Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Bioculture

PRODUCTIONS OF “CITIZEN CYBORG”
June 27-10
NYC, NY USA


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


Humanism and its prefixes (non-, trans-, post-, in-, a-)
October 3-4
Berkeley CA, USA




MULTIMEDIA: Bioculture Topics

The Awareness

What is the Future of Synthetic Meat?

Epistemic and Cognitive Concept of Explanation: An Attempt at Synthesis (30min)

Let’s kick oil while the price is down

Tissue Engineering Solutions for Cardiovascular Tissue Pathologies (32min)

The Role of Bioprinting in Rejuvenation (25min)

Molecular and Cellular Damage as the Cause of the Diseases of Aging (1:20min)

Curing Cancer in the Elderly Through Novel Strategies (31min)

Molecular Elucidation and Engineering of Stem Cell Therapies for the Nervous System

Cancer and Aging: Rival Demons? (31min)

Regulating a Damage Repair Approach to Cure the Diseases of Aging (55min)

The Rejuvenation of Aged Skeletal Muscle by Systematic Factors (18min)

Accelerating Knowledge Turns: The I-SPY Model and Drug Development (31min)

Why sitting is bad for you

Future Day Online




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Bioculture Topics




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.

Full Story...



Is cultural evolution a Darwinian process?

by Massimo Pigliucci

The “Darwinian” theory of evolution is here to stay. I used the scare quotes to refer to it in the previous sentence because the current incarnation, known as the Modern Synthesis (and incorrectly referred to as “neo-Darwinism,” which actually was an even earlier version) is significantly more sophisticated and encompassing than the original insight by Darwin. Indeed, my opinion — which is certainly not universally shared — is that evolutionary biology is currently undergoing another gradual but significant change, referred to as the Extended Synthesis, that will expand its domain of application and explanatory tools even further.



You Should Watch This SCOTUS Case, Just in Case Your Skin Sloughs Off

by Kelly Hills

We’ve all been in the situation where we do something – crash a bike, step wrong on thawing ground, trip over a damnedbeloved pet – that leaves us with a painful injury that doesn’t go away. And when that happens, we go to the doctor to verify we’re not badly injured, and possibly pick up some anti-inflammatories. For most of us, when this happens, our skin won’t slough off, we won’t end up in a burn unit for treatment, and we won’t be in a medically induced coma for months.



A New History of Prehistory - Part 1 & 2

by piero scaruffi

The Missing Mutation: Are We Really Smarter than our Ancestors? Several innovations that happened in the Neolithic seem to provide no advantage and sometimes create problems instead of solving them. About 10,000 years ago the burial ritual lasted a lifetime and the living were supposed to give offerings to the dead that were not valuable. At some point the burial ritual became much simpler but the living were supposed to give offerings to the dead that were valuable (e.g., food at times of starvation). Neither attitude makes a lot of sense from a materialistic viewpoint: what is the adaptive advantage of wasting goods and food for dead people? At the same time the cult of the dead moved from underground to aboveground (temples, pyramids), again an incredible waste of resources.



Stem cells and bioprinters take aim at heart disease, cancer, aging

by Dick Pelletier

Science and technology have utterly transformed humanity during my lifetime. Where forecasts of the future used to be measured in decades, today, new medical discoveries are announced almost weekly. This article focuses on cutting-edge research that promises a healthier and longer lifespan for all of us.



Google Glass: a wearable heads-up display and camera

by Jamais Cascio

Linked to your mobile device, able to do live recording, searches, route guidance, and more.



IEET Audience Passionate Science Fiction Fans

Four hundred people responded to the IEET poll on whether they were science fiction fans. More than half - 54%- said they were “canon-masters,” knowledgeable about science fiction from “H.G. Wells to Charlie Stross, Star Trek to Battlestar Galactica.”

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A Survival Guide to Geoengineering

by Jamais Cascio

Despite its potential to trigger conflict, geoengineering will likely be part of the global response to climate change. Be prepared.





Life is already eternal, sort of…

by Rick Searle

What often strikes me when I put the claims of some traditionally religious people regarding “eternal life” and the stated goals of the much more recent, I suppose you could label it with the oxymoronic phrase “materialist spirituality”, next to one another is just how much of the language and fundamental assumptions regarding human immortality these very different philosophies share.



Indefinite lifespan possible in 20 years, expert predicts

by Dick Pelletier

New Google hire and renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil sums up how technologies might play out over the next two decades with this claim: “If you remain in good health for 20 more years, you may never die.”



Cheering Microbes Into Space!

by Darlene Cavalier

Science Cheerleader Wendy Brown, a graduate student in biomedical engineering, will recruit school kids and volunteers to collect microbial samples from a wide range of environments.





Could more than one singularity happen at the same time?

by Rick Searle

James Miller has an interesting looking new book out, Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World.  I haven’t had a chance to pick up the book yet, but I did listen to a very engaging conversation about the book at Surprisingly Free.Miller is a true believer in the Singularity, the idea that at some point, from the next quarter century to the end of the 21st, our civilization will give rise to a greater than human intelligence which will rapidly bootstrap to a yet higher order of intelligence in such a way that we are unable to see past this event horizon in historical time.



Sentient machines: the next step in human evolution

by Dick Pelletier

Building machines that process information the same way a brain does has been a dream for over 50 years. Artificial intelligence, fuzzy logic, and neural networks have all experienced some degrees of success, but machines still cannot recognize pictures or understand language as well as humans can.



At the frontiers of the science of health risk – five areas to watch

by Andrew Maynard

This week’s Risk Bites video takes a roller-coaster ride through some of the hottest topics in risk science.



Future Technology Could Eliminate the Need to Eat Food

by Dick Pelletier

By early 2030s, experts predict nanobots will be developed to improve the human digestive system, and by 2040 or before, as radical as this sounds, we could eliminate our need for food and eating.



Do You Want to be a Cyborg, or a Transhuman?

by Nikki Olson

The words “cyborg” and “transhuman” are frequently used interchangeably, but to what extent, and in what ways, do the concepts have the same referents? And which is the preferable concept to identify with when contemplating one’s own future?

Full Story...



A Global Civilization Heads for the Stars and Our Amazing Nanotechnology Future

by Dick Pelletier

Experts predict that over the next nine decades, exponential advances in biotech, nanotech, infotech, and cognitive sciences will enable humanity to evolve from a group of self-centered squabbling cultures to become a peaceful global village with amazing technological abilities.

During the last century, researchers unraveled one of humanity’s greatest mysteries: the nature of life. We discovered that the almost magical properties of living things, the ability to grow, heal and reproduce, was brought about by life’s molecular machinery.



Made for You

by Richard Stallman

Growing old, and having lost hope of finding love again, I read about the Lifemates Co-op and was intrigued.  “Mr or Ms Right doesn’t exist in nature.  If you want someone that was made for you, come to us.”  I made an appointment to visit their office and talk with a salesperson…



The Singularity: what to expect when machines get smarter than us

by Dick Pelletier

What can we expect when machines surpass humans in intelligence; a point in time that futurists predict could become reality by 2045. Though it’s impossible to forecast this far in advance with 100% accuracy, by combining predicted technology breakthroughs with present-day knowledge, we can make plausible guesses about how tomorrow’s super-intelligent machines might affect our lives.

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