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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Bioculture

Sorgner on “Meta-, post- and transhumanism and the arts”
February 17-21
Hamburg, Germany


The Work of Cognition and Neuroethics in Science Fiction
March 20-21
Flint, MI, USA


Cognition and Neuroethics in Science Fiction
March 20-21
Flint, Michigan, USA


Confronting the Anthropocene
June 27
Boston, MA USA


Hughes, Sorgner @ Beyond Humanism Conf: From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?
September 15-18
Seoul, S. Korea




MULTIMEDIA: Bioculture Topics

Humanities and the Science of Learning: Revealing the essence of human thought (1hr)

Analogy, Causality, and Discovery in Science: The engines of human thought (1hr 20min)

Insights from The Science of Learning & Educational Neuroscience (1hr 10min)

Brain/Mind Discoveries and Mysteries

Panel Discussion on Brain, Mind, Neuroscience, and Computer Science (1hr 20min)

Dreaming as Virtual Reality (1hr)

The Healthspan Imperative

Compressing Time with Brain To Computer Interfaces

Converging Technologies: Computers, Psychology and Neurology

Bringing biotechnology into the home

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

Prototype

Smart Cities, Smart Sports

“Demystifying visionary technology” (1hr)

“What is a fair distribution of brains?” (1hr)




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Bioculture Topics




There Can Be No Healthy Aging

by Maria Konovalenko

The study, conducted by a team of scientists and clinicians from JCVI and WCHN, will focus on two groups of elderly individuals aged 65 to 85 years by correlating genetics with a variety of human genomic, gut microbiome and other “omics” profiles and integrating these data with the individuals’ health record. One group will consist of healthy individuals, and the other will have individuals with a variety of diagnosed health conditions.



A Brief History of Painkillers (And Why They Work)

by George Dvorsky

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without pain relief. We depend on these drugs to an unspeakable degree, yet few of us know what’s available or how they even work. Here’s a quick primer on painkillers and why they’re so good at easing the pain.



Just Don’t Do It? Brain Injuries and American Football

by R. J. Crayton

Former pro football* player Brett Favre recently admitted he’s suffering serious memory loss from years of head injuries while playing."I don't remember my daughter playing soccer, youth soccer, one summer. I don't remember that,” Favre said in a radio interview.



Life Extension and Distributive Justice

by John Danaher

Life expectancy increased dramatically over the course of the 20th century. In the UK and US — to take two obvious examples — it increased by approximately 30 years. Further increases are projected in the future. In addition to this, advances in medical technology are hoped by many, and demanded by some, to dramatically increase lifespan (a subtly different concept from life expectancy) in the coming century. It may soon come to pass that lifespans of 120 to 150 years are no longer confined to the realms of science fiction.



Understanding consciousness: our future may depend on it

by Dick Pelletier

In his latest book, “Self Comes to Mind,” Dr. Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, defines consciousness as, “the ability that we have to look out on the world and grasp it. It is a way evolution found to increase our effectiveness in dealing with life and its struggles.”



Finding Frankenstein a Home

by Rick Searle

Percy’s epic poem, Prometheus Unbound is seldom read today while his wife’s novel,  Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus has become so well known that her monster graces the boxes of children’s cereal, and became the fodder from one of the funniest movies of the 20th century.



Looking to the Future: An Interview

by David Brin
As I prepare to speak to the European Union's Horizon 2020 Congress in Vilnius, Lithuania, on November 6, here is an interview that I gave to one of the major European journals covering the event.



No on 522: Label GMOs, But Not This Way

by Ramez Naam

Consumers clearly want to know whether their food contains genetically modified ingredients. Given that huge interest, foods containing GMOs should be labeled. I’ve written as much before at the website of Discover magazine, trying to persuade scientists that they should support GMO labels.



What is Transhumanism today in France?

by Marc Roux

This is a translation of a presentation by the Association Française Transhumaniste - Technoprog! on “What is Transhumanism today in France.” Technoprog! encourages the development of and promotes reflection on technologies that improve and greatly extend the life of individuals and of mankind. In our opinion, transhumanism should ensure that enhancement technologies are not restricted to a minority of the wealthy and that citizens are alerted to possible abuses of technology, so that an informed citizenry can master the technology and not be controlled by it.



Genderqueer, Pansexual, LGBTQ: Will Gender Exist 100 Years From Now? - Rebooted

by Kris Notaro

In this article it is my hope to highlight some of the most important aspects of gender and sexual identity within the confines of hardcore science: psychology, biology, and sociology. It is my personal opinion that we have not figured out the science behind gender, rather it be sociological or biological in nature. This article is simply an overview of how modern day scientists and sociologists look at gender and sexual identity. For all I know, we are all born genderqueer and pansexual, but biological science is showing us the rainbow of diversity which comes along with being a sexually complicated evolved species.



No, Extreme Human Longevity Won’t Destroy the Planet

by George Dvorsky

It’s only a matter of time before humanity solves the aging problem. And resistance to radical life extension has already begun, driven by fears of overpopulation and the exhaustion of our planet’s resources. Here’s why the critics are wrong.



Posthuman Gender: A Non-Binary Future

by Benjamin Abbott

Though still decidedly secondary, the dream of transcending biological sex and established gender norms occupies a key place transhumanist in thought. Transhumanists extoll transgender people as prescient pioneers of morphological freedom and technological enhancement. This article explores the problem of gender - yes, it is a problem - in relation to feminist theory and proposed transhumanist solutions. I simultaneously critique and embrace visions of transcendence.



The Singularity and Socialism

by Michael Rectenwald

By definition, a singularity is something utterly peculiar unto itself, a species of being unmatched for its “this-ness.” The term has found usage in a number of domains, most significantly in physics, where a singularity defines a condition of matter whose mass is approaching zero as a function of its density approaching infinity. Cases of singularities or near singularities include black holes and the singularity that preceded the Big Bang.



The Male Pill–Are We Ready?

by Valerie Tarico

For a long time, outdated perceptions have contributed to the lack of investment in birth control for men. Since women traditionally have borne the primary burden of unwanted childbearing and parenting, decision makers have long assumed that men wouldn’t be interested in contraceptives—or would have a very low tolerance for cost, side effects, or hassle. Today, though, in the age of paternity tests and child support, with fathers and mothers sharing parenting responsibility—more and more men want to be in control of their own fertility.



Google’s Calico – Maybe Not Such a Good News

by Maria Konovalenko

On September 18 Google announced their crusade against death via the Time journal cover. Calico company was created specifically to fight aging. Larry page made it clear for the shareholders that Google is an innovative company and that they can afford the most courageous projects, while the investments won’t be too large and won’t undermine the foundations of the company.



Beyond the Wallet Condom

by Valerie Tarico

Part 2 on Male Contraception: Eight promising possibilities for males. My teenage nephew came to visit last summer, and I asked him if there was anything he needed from the drug store. “Uh, condoms?” he said. It was easier to ask liberal Aunt Val than Grandma, who is raising him. We hopped in the car. At the local Walgreens, we found the display and we lingered, picking packages up and putting them back. “Wow, there’s a lot of choices,” he enthused, exchanging a rainbow of colors for a fruit-flavored variety pack.



No Boys Allowed

by Valerie Tarico

Why we lack good contraceptive options for men. Safe, effective birth control for men is long overdue. Consider a tale of two siblings…



On the Space Between the Human and the Post- Human

by Rick Searle

What especially distinguishes human beings from other animals has been the degree to which they seek out and invent ways to leverage the basics of their biology to reach ever more complex levels of thought and action. Early human beings leveraged their fragile and limited bodies with tools including fire, leveraged their own natural psychology using naturally occurring drugs and religious rituals and used music to obtain a more emotional connection with one another and the world.



On GMO Plants

by Brenda Cooper

A number of people who I respect have written articles and chapters in books that support GMO crops. These include leading environmentalist Mark Lynas, author of The God Species: How the planet can survive the age of humans, and Ramez Naam, author of The Infinite Resource: The power of ideas on a finite planet.



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.



Neo-Malthusians, Luddites, and the rise of the Anti-Science Left

by B. J. Murphy

As much as I respect Pres. Obama’s senior advisor on science and technology, John Holdren, on his work in fighting against climate change, I’ve come to find out that his political beliefs are almost interrelated with that of Maoist-Third-Worldism (an extremist Leftist ideology).



Scientists create false memories by manipulating neurons

by Dick Pelletier

Research may one day lead to better understanding of consciousness… Imagine you’re a mouse, and you’re feeling a chill throughout your body because a researcher is placing you into a chamber. You distinctly remember feeling shocks in that chamber…



Betting Against The Transhumanist Wager

by Rick Searle

There have been glowing reviews at the IEET of Zoltan Istvan’s The Transhumanist Wager. This will not be one of those. As I will argue, if you care about core transhumanist concerns, such as research into pushing out the limits of human mortality, little could be worse than the publication of Istvan’s novel. To put it sharply in terms of his so-called First Law of Transhumanism “A transhumanist must safeguard his own existence above all else”; Istvan, by creating a work that manages to disparage and threaten nearly every human community on earth has likely shortened the length of your life



Hyperdiversity for the Future

by Roberta Scarlett

Alarmists say we are losing our biodiversity and that our ecosystem will be destroyed because of human activity. This will cause mass extinctions that will eventually lead to our own. It’s true, that our species has had a profound effect on the ecosystem, but there is no evidence that our environment is changing such that it won’t continue to support human or other life.



Ten Reasons I Love my Leaf

by Valerie Tarico

How do you like the Leaf? I get the question at odd times—like yesterday, when my husband and I were renting a vanilla sedan to negotiate L.A. freeways. “What do you usually drive?” the white-blonde boob-jobbed salesgirl asked from behind her tablet PC as she tapped through the options.



Personhood and the Use of Animals

by J. Hughes

Back in the 1990s when I started doing surveys to test theories about the emerging biopolitics I had a theory that science fiction was spreading the idea of non-anthropocentric personhood.  Star Trek’s Data had explicitly argued the case that sentience should be respected regardless of its substrate in an episode of Next Generation, and there were myriad other examples in written and visual SF. I eventually published a paper “Aliens, Technology and Freedom: SF Consumption and SocioEthical Attitudes” in Futures Research. Quarterly, that showed that SF consumers were in fact more personhood oriented. Twenty years later I have a better handle on what the factors are underlying personhood beliefs, which the recent IEET survey helps illustrate.

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Transhumanism and Mind Uploading Are Not the Same

by Gennady Stolyarov II

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.”



The Resilient Brain (great example of Positive Biology)

by Colin Farrelly

In general, I’m not a betting man. Intellectual humility cautions against sticking one’s neck out too far into terrain that is too complex to understand, let alone reasonably predict with any confidence. But some bets are unavoidable.



Doping, Slippery Slopes and Moral Virtues

by John Danaher

Mike McNamee Sports, Vices and Virtues: Morality Plays: Part one of this essay discusses SSAs in general; part two looks at McNamee’s SSA against doping; and part three looks at McNamee’s complaints about the vices of athletes who dope. Just note that although “doping” has a particular meaning in sport, one that may be thought distinct from “performance enhancement”, the terms are used interchangeably in what follows.



Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

by Seth Baum

GCRI has a new academic paper out. Deepwater Horizon and the Law of the Sea: Was the cure worse than the disease?, by Grant Wilson, has been accepted for publication in a law journal to be determined.

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