We have our views about how we should establish some more efficient and equitable system depending on how we as individuals view issues facing humanity. Some of us want to ‘save’ the economy, the environment, or deal with political corruption. But when we think about solutions, we should consider that man-made systems are not pre-established, they’re emergent.
The IEET would like to collaborate with active members of our community in writing technoprogressive policy documents to be included in the Technoprogressive Policy Wiki, as well as longer technoprogressive white papers.
The promotion of growth through increased intra-trade and deeper regional economic integration hold much promise in the Southern African region. In particular, with the mixed economies of low and medium income countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), regional integration offers tangible possibilities to leverage and extend economic comparative advantage at a regional level in ways not accessible through national programs.
A basic income (also called basic income guarantee, unconditional basic income, universal basic income or citizen’s income) is a proposed system of social security that regularly provides each citizen with a sum of money unconditionally. Unlike a Guaranteed minimum income, a basic income is entirely unconditional: the only requirement for receiving it is to be a citizen and/or resident of the country without means test. Instead, a minimum income may be conditional upon participating in government enforced labor or other conditional means testing. A basic income of any amount less than the social minimum is sometimes referred to as a ‘partial basic income’. Similar proposals for “capital grants provided at the age of majority” date to Thomas Paine’s Agrarian Justice of 1795, there paired with asset-based egalitarianism.
Project Prevention paid a total of 4,613 people, including eighty-four men, to get one of these birth-control procedures, including IUDs, tubal ligation, Depo-Provera, implanon, or vasectomy over its first fifteen years of operation.iii The project began in California after Harris failed to pass a bill to establish criminal penalties for mothers who consume. Harris began this crusade after adopting four children of a crack-addicted mother in Los Angeles. She responded in a reactionary manner, blaming parents, without much if any sympathy for those who suffer systemic oppression.
Human beings have a very limited attention span, a fact amplified a thousand fold by modern media. It seems the “news” can consist of a only handful of widely followed stories at a time, and only one truly complex narrative. This is a shame because the recent breaking of one substantial news story was followed by the breaking of another one which knocked it out of the field of our electronic tunnel vision. Without some narrative connecting the two only one can really hold our attention at a time. Neither of these stories have to do with Kate Middleton and the birth of Prince George.
James Hughes appeared on Huff Post Live on July 26th to defend the work of the controversial Project Prevention led by its Director, Barbara Harris. Project Prevention focuses on paying largely poor, drug-addicted women to not have children by subsidizing them three-hundred dollars each when they secure some form of long-term birth control. Long term birth control methods include Intra-uterine Devices (IUDs), tubal ligation, sterilization, or for their few male clients, vasectomies.
Anti-aging activist Aubrey de Grey has identified medical advances that will eliminate much of the wear and tear our bodies suffer, as we grow old. Those who undergo continuous repair treatments, de Grey said in a Futurist Magazine article; could remain healthy for millennia without fears of dying from old age.
Whether or not some form of life extension treatment is possible remains to be seen. Even less imminent than extending lifespan is the prospect of some form regenerative therapies (or modifications) that reduce effective lifespan and restore some form of youthfulness. ‘The person on the street’ tends to estimate how close these treatments might be.
In this response to John Danaher’s piece on Moral Enhancement (Part 1, Part 2,Part 3) Richard Stallman interrogates the difference between morality substitutes and morality enhancers, and the role of cognition in moral behavior.
It’s hard to be fat in general, but as a spokesperson for a movement purporting to advocate the evolution of humanity to greater health, ability and longevity I was always embarrassed about the weight I was carrying around. (I have a New Yorker cartoon on my wall of a fat man telling a disappointed thin man “I’m from your future.”) Recently through cyborgification I’ve been able to get back into my recommended weight range. Knowing that some of my friends are either curious if I’m seriously ill, or how I accomplished this, I thought I’d share the story.
Let’s imagine that current trends continue, and technology continues to drive down the price of various goods. We could eventually end up with a world in which artificial intelligence equals human beings in most tasks, household devices can manufacture physical goods with atomic precision, transportation is fully automated, solar energy is plentiful, and high volumes of useful data freely flow from person to person.
Of course, no one can forecast with 100% accuracy how the future will progress; but if we look at what experts predict might become possible over the next two-to-three decades; and then blend in some scenarios that push the envelope – an incredible future begins to take form.
When is it ethically acceptable to harm another sentient being? On some fairly modest assumptions, to harm or kill someone simply on the grounds they belong to a different gender, sexual orientation or ethnic group is unjustified. Such distinctions are real but ethically irrelevant. On the other hand, species membership is normally reckoned an ethically relevant criterion. Fundamental to our conceptual scheme is the pre-Darwinian distinction between “humans” and “animals”.
In the recent IEET survey we asked “When there are safe cures for these conditions should parents be legally obliged to provide them for their children?” and offered examples ranging from cerebral palsy to ADD. The more than 500 respondents were surprisingly supportive of legal obligations to provide these treatments to children, with majorities in support of all the treatments. Of course some of you were more supportive than others.
Singularity topics, being in many ways theories of everything, and Transhumanist topics, being relevantly political and ethical, are subject matters that lend themselves to broad conceptual discourse, often of, and related to existentialism. Mark Coeckelbergh’s publication Human Being @ Risk: Enhancement, Vulnerability, and the Evaluation of Vulnerability Transformations, is a thoughtful and bold exercise in relating Transhumanist discourse to historic and present day academic existentialism and anthropology, and offers a considered evaluation of core Transhumanist beliefs.
Imagine a machine that cleans house, sets the table, creates and serves meals, provides security, and expresses compliments that enhance our ego. This may sound like something out of The Jetsons, but researchers believe that we will one day share our homes with superintelligent household robots that crave to serve our every whim.
International trade has recovered since the economic crisis of 2008-2009 which initially resulted in a worldwide slump in demand and in the liquidity that fuels the movement of goods and services across borders. However, despite this global incremental recovery, slow output growth, high unemployment and economic uncertainty persist across the European Union, while other developed markets have struggled to return to their pre-crisis highs.
Advocates of human enhancement often say that we ought to increase our intelligence as a species. But the consequences of actually doing this have never fully been explored. An excessive amount of intelligence might actually prove to be a bad thing — and a distraction from what really matters.
Suppose you are an athlete, training for the Olympic games. Your coach enters your changing room one morning and offers you a choice. You can either follow a rigorous training program for the next six months, or you can take a handful of magic pills and take the next six months off. Either way you’ll be prepared for the Olympic games. Which should you choose?
“The year is 2032. You have just celebrated your 80th birthday and you have some tough decisions ahead. You can keep repairing your current body or move into a new one. The growing of ‘blank’ bodies has become one of the fastest advancing health industries in the world, and by using your own genetic material, body farmers can recreate your biological condition at age 20.” The above scenario was taken from “When Death Becomes Optional,” written by Google’s top-rated Futurist, Thomas Frey in a recent K21st article.
As you may have observed, I’m repeatedly drawn to the enhancement debate. I can’t exactly say why. Prima facie, it doesn’t seem particularly interesting (from an intellectual perspective): after all, who could object to “enhancement”? But, of course, it’s more complicated than that. Indeed, one of the alluring aspects of the debate has to do with the terminology in which it is couched.
If you could take a pill that would make you more moral, would you do it? It sounds attractive. I know that I often fail to be as compassionate or as charitable as I ought to be. If there was some way for me to overcome these moral failings I would be inclined to take it. But if I took, say, a compassion-pill would my actions be tainted thereafter? Would they be less morally commendable than they might otherwise have been?
This post is going to be a, rather self-indulgent, philosophical analysis of a key component of the Star Trek canon: the Kobayashi Maru Test. (Don’t worry, I’ll be explaining for all the naifs out there.) I suppose I should apologise in advance to all those non-Star Trek fans out there, but I recommend persevering with these two entries anyway since I think they contains some interesting material. Then again, I would say that.
Although today, technologies that can accurately simulate a deceased person’s life experience, their consciousness, emotions, and memories do not exist, many experts believe that exponential advances in computers, artificial intelligence, and communications technologies could bring this dream into reality by mid-century or before.
In what is perhaps the most absurd attack on transhumanism to date, Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com equates this broad philosophy and movement with “the entire idea that you can ‘upload your mind to a computer’” and further posits that the only kind of possible mind uploading is the destructive kind, where the original, biological organism ceases to exist. Adams goes so far as calling transhumanism a “death cult much like the infamous Heaven’s Gate cult led by Marshal Applewhite.”
As our technologies take us from the theoretical to the practical, a number of thorny moral quandaries remain unanswered. Here are important unresolved ethical questions that are on the verge of becoming highly relevant.
Is it worth going to four years of university to earn two degrees which did not automatically ensure employment? Extrapolating further into the future, what would the value of a college level education be in an economy where professions originally only the domain of humans had been mechanized? Would technical or vocational educations still be a valuable investment if those fields were mechanized?
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