Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


Brin on “Beyond Curing Disease”
October 25-29
Indian Wells, CA USA

Brin on “Human Augmentation” @ Innovation Outreach Program
October 26
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Sorgner@7th LUMEN international conference
November 12-14
Targoviste, Romania

Sorgner @ Transhumanism: Perspektiven, Chancen, Risiken
December 5
Nürnberg, Germany

MULTIMEDIA: Enablement Topics

Life, Death and Palliative Care

Alzheimer’s is Not Normal Aging and We Can Cure It

Ethical Implications of Anti-Aging Medicine

Could We Live Forever?

Mindful Meditation Makes Us Better Thinkers

Gene Therapy is NOT a Monstrous Science / Singularity 1on1

Digital Stroke

Technology Made Us Human

10 Amazing Robots That Will Change the World

First Video Camera to Use Artificial Intelligence to Identify and Self-Edit

Artificial Intelligence for the Blind

Fashion industry’s First Transgender Modeling Agency

Moral Enhancement: Do Means Matter Morally?

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

Reason, Emotion and Morality: Some Cautions for the Enhancement Project

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Enablement Topics

Can we upload our minds? Hauskeller on Mind-Uploading (Part One)

by John Danaher

A lot of people would like to live forever, or at least for much longer than they currently do. But there is one obvious impediment to this: our biological bodies break down over time and cannot (with current technologies) be sustained indefinitely. So what can be done to avoid our seemingly inevitable demise? For some, like Aubrey de Grey, the answer lies in tweaking and re-engineering our biological bodies. For others, the answer lies in the more radical solution of mind-uploading, or the technological replacement of our current biological bodies.

Science Fiction and the occulted canvass of time

by Rick Searle

In a recent interview the ever insightful and expansive Vernor Vinge laid out his thoughts on possibility and the future. Vinge, of course, is the man who helped invent the idea of the Singularity, the concept that we are in an era of ever accelerating change, whose future, beyond a certain point,- we cannot see. For me, the interesting thing in the Vinge interview is just how important a role he thinks imagination plays in pulling us forward into new technological and social possibilities.

Transhumanism, Technology, and Science: To Say It’s Impossible is to Mock History Itself

by Franco Cortese

One of the most common arguments made against Transhumanism, Technoprogressivism and the transformative potentials of emerging, converging, disruptive and transformative technologies may also be the weakest: technical infeasibility. While some thinkers attack the veracity of Transhumanist claims on moral grounds, arguing that we are committing a transgression against human dignity (in turn often based on ontological grounds of a static human nature that shan't be tampered with) or on grounds of safety, arguing that humanity isn't responsible enough to wield such technologies without unleashing their destructive capabilities, these categories of counter-argument (ethicacy and safety, respectively) are more often than not made by people somewhat more familiar with the community and its common points of rhetoric.

Key variables which impact the demand for labor in Africa

by Lee-Roy Chetty

The structure of many African economies is unbalanced and unable to deliver labor intensive and inclusive growth. Most African economies are characterized by both excessive dependence on export revenues from a few commodities and external financial flows (FDI, aid and remittances) and a weak industrial base and predominance of subsistence agriculture.

The Transhumanist Wager: book review

by Giulio Prisco

Zoltan IstvanThe Transhumanist Wager is an epic story of radical libertarian ideas, their enemies, and the violent global conflict that ensues, painted in strong saturated colors with little room for intermediate shades and character development. After reading cover to cover, and then reading it more carefully, I have mixed love/hate feelings about this novel.

Molecular nanotech: So long, scarcity, hello healthier, longer lives

by Dick Pelletier

Whether you believe it, or think it’s just too bizarre to be true, this most hyped science of all time – molecular nanotech – promises a utopian future with scarcity-free lifestyles for everyone on the planet; and healthcare miracles that could one day push human lifespan to the edge of immortality.

Automated systems: incredible world will soon be ours to enjoy

by Dick Pelletier

You enter the supermarket, grab an electronic cart that recognizes you from your touch, toss in some bags and begin shopping. The monitor on your ‘smart cart’ displays products, price, and total amount spent; and subtracts items returned to the shelf.

The Specter of Eugenics: IQ, White Supremacy, and Human Enhancement

by Benjamin Abbott

The recent controversy surrounding Jason Richwine’s Havard dissertation “IQ and Immigration Policy” serves as an opportune point of departure for reflecting on biological determinism in transhumanist thought. Are transhumanists, as Michael Anissimov says, eugenicists without the coercion? What does channeling eugenics in a white-supremacist society mean and do? Why the obsession with IQ among various transhumanists, particularly AI enthusiasts?

The Role of Agriculture in Meeting Socioeconomic Needs

by Lee-Roy Chetty

Agriculture remains at the center of the African continent’s socio-economic development. It contributes a third of Africa’s total GDP, albeit with regional diversities driven by differences in weather and climatic conditions, the economic value of agricultural products, and the importance of other resources.

Is Price-Performance the Wrong Measure for a Coming Intelligence-Explosion?

by Franco Cortese

Most thinkers speculating on the coming of an intelligence explosion (whether via AGI or uploading), such as Ray Kurzweil [1] and Hans Moravec [2], typically use computational price performance as the best measure for an impending intelligence explosion (e.g. Kurzweil’s measure is when enough processing power to satisfy his estimates for basic processing power required to simulate the human brain costs $1,000). However, I think an lurking assumption lies here: that it won’t be much of an explosion unless available to the average person. Ipresent a scenario below that may indicate that the imminence of a coming intelligence-explosion is more impacted by basic processing speed – or instructions per second (ISP), regardless of cost or resource requirements per unit of computation, than it is by computational price performance.

Humans may soon regenerate damaged body parts like salamanders

by George Dvorsky

Australian researchers have isolated an immune system cell in salamanders which helps it regenerate missing limbs and damaged organs — and they suspect the same thing could work in humans, too. Salamanders, or axolotls, are unique among vertebrates in that they’ve got remarkable regenerative powers. Adults can literally regrow and restore function to any part of the body, including the spinal cord and heart — even parts of the brain. Moreover, the regenerated tissue is scar free; once repaired, the new tissue looks almost the same as it was before.

Inventing a New World

by Rick Searle

I had been anxiously awaiting Stewart Brand’s scheduled talk at The Long Now which he gave this last Tuesday. Revive and Restore Brand’s project which will explore the prospect of bringing back extinct species is just the latest project of this intellectual maverick and pied-piper of the digital, and what may now be the opening rounds of the biological age. Brand has been a sort of weathervane for the cultural winds of American, or rather a very influential subset of American culture.

Why the Market and Tech. Arent Playing Well Together (and 5 Possible Solutions to Fix the Problem)

by Jon Perry

The impact of new technologies on the economy is a hot topic right now. Just a few years ago, the idea of machines replacing human labor was widely dismissed, but now a growing number of pundits and economists are expressing concerns about the impact of automation technologies and the possibility of technological unemployment.

The Hubris of Neo-Luddism

by Franco Cortese

One of the most common anti-Transhumanist tropes one finds recurring throughout Transhumanist rhetoric is our supposedly rampant hubris. Hubris is an ancient Greek concept meaning excess of pride that carries connotations of reckless vanity and heedless self-absorbment, often to the point of carelessly endangering the welfare of others in the process. It paints us in a selfish and dangerous light, as though we were striving for the technological betterment of ourselves alone and the improvement of the human condition solely as it pertains to ourselves, so as to be enhanced relative to the majority of humanity.

Abolition is Imperative in Kurzweil’s Sixth Epoch Scenario

by Jønathan Lyons

Consider the Abolition Society, the Abolitionists Against Suffering group on facebook, and the philosophy of Dr. David Pearce, who is "a British utilitarian philosopher and transhumanist, who promotes the idea that there exists a strong ethical imperative for humans to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life.

End of Eating Food

by Dick Pelletier

Eating food could be replaced by nanorobot nutrient delivery system.

Apple Pie May Be American, But Apple Computer Isn’t - Not Anymore

by Richard Eskow

Did you know that Apple Computer was a foreign entity? Did you know that it’s more Irish than anything else, at least as far as taxes are concerned? Or that it pays very little in income tax, even though its products wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for projects funded by U.S. taxes?

Engineering the Future: Geoengineering

by Christopher Reinert

Geoengineering has an image problem. Some proposed geoengineering projects, such as space mirrors or cloud seeding, seem like they come from the pages of a science fiction novel. Those who propose these projects are treated with belittling rhetoric. Other projects face a different type of imaging problem; the project’s proponents are accused of having vague or unspecified goals and timelines. Such projects are summarily dismissed as being idealistic, out of touch or nebulous.

The singularity: merging human/machine to achieve immortality

by Dick Pelletier

  By around mid-century, many future followers predict the pace of technological progression in genetics, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence will become so fast that humans will undergo radical evolution. Advances that provide a forever youthful and healthy state of being could be realized.

Should Transhumanists Abandon the Corporatist Capitalist model?

by Khannea Suntzu

In Khannea SunTzu remarkable new novel she’ll never write - The NeoProgressive’s New Deal - the leader character, Cassandra Assange (Daughter of Julian Assange, born in 2003), is the target of literal micro drone assassination attempts, a vicious media campaign and endless incapacitating litigation. She became a political activist like her father in the mid 2020s, and exemplified the new counter-cultural ideal. Militantly lesbian and technoprogressive she gave birth of a clone of her wife, and her wife gave birth to a clone of Cassandra in the late 2020s.

The Far Futures Project

by Rick Searle

When I was a kid there was a series on Nostradamus narrated by an Orson Welles surrounded in cigar smoke and false gravitas. I had not seen The Man Who Saw Tomorrow for over 30 years, though thanks to the miracle of Youtube I was able to find it here.  Amazingly enough, I still remember Part 9 of the series in which the blue- turbaned, Islamic, 3rd antichrist allied with the Soviet Union plunges the world into thermonuclear war. I also remember the ending- scenes of budding flowers and sunshine signaling the rebirth of nature and humanity, a period of peace and prosperity to last 1,000 years.

Will the Catholic Bishops Decide How You Die?

by Valerie Tarico

What happens when religious institutions get to manage public funds, absorb secular hospitals, and put theology above medical science and individual patient conscience?

Shame, Stigma and Angelina Jolie’s Breasts

by Kelly Hills

As reactions continue to race around the internet about Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery – the actual discussions, not the Monday-morning quarterbacking of her decision or the utterly vile “but what about her boobies” reaction from that particular subgroup of men who manage to amaze me by their continued ability to manage basic functions like breathing – I’ve been sent links.

Organ, tissue replacement could end aging by mid-2020s

by Dick Pelletier

As we trek through the next decade, older citizens might look in the mirror and wonder, “Who is that gorgeous creature?” Their reflection would reveal a body filled with enthusiasm, sporting a dazzling smile, wrinkle-free skin, perfect vision, natural hair color, real teeth, and an amazing sharp mind and memory.

Do these startling longevity studies mean your lifespan could double?

by George Dvorsky

Biologists have successfully extended the life spans of some mice by as much as 70%, leading many to believe that ongoing experimentation on our mammalian cousins will eventually lead to life-extending therapies in humans. But how reliable are these studies? And do they really apply to humans? We asked the experts.

Africa’s competitiveness mandate

by Lee-Roy Chetty

In total, Africa’s growth rate has averaged well above 5% in the past decade, after 20 difficult years of flat and often negative growth in several countries. The challenge for the continent in the coming years is whether Africa will be able to maintain these impressive growth rates, and whether future growth will be built on the types of productivity enhancements that are associated with rising living standards.

Curiosity is the Engine of Achievement

by David Eubanks

The title is a quote from a Ken Robinson Education TED talk. Another is “Teaching is not a delivery system.” It’s worth a listen

Prosthetic Technology and Human Enhancement: Benefits, Concerns and Regulatory Schemes Pt3

by John Niman

For the purposes of this paper, I will only address one potential regulatory scheme, and only in conjunction with prosthetic enhancement available in the near future ( less than 10 years) that augments slightly, but not significantly, human biological capabilities. I will not address the convergence of technology and the regulatory scheme needed to address that.

Vernor Vinge on Technological Unemployment

by Jon Perry

Vernor Vinge is consistently one of the most interesting and conceptually dense futurists I’ve had an opportunity to listen to. While watching this excellent talk of his at Singularity University, my ears perked up at the mention of technological unemployment, the primary focus of this blog.

Dilbert, Skynet and the latest from the transparency front

by David Brin

Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) and I have both agreed and disagreed about transparency, for years. In his posting, Crime and Privacy, he has opined, for example, that Ironically, the more the government clamps down on individual privacy, the more freedom the residents will have. When the government can detect every sort of crime, it will be forced by public opinion and by resource constraints to legalize anything it can detect but can’t stop.”

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