Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


MULTIMEDIA: Bioculture Topics

The Future of News? Virtual Reality

How Digital Media Finally Enables Distributed Enterprise

Don’t we all wish to be Wonder Woman or Superman?

Network Society Interview with David Orban

Don’t Fear Killer Robots

We Can Now Edit Our DNA. But Let’s Do it Wisely


An AfroFuturist in Oakland

Why is Speculative Fiction so Dystopic?

A breakthrough new kind of wireless Internet


BioViva: Ending Aging through Gene Therapy

Direct Democracy

Your Brain on Politics: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Liberals and Conservatives

Back To The Future In ACTUAL 2015

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Bioculture Topics

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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How Steady Can Wind Power Blow?

by Ramez Naam

NREL recently released data showing that next-generation wind turbines could reach an incredible capacity factor of 60% over 2 million square kilometers of the US, or enough to provide roughly 10x as much electricity as the US uses. If true, this would be a game-changer in wind power, as I explain below.

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Ten Health Benefits of Marijuana

by Marc Howard

10. Treatment of Glaucoma

If you are one of the millions who have been suffering from glaucoma, then smoking marijuana can help you get the best eyesight and relieve pressure from they eyes. Intraocular pressure can increase in certain individuals, especially those who have diabetes. Glaucoma is serious disease that can cause blindness.

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Asking a Shadow to Dance

by Marcelo Rinesi

Isomorphic is a mathematical term: it means of the same shape. This is a lie.

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The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin, Wins the Hugo Award for Best Novel

by Giulio Prisco

The Three-Body Problem,”  Ken Liu’s English translation of the first book of Liu Cixin’s best-selling Chinese science fiction trilogy, has won the Hugo Award for best novel.

The book is solid classic science fiction, like the best space operas of vintage science fiction that we loved and still fondly remember as our first introduction to space and science. See my review of “The Three-Body Problem.”

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by Adrian Cull

The new television show Humans raises some important ethical questions for a not-too-distant future society where human-looking domestic robots are commonplace. The 8 part series, shown on AMC in the US and Channel 4 in the UK, is based on the Swedish series Äkta människor (“Real Humans”) and is set in modern day London with the only discernible difference being that a company is manufacturing and selling “synths” – multi-purpose robots designed to look like humans and work as direct replacements for them. The drama tackles a wide range of questions from how synths would be treated and their impact on society, alongside the main story line of what happens if the artificially intelligent humanoids gain true self awareness and consciousness.

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The TV Series Humans: A Deep Look into Our Humanity

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

I recently binge watched my first TV series, Humans, which airs Sunday nights on AMC. As a science fiction writer myself, many people have been suggesting I check it out for weeks now. Finally I gave in, sat down on the couch, and watched the first six episodes over the course of two days. Not bad for a mother of two. And now I have to wait two whole days to see what happens next!!!!!

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The Social Fabric of a Technically Advanced Society

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

There is so much human potential. I see it everywhere I turn. Yet something seems to hold us back, ever so slightly, from actually becoming a stable species. Yes, we have come a long way, yet at this moment in time it seems we have but two choices before us, begin to cooperate and live in harmony, or destroy everything, including our planet.

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5 Ancient Ways to Survive Drought: Public Baths, Veganism, Nudity, Eco-Latrines, Eating with Hands

by Hank Pellissier

“Blue Gold.” Water is becoming dangerously rare and valuable in drought-stricken areas around the globe, including my home in California.

Today citizens in developed nations each wastefully splash away 100s of gallons per day. But what if fresh H2O continues to dwindle? Suppose humans were rationed a meager allotment, like 10, or 5, or even 2 gallons per day?

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Book Review: Abundance—A Must Read for Any Futurist

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

Authors Peter H. Diamandis and Steve Kotler have created just about the perfect handbook when it comes to envisioning a technically advanced, democratic and thriving society. Written in 2012, this book is still an important read for anyone who’s interested in a technical future where humanity finally rises above the mire it has been tethered to for millennia.

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Solar Cost Less than Half of What EIA Projected

by Ramez Naam

Skeptics of renewables sometimes cite data from EIA (The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration) or from the IEA (the OECD’s International Energy Agency). The IEA has a long history of underestimating solar and wind that I think is starting to be understood.

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It’s ALIVE! And it’s in Outer Spaaaace!

by David Brin

Excitement is building for the New Horizons Mission and its hurried swing past Pluto on July 14.  What a terrific way to celebrate Bastille Day!  Watch this terrific video - Fast and Light to Pluto  - about New Horizons, created by the NY Times.

I met Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh when I was 15…

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Intelligent cities as a step towards a technate

by Enrique Lescure


One integral part of the design we in the Earth Organisation for Sustainability envision is that humanity needs to utilize information technology in order to establish a better overview of the resource flows that we use on the planet, as well as the planet’s own capacity. More of this can be read in the article “The Three Criteria”  on this blog.

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Promoting scientific and rational literacy to create a friendly global ideology that helps humanity

by Soenke Ziesche

We are living in a world with many challenges and even existential risks. Yet only a relatively small number of people seem to be concerned about this, while others apparently oblivious behave adversely towards these challenges, e.g. through an environmentally unfriendly lifestyle, in developing as well as developed countries. Very often the reason for this behaviour is not lack of education, but wrong education. In many places children are neither educated properly in sciences, nor are their rationality skills trained. Instead in many parts of the world, the curriculum is linked to unscientific ideologies, which pupils are prone to believe forever if indoctrinated in early childhood.

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Longevity will lead to Overpopulation - we need to consider our options now

by Adrian Cull

At some point technology will allow us to live forever. With billionaires spending millions on research [1] and huge corporations such as Google getting in on the act, very soon we are likely to see rapid advances in life expectancy – with the ultimate aim of radical life extension. All diseases will be cured, and the cellular aging that leads to the deterioration in body and mind will be slowed and eventually reversed so that everybody can choose how long they want to live for.

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Practopoiesis: How Cybernetics of Biology can Help AI

by Danko Nikolic

By creating any form of AI we must copy from biology. The argument goes as follows. A brain is a biological product. And so must be then its products such as perception, insight, inference, logic, mathematics, etc. By creating AI we inevitably tap into something that biology has already invented on its own. It follows thus that the more we want the AI system to be similar to a human—e.g., to get a better grade on the Turing test—the more we need to copy the biology.

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Solar: The First 1% Was the Hardest

by Ramez Naam

Solar power now provides roughly 1% of the world’s electricity.  It took 40 years to reach that milestone. But, as they say in tech, the first 1% is the hardest.

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Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Transhumanist?

by Rick Searle

I remember once while on a trip to Arizona asking a long-time resident of Phoenix why anyone would want to live in such a godforsaken place. I wasn’t at all fooled by the green lawns and the swimming pools and knew that we were standing in the middle of a desert over the bones of the Hohokam Indians whose civilization had shriveled up under the brutality of the Sonora sun. The person I was speaking to had a quick retort to my east coast skepticism.

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The Algorithmic Society and the Birth of Religion

by piero scaruffi

Algorithms increasingly guide our daily life: Google’s ranking algorithm pretty much decides which pages we visit, and therefore which information we access; Amazon’s algorithm influences which books we read; dating algorithms decide your sexual life and possibly your marriage; the smartphone’s navigation algorithm decides which streets we take; Yelp’s algorithm decides where we eat (and it is a simple average!)

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Do You Fear Eugenics? China Does Not, and that’s a Problem - interview with Chad White

by Hank Pellissier

Four years ago I wrote a trio of essays that generated a barrage of hate mail. The feedback I received wasn’t 100% venomous, but it was more than 50% negative, with one essay getting a thumbs-down 80% of the time.

The three essays were Ban Baby-Making Unless Parents are Licensed, Why is the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews So High?, and Why is Confucian Culture so Wildly Successful?

My triplet articles were threaded together by a politically-incorrect taboo: Eugenics, also known by its more acceptable term - Human Genetic Engineering.

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Pope Francis’s Climate-Change Encyclical will Launch a Revolution

by Paul Farrell

Last Thursday was launch day for Pope Francis’s historic anticapitalist revolution, a multitargeted global revolution against out-of-control free-market capitalism driven by consumerism, against destruction of the planet’s environment, climate and natural resources for personal profits and against the greediest science deniers.

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Split the Earth: 50% for Humans, 50% for Protected Biodiversity Zones

by Alex Lightman

The Sixth Mass Extinction is upon us.

Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich has been studying extinction for decades; he published Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of Disappearing Species in 1981. Since that time Ehrlich has seen numbers that indicate the rate of extinction - of vertebrates, including mammals - is increasing.

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The Monsters of Jurassic World

by Russell Blackford

Philosophers and blockbusters

There are at least three reasons why philosophers take an interest in hugely popular cultural products such Hollywood blockbuster action movies.

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Transhumanism and Degrowth - a false opposition?

by Marc Roux

Is it possible to imagine a transhumanist evolution in the context of Degrowth

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What’s the EROI (Energy Return on Investment) of Solar?

by Ramez Naam

There’s a graph making rounds lately showing the comparative EROIs of different electricity production methods. (EROI is Energy Return On Investment – how much energy we get back if we spend 1 unit of energy. For solar this means – how much more energy does a solar panel generate in its lifetime than is used to create it?)

This EROI graph that is making the rounds is being used to claim that solar and wind can’t support an industrialized society like ours.

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The White House Supports A Proposed Ban On Editing The Human Germline

by George Dvorsky

In the wake of news that scientists in China modified the DNA of human embryos,  a number of scientists and bioethicists have called for a global moratorium on experiments that could alter the human germline. The White House has come out in support of such a ban — for now.

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Top 5 Myths About Monsanto (Part 1)

by B. J. Murphy

Anyone who has the scientific tenacity to question “common truths” and come to a valid conclusion outside of the confines of popular opinion are destined to be heralded as someone working in the pocket of some agency. Conspiracy theories run amok throughout society, believing any large corporation to be intrinsically “evil”. One corporation in particular stands out the most: Monsanto!

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