Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


MULTIMEDIA: Bioculture Topics


Could new gene therapies help us live for much longer?

Europeans Are Desperate for Babies

How Young Blood Might Help Reverse Aging. Yes, Really

How Quantum Biology Might Explain Life’s Biggest Questions

Evolution Will Change How You See The World

Digital Stroke

Technology Made Us Human

The Science of Why Nature Is Beautiful to Us

Human Nature and the Spectre of Human Enhancement


Crypto-Transhumanist Ad for a Canadian Independent MP

What is the Future of Movies?

Does Homosexuality Make Evolutionary Sense?

The Awareness

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Bioculture Topics

Are #ShoutYourAbortion and #HayleysIUD the Next Phase of the Sexual Revolution?

by Valerie Tarico

What prompts a young woman to shout her abortion or live tweet her IUD insertion?

The most lasting effect of the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood may be this: Young women are done–beyond done–with being shamed for the fact that they are sexual beings, with sexual bodies that have tits and asses and twats and vaginas and uteruses.

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Ethics in Treatment With Telomerase

by Brian Hanley

Much is being made recently about telomerase as the cure for what ails you. Activating telomerase is touted by Bioviva as a supposed cure for Alzheimer’s disease. (In fact, the article referenced advances an hypothesis.) A PR announcement that appears related has appeared.

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Big Red Earth Rises: a Novel NGO for Sustainable Development in Madagascar

by Dustin Eirdosh

In 2012 I formed a collaboration between IEET, the EvoS Consortium, and Madagascar’s southwestern University of Toliara - to form the highly experimental Positive Education Action-Research (PEAR) Laboratory.  Under this umbrella, I worked with students in education sciences and agricultural sciences to explore everything from the big history of the cosmos, to the moral and political psychology of agricultural biotechnology.

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Autonomous cars & accidents: The human and financial standpoint

by Richard van Hooijdonk

In our previous post, we saw how autonomous self-driving cars will transform every aspect of our lives. Cities will change the way they function and develop, travelling will become safe and efficient and car manufacturers will have to look for newer methods to survive the competition. One major issue with these autonomous cars is the fear of being driven around by a machine.

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Solving Problems With Collective Intelligence – Towards an Internet of Thinkers?

by Michael Hrenka

How can technology that we are able to build with today’s tools help us to solve the big problems of individuals, organizations, and the world at large? More specifically: How can we use the internet in the best way to improve our collective problem-solving capabilities? Questions like these don’t seem to be asked very often, perhaps because people usually focus on specific problems, rather than general problem-solving in its own right.

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How Nature Plays the Lottery

by James Cross

Rick Searle has a post Life: Inevitable or Accident?  where he discusses the somewhat contrasting ideas of Jeremy England and Henry Gee. I touched a little on Jeremy England in a post here.

England’s idea seems to be that the Second Law of Thermodynamics makes life inevitable. He has been quoted as saying that “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant.”

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Seven Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World Forever

by Gray Scott

When someone asks me what I do, and I tell them that I’m a futurist, the first thing they ask “what is a futurist?” The short answer that I give is “I use current scientific research in emerging technologies to imagine how we will live in the future.”

However, as you can imagine the art of futurology and foresight is much more complex. I spend my days thinking, speaking and writing about the future, and emerging technologies. On any given day I might be in Warsaw speaking at an Innovation Conference, in London speaking at a Global Leadership Summit, or being interviewed by the Discovery Channel. Whatever the situation, I have one singular mission. I want you to think about the future.

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Why Brave New World Is No Longer the Terrifying Dystopia it Used to Be

by George Dvorsky

Brave New World used to be one of the most terrifying stories about a false utopia. It gave us the concept of “test tube babies,” and its name became synonymous with technological progress run wild. But many of the things Aldous Huxley predicted are coming true, and it turns out they’re not so scary.

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Cryonics and Kim Suozzi

by John G. Messerly

A recent New York Times article chronicled 23-year-old Kim Suozzi’s decision to cryonically preserve her brain. Kim, who died recently of cancer, raised the money for her cryonic preservation by soliciting donations with this post at the subreddit “atheism” at the online site reddit—yes atheists can be generous people. Here is the video that accompanied the post:

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Technological Unemployment and the Value of Work (Series Index)

by John Danaher

Machines have long been displacing human labour, from the wheelbarrow and plough to the smartphone and self-driving car. In the past, this has had dramatic effects on how society is organised and how people spend their days, but it has never really led to long-term structural unemployment. Humans have always found other economically productive ways to spend their time.

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Victims of Our Age

by Franco Cortese

Aging is truly the travesty of our age. It constitutes the largest source of in-principle-preventable death in existence today – a toll of 100,000 real, feeling, hoping and daring human beings lost irreversibly for all time, per day. That’s a million human lives lost every one and a half weeks. A loss equal to the entire population of Canada every year, and to the entire U.S. population every decade. It accounts for three quarters of all deaths globally and for nine-tenths of all deaths in most developed countries. 

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The Electronic Frontier of Longevity and Control

by Brian Hanley

I have been pursuing gene therapies for aging, so my decision to discuss this goes against my current direction. We really don’t know what the limits are of what we might be able to do by playing the autonomic nervous system, but here are some thoughts to chew on.

The human brain is large, but 90% of your nervous system is outside your head. Researchers have found that interrupting vagus nerve signals to the brain can treat rheumatoid arthritis, as well as septic shock symptoms, however, some body subsystems may,  or may not be responsive to this manipulation. We know that nerves signaling the spleen is critical for interruption of sepsis.

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IEET Fellow David Brin Named 2015 NEH Visiting Fellow at Bard College

IEET Fellow David Brin has been named the first annual National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. David will be in residence at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College from Monday, October 5, to Sunday, October 25. As part of David’s fellowship, he will mentor selected Bard students on their fiction and nonfiction writing. Brin will also offer a number of lectures and discussions during his residency at Bard.

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Stalinism as Transhumanism

by Rick Searle

The ever controversial Steve Fuller has recently published a number of jolting essays at the IEET,(there has been a good discussion on David Roden’s blog on the topic), yet whatever one thinks about the prospect of zombie vs transhumanist apocalypse he has managed to raise serious questions for anyone who identifies themselves with the causes of transhumanism and techno-progressivism; namely, what is the proper role, if any, of the revolutionary, modernizing state in such movements and to what degree should the movement be open to violence as a means to achieve its ends? Both questions, I will argue, can best be answered by looking at the system constructed in the Soviet Union between 1929 and 1953 under the reign of Joseph Stalin.            

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Book Review: The Transhumanist Wager by Zoltan Istvan

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

I’ve found time to review another author’s work, “The Transhumanist Wager” by Zoltan Istvan. I had the pleasure of first meeting Zoltan at a Transhumanism conference near Berkeley, CA. In general, he’s a staunch advocate of the Transhuman movement - Zoltan is passionate about his work and he doesn’t mind stepping on a few toes to get his message out there.

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Digital, Physical, and Religious Immortality - is there Common Ground?

by Agbolade Omowole

I grew up with the mindset to make a difference because life is short. It is said that life is not a measure of your duration on earth, but a measure of your donation to humanity. I have stopped believing that.

There are two ways to live one’s life: by default or by design.  By default, humans grow and become very energetic between ages 18 to 40, after that his/her strength begin to fade. At old age, s/he becomes weak and age related disease make him/her die. His average healthspan is 80 years (in developed countries) and nothing can be done to live beyond a century. That’s the status quo.

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New Transhuman Policy Center Seeks Papers

by Steven Umbrello

The Transhumanism movement and philosophy have been growing a quite a rapid pace, and because of that its sometimes hard to keep up with all the newest technologies, subsidiary philosophical positions and current events.

That being said, some of you may have missed one of the latest initiatives with regards to pushing transhumanist ideals in the political realm, the Transhuman Policy Center.  The TPC’s goals are best summed up by its mission statement:

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Transhumanist Therapy V: The Paradoxes of Transcendental Humanism

by William Sims Bainbridge

Throughout history, small bands of radicals have attempted to transcend the ordinary limitations of human nature and current society.  Were they brave explorers voyaging into alien realms of the soul and intellect, or fools?  In either case, they apparently failed.  Or did they?  Perhaps we can learn from the past histories of perfectionist movements like Oneida and the Process, both of them precursors of contemporary Transhumanism, and from virtual worlds like A Tale in the Desert that today are building imaginary societies based on cooperation and innovative forms of communication.  The current crisis facing psychiatry and social psychology erodes the respect we might have felt for conventional attempts to transcend the human condition, giving renewed plausibility to utopian experiments.  If we are doomed to fail, we might as well do so in an interesting way!

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How Vertical Farming is Revolutionizing the Way We Grow Food

by George Dvorsky

Traditional farming is taking a huge toll on the environment—a problem that’s set to worsen due to our ever-growing global population. Yet there are some high-tech solutions. Here’s what you need to know about the burgeoning practice of controlled-environment agriculture and how it’s set to change everything from the foods we eat to the communities we live in.

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Should the Amount of Basic Income Vary With Cost of Living Differences?

by Scott Santens

The question of an unequal UBI

A common first question in response to the idea of unconditionally guaranteeing a monthly cash stipend to everyone sufficient to meet their basic needs is in regards to a potential need for differing amounts of basic income. Let’s examine this question from two perspectives: that of the individual and that of the location.

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Death - The Cunning Frontier

by Brian Hanley

We evolved to die. Our thymus involutes (withers away) in large part due to down-regulation of FoxN1. Once the thymus goes, it’s just a matter of time. Critical mitochondrial genes, GCAT & SHMT2, are turned off, and that causes oxidation damage that we interpreted as the cause of mitochondrial aging when it’s really the outcome. Upregulation ofATF4 expression results in muscle loss in aging. This list will lengthen the more we learn. Aging and death is no accident. It’s got value.

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We aren’t uniquely self-destructive, just inexcusably so

by Marcelo Rinesi

Natural History is an accretion of catastrophic side effects resulting from blind self-interest, each ecosystem an apocalyptic landscape to the previous generations and a paradise to the survivors’ thriving and well-adapted descendants. There was no subtle balance when the first photosynthetic organisms filled the atmosphere with the toxic waste of their metabolism. The dance of predator and prey takes its rhythm from the chaotic beat of famine, and its melody from an unreliable climate. Each biological innovation changes the shape of entire ecosystems, giving place to a new fleeting pattern than will only survive until the next one.

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Nitpicking Recent (Great) Hard Science Fiction Novels: AURORA and THE MARTIAN

by David Brin

Is interstellar travel by bio-humanity even possible?  Not according to my dear bro and esteemed colleague Kim Stanley Robinson. Whose new novel AURORA follows one of the first… and possibly last… efforts to send a generation starship to a neighboring star. Naturally, any KSR book is worth rushing out to purchase… though like many of his other works, there is a very strong sense that the author has a point to make. 

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Transhumanisme et Décroissance

by Marc Roux

Pourquoi et comment est-il possible de concevoir une évolution transhumaniste dans un contexte de Décroissance?

Une opposition en apparence

À la lecture des publications proposées par le courant des “objecteurs de croissance”[1], on pourrait être amenés à penser que ce mouvement n’a strictement rien à échanger avec le Transhumanisme. Leur présentation relève de la critique la plus radicale, la plus hostile même, se confondant avec celle d’une organisation comme l’association Pièce et Main d’Oeuvre. Leurs rédacteurs n’hésitent pas à reprendre pour eux le qualificatif de “néoluddites”[2], à savoir, ceux qui se disent prêts à détruire les outils de la technologie, les machines.

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10 Science Fiction Movies That Predicted the Future

by Marc Howard

10. Body Security Scan

Movie: Total Recall – 1990

In less than 25 years since the film Total Recall was released in cinemas, one of its technologies has gone from fiction to fact and an unpopular reality for travelers. Unlike scanners in Total Recall, which showed the skeleton, the real world scanners only penetrate to the skin, making the naked body visible to security personnel.

Privacy groups have been opposed to the new scanners and succeeded in having the TSA withdraw the machines. Protesters identified the pornographic nature of the images created by the machines as a breach of human dignity. Until the devices can meet new standards, air travelers have to suffer the familiar indignity of being frisked hands on by security personnel instead.

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Hunger is at an all-time low. We can drive it even lower.

by Ramez Naam

A few observations on hunger, extracted from the latest FAO report on The State of Food Insecurity, 2015

1. The percent of humanity that’s hungry is at an all-time low.

According to FAO, 11.3% of the world is undernourished. Most of that hunger is concentrated in the developing world. There, an estimated 12.9% of people are undernourished. In absolute terms, this is a staggering 780 million people. Yet as a fraction of humanity, it’s just over half of the fraction in 1990.

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The Girl and the Forest

by Marcelo Rinesi

The girl is crossing a frontier that exists only in databases. Her phone whispers frantically on her ear: crossing such a frontier triggers no low-priority notification, but the digital panic merited by a lethal navigational mishap. Cross a line between two indistinguishable plots of land and you become the legitimate target of automated guns, or an illegal person to be sent to a private working prison, or any number of other fates perhaps but not certainly worse than what you were leaving behind.

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Mindplexing - Cooperative, Shared, Distributed Collaboration between Networked Minds

by Jønathan Lyons

In December 2012, I wrote an IEET essay about humankind as a networked species.  This is undoubtedly true, as even casual observation would reveal.

The notion of a mindplex, or mindplexes, seems to be something toward which we are evolving, and I have had the good fortune to experience this phenomenon twice, recently.

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Do Transhumanists View Overpopulation as a Global Threat? - interview with Steve Fuller

by Hank Pellissier

Transhumanists often disregard overpopulation as a serious problem; perhaps many just accept the relaxed viewpoint Max More expressed in his essay “Superlongevity Without Overpopulation” published in 2005.  I am guilty of that mimicry — in 2009 I supported More’s analysis in my essay “To Breed or Not To Breed?

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On the Right Side of Futurology: A Look at the Struggle Ahead

by Phil Torres

Dan Barker, echoing an idea expressed by many atheists, describes theology as “a subject without an object.” Since there’s little reason for thinking a God exists – much less the God of the Bible – the entire field is ultimately vacuous, despite the grandiloquent rigamarole of, as Jerry Coyne puts it, Sophisticated Theologians(TM). Theology studies nothing. Its heart and soul is a phenomenon that almost certainly doesn’t exist.

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