much control over socially important decision-making processes? I’ve reviewed some of these concerns before.



Majority of IEET Readers see AGI as Potential Threat to Humanity

We asked whether “artificial general intelligence with self-awareness” or “uploaded personalities or emulations of human brains” were more of a threat to human beings. Almost three times as many of you thought AGI was more of a threat than uploaded personalities, and overall 62% of the 245 respondents thought one or the other or both were a threat.

Full Story...



How the Web Will Implode

by Rick Searle

Jeff Stibel is either a genius when it comes to titles, or has one hell of an editor. The name of his recent book Breakpoint: Why the web will implode, search will be obsolete, and everything you need to know about technology is in your brain was about as intriguing as I had found a title, at least since The Joys of X. In many ways, the book delivers on the promise of its title, making an incredibly compelling argument for how we should be looking at the trend lines in technology, a book which is chalk full of surprising and original observations.



Special Issue of JET: Hughes, Walker, Campa & Danaher on Tech Unemployment and BIG

The special issue of the Journal of Evolution and Technology is published and has nine essays on technological unemployment and the basic income guarantee, six of them by IEETers.

Full Story...



Big Data and the Vices of Transparency

by John Danaher

Data-mining algorithms are increasingly being used to monitor and enforce governmental policies. For example, they are being used to shortlist people for tax auditing by the revenue services in several countries. They are also used by businesses to identify and target potential customers.



Real Identity on the Internet (My Variation)

by Kelly Hills

What is a digital trail? How can all your blog posts, photos, opinions, articles, and news affect your personal, professional and academic life? What is happening to the internet and how is affecting people in the real world? Kelly Hills tells us about her own personal story and how life online is a bit more complicated than you might expect.



The Dark Side of a World Without Boundaries

by Rick Searle

The problem I see with Nicolelis’ view of the future of neuroscience, which I discussed last time, is not that I find it unlikely that a good deal of his optimistic predictions will someday come to pass, it is that he spends no time at all talking about the darker potential of such technology.



Three Strikes and We’re Out (of the open Internet)

by Brenda Cooper

Someone interviewing me for a magazine asked me what current technology tomorrow’s children would find obsolete.  I almost answered “The Internet.”  Then I decided to think about that answer a little bit because it’s pretty scary. Then I decided it’s true. Shortly, humans may find today’s wide open Internet as archaic as we now find phones that are wired to walls. Here’s why.  There are three huge pressures on the internet as we know it today – the one where I can write this essay, post it on my website, and you can find it and read it.  Whoever you are.



Big Data, Predictive Algorithms and the Virtues of Transparency (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This is the second part in a short series of posts on predictive algorithms and the virtues of transparency. The series is working off some ideas in Tal Zarsky’s article “Transparent Predictions”. The series is written against the backdrop of the increasingly widespread use of data-mining and predictive algorithms and the concerns this has raised.



Just the Right Amount of Cyber Fear

by Patrick Lin

A new book provides a sensible, engaging rundown of the threats we face.



Keep On Tweeting, There’s No Techno-Fix For Incivility Or Injustice

by Evan Selinger

It would be nice to believe that the road to civility could be paved by following simple formulae, like Frank Bruni’s New Year’s exhortation, “Tweet less, read more”. Unfortunately, uncomplicated Op-Ed advice doesn’t translate into effective results in the messy real world.



#5 How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?

by Richard Stallman

The current level of general surveillance in society is incompatible with human rights. To recover our freedom and restore democracy, we must reduce surveillance to the point where it is possible for whistleblowers of all kinds to talk with journalists without being spotted. To do this reliably, we must reduce the surveillance capacity of the systems we use.



The Worst Lies You’ve Been Told About the Singularity

by George Dvorsky

You've probably heard of a concept known as the Technological Singularity — a nebulous event that's supposed to happen in the not-too-distant future. Much of the uncertainty surrounding this possibility, however, has led to wild speculation, confusion, and outright denial. Here are the worst myths you've been told about the Singularity.



What is Parents’ Responsibility to Protect Children’s Privacy Online?

by R. J. Crayton

There’s a new “viral” video making the rounds. It’s a 15-minute pro gay-marriage film that interviews children about the concepts of prejudice, fairness and gay marriage. All the children in the video except one seem to think that basic principles of fairness should apply to men marrying men and women marrying women. However, throughout the video, one kid insists gay marriage “is just wrong.” When pressed for why this is so, the boy (who appears to be a five- or six-year-old) can provide no reason for his assertion.



Internet Security Is Our Responsibility

by William Sheppard

As we learn more and more details regarding government spying, it seems more and more foolhardy to trust our security to third party businesses.The state requires information on its subjects to be effective. From the first census in Egypt more than 5000 years ago, states have sought personal information on their citizens, especially in tyrannical states, where informants and secret police gather information on any and all potentially subversive activities.



What You Don’t Say About Data Can Still Hurt You

by Evan Selinger

Big data generates big myths. To help society set realistic expectations, the right kind of skepticism is needed. Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and Visiting Professor at MIT’s Center for Civic Media, does a fantastic job of explaining why folks are too optimistic about the promise of what big data can offer. She rightly argues that too much faith in it inclines us to misunderstand what data reflects, overestimate the political efficacy of information, and become insensitive to civil rights concerns.



The Problem with Free Speech and Silicon Valley

by Sean Vitka

For Google* there was Innocence of Muslims. For Twitter, there were, and still are, rape threats. For Facebook, now there are decapitations. Facebook’s controversy is the newest in a long line of quagmires that make companies—or at least their customers—question American platitudes about free speech. It comes after Facebook briefly decided not to ban one video of the brutal decapitation of a woman in Mexico to go viral.



How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?

by Richard Stallman

The current level of general surveillance in society is incompatible with human rights. To recover our freedom and restore democracy, we must reduce surveillance to the point where it is possible for whistleblowers of all kinds to talk with journalists without being spotted. To do this reliably, we must reduce the surveillance capacity of the systems we use.



A Buddhist Approach to AI

by Daniel J. Neumann

Humanity is on the threshold of technologies so great; we may not be mature enough to handle them. The converging technologies predicted by Kurzweil’s Singularity offer technological paradigm-shifts. More interestingly to me, Artificial Intelligence (AI) may become more self-aware than humans. The imperatives for creating smarter-than-human AI sheds light on a possible solution to our blind drive for more technology without consideration.



‘What seems to be the problem?’ – Hollywood’s anti-immortality

by B. J. Murphy

It’s no secret that Hollywood is known for its anti-technology films, stirring fear of a supposed robot-led apocalypse – ranging from The Matrix, the Terminator series, I Robot, THX 1138, Metropolis, etc. etc. So little number of films have been done with an opposite direction in the storyline, i.e. Robot & Frank, A.I., Short Circuit.



Big Data in Small Hands

by Evan Selinger

“Big data” can be defined as a problem-solving philosophy that leverages massive datasets and algorithmic analysis to extract “hidden information and surprising correlations.” Not only does big data pose a threat to traditional notions of privacy, but it also compromises socially shared information. This point remains underappreciated because our so-called public disclosures are not nearly as public as courts and policymakers have argued—at least, not yet. That is subject to change once big data becomes user friendly.



Can a computer have consciousness?

by George Deane

The computational theory of mind is a view often tacitly held by some of the world’s most preeminent thinkers, especially in neuroscience and artificial intelligence. Much of the hope that technology will one day allow for mind uploading and conscious artificial intelligence is based on the unfounded assumption that computationalism is true; that if we have a system that behaves as if it is conscious then that is good enough reason to attribute consciousness to it.



Manning Show Trial Exposes the Fraud of Representative Democracy

by Kevin Carson

Major Ashlend Fein, US Army prosecutor in Bradley Manning’s court martial, caught my attention when he referred to Manning as an “anarchist” in closing arguments. As an anarchist, I’d be proud to share that label with Manning. But I’ve never heard from any reliable source that he considers himself one.



Transhumanism, Technoprogressivism and Singularitarianism: What are the Differences?

by J. Hughes

In the recent IEET survey we asked about your support or opposition to a variety of movements including transhumanism and singularitarianism.  Your answers allow us to tease apart some of the differences between these two movements.

Full Story...



Filling in the gaps – understanding white space spectrum

by Lee-Roy Chetty

Technological innovation and information communication technologies (ICTs) represent a way for developing world nations to foster economic growth and development, improve levels of education and training, as well as address gender issues within society.



If Everyone Has Something to Hide, Then It’s Not Surveillance that is the Problem

by Jon Perry

Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution recently wrote a post called No One is Innocent:
“I broke the law yesterday and again today and I will probably break the law tomorrow. Don’t mistake me, I have done nothing wrong. I don’t even know what laws I have broken. Nevertheless, I am reasonably confident that I have broken some laws, rules, or regulations recently because its hard for anyone to live today without breaking the law. Doubt me? Have you ever thrown out some junk mail that came to your house but was addressed to someone else? That’s a violation of federal law punishable by up to 5 years in prison…



The Algorithms Are Coming!

by Rick Searle

It might not make a great b-movie from the late 50’s, but the rise of the algorithms over the last decade has been just as thrilling, spectacular, and yes, sometimes even scary.



Ed Snowden - Human Hero Intervenes on Machine Logic

by Doug Rushkoff

When I was a kid, I remember a guy named Daniel Ellsberg leaking some classified documents to the New York Times about the Vietnam War called “the Pentagon Papers.” When the whistleblower finally stood trial for espionage, my parents weren’t quite sure how to feel. But when Richard Nixon’s crew was revealed to have been conducting illegal wiretaps in an effort to discredit the former intelligence contractor, well, they were outraged and decided Ellsberg was a hero. So did the judge and most of America. 



The Temptations of Data vs. The Temptations of Privacy

by Patrick Hopkins

After a former NSA contractor revealed extensive US government data mining operations, pundits, activists, and journalists proclaimed “I’m outraged the government would do this!” But there was also another type of response, though more muted. Some of us said “I sure as hell hope the government is doing this.”

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