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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Bioculture

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


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




MULTIMEDIA: Bioculture Topics

Prototype

Smart Cities, Smart Sports

“Demystifying visionary technology” (1hr)

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

SENS Foundation: 2014 Buck Institute Summer Scholars

The Inevitable Future

Panpsychism Workshop: Plant Consciousness

Can The Brain Live As Long As Our Future Bodies?

The Magic of Consciousness

Genetic Enineering and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

Can Gene Therapy Cure HIV?

Artificial Photosynthesis

Consciousness and Neuroscience

Fusion: “Posthuman” - 3D Printed Tissues and Seeing Through Walls!

Is The Ebola Crisis (in the US) As Severe As The Media is Making It Out To Be?




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Bioculture Topics




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For a long time, outdated perceptions have contributed to the lack of investment in birth control for men.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.



Writing the Future

by Christopher Reinert

There is an argument in popular culture that claims science fiction authors have over the past century routinely predicted the development of new technologies and new social problems. Proponents of this argument cite supposed predictions of geosynchronous satellites, the internet and artificial intelligence as proof. The issue with these predictive claims, aside from supposing that a science fiction authors possess extraordinary clairvoyant powers, is that such arguments ignore the scores of failed predictions. However, the basic question is still interesting to futurists. Can science fiction be used to predict the future?



Science Fiction: A lament - then Optimism and the Next Generation

by David Brin

First: Sad News - Though expected, the passing of author Iain Banks came as a shock and a blow.  I first met Iain in London, where I lived in the mid-1980s, when we were both brash young newcomers.  I've always respected his literary fiction, but even more deeply admired his science fiction, especially the last two decades.  His Culture Universe was among the few to confront straight-on the myriad hopes, dangers and raw possibilities that might be faced by a humanity-that-succeeds….



Film as a Research Source

by Christopher Reinert

By the time you have finished reading this sentence, you will be acutely aware of the sensation of your back resting against the chair. This demonstration is used by psychology lectures to demonstrate that people are largely unaware of the vast majority of sensations that they experience. This disregard stems in part from mechanical limitations of the brain and the need to maintain a stable body image. The mechanical limitations are not germane to the topic of the paper beyond saying that the brain can only process so much incoming sensory information and it must decide which information is relevant at the moment.



Reflections on Abundance

by Rick Searle

It is hard to avoid getting swept up in the utopian optimism of Peter Diamandis.  The world he presents in his Abundance: The Future is Better Than you Think is certainly the kind of future I would hope for all of us: the earth’s environment saved and its energy costless, public health diseases, global hunger and thirst eradicated, quality education and health care ubiquitous (not to mention cheap) and, above, all extreme poverty at long last conquered.



IEET Audience Meh on Threat of Net Porn Addiction

We asked “Is addiction to Internet pornography a real thing?” Less than 20% of you thought Net porn was any more addicting than anything else.

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Raising the Digital Generation

by Andy Miah

Even before my two-year-old son was born, digital technology engulfed his life. We spent money on a 4D ultrasound scan, which gave us a glimpse of him a few weeks before he arrived. We used apps on our mobile phones to monitor my wife’s contractions and, when he eventually did arrive, his first few minutes were captured on a digital camera, and a video monitor ensured we never worried about his safety, nor needed to rush to attend to him when he cried. It even played lullabies to help him sleep.



A Contraceptive Revolution: Lowering remaining barriers

by Valerie Tarico

Imagine a future in which every child is a chosen child.Imagine a future in which a woman becomes fertile only when she wants to have a child—a future in which high school and college students can pursue their dreams and women can plan their lives according to their own values without being derailed by a surprise pregnancy. Imagine a future in which every child is a chosen child.



End of aging: life in a world where people no longer grow old and die

by Dick Pelletier

If predictions by future thinkers such as Aubrey de Grey, Robert Freitas, and Ray Kurzweil ring true - that future science will one day eliminate the disease of aging - then it makes sense to consider the repercussions a non-aging society might place on our world.



Corn, Ethanol, Farms, Food and the Logic of the Granary

by David Brin

I haven’t said much political in a while. Moreover, amid all the talk of budget balancing and sequesters, I’d like to shift attention to a topic that may - at first sight - seem a bit wonkish and detached: farm subsidies.  In fact, they are an area where Blue America remains frightfully ignorant and where the flood of entitlement spending merits closer attention, in times of near bankruptcy.



2113 (part one) – Immortality and Taxes

by Khannea Suntzu

It is the year 2113. It is a very strange future, and one that has been shaped by the world we are already forming. 2113 is a the result of good 21st century where people didn’t die, and there was no major collapse or instability, and very few people died. There was no “great reset” and humanity made it through a number of massive challenges. This 2113 is the best world we could have inherited out of many.



What is consciousness?

by piero scaruffi

Koch: Consciousness has nothing to do with the wild dances of neurons in the brain and has only to do with the flow of information.



On the Need for Epistemic Enhancement

by John Danaher

Democratic Legitimacy and the Enhancement Project
Klaming and Vedder (2010) have argued that enhancement technologies that improve the epistemic efficiency of the legal system (“epistemic enhancements”) would benefit the common good. But there are two flaws to Klaming and Vedder’s argument. First, they rely on an under-theorised and under-specified conception of the common good. When theory and specification are supplied, their CGJ for enhancing eyewitness memory and recall becomes significantly less persuasive. And second, although aware of such problems, they fail to give due weight and consideration to the tensions between the individual and common good.

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