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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Virtuality

Driving Technology’s Future: Norbert Weiner in the 21st Century
June 24-26
Boston, MA USA




MULTIMEDIA: Virtuality Topics

Bionic connections: Interfacing with the nervous system

IBM’s Nanofluidic Circuit

Forever Alone? Maybe Not: Technology and Loneliness

Neuromorphic Hardware - Better Tech Through Nature

Consciousness, Artificial Intelligence and Surveillance

Personhood Beyond the Human: Meet Bina48

Creating Games Like A Wizard With The Oculus Rift

Noam Chomsky On Artificial Intelligence , Cognitive Science , and Neuroscience

Stelarc Performs ‘Outside Your Skin’ - West Space

Narrow AI vs AGI

Could a Computer Ever Have Consciousness?

Cheating Death - Sun Exposure & Marijuana

Bounding the Impact of AGI - Winter Intelligence Oxford

First map of the human brain reveals grid-like structure between neurons

Studying Brain-to-Computer Interfaces Only on Humans: with great results!




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Virtuality Topics




Future of love and sex: monogamy no longer the default, say experts

by Dick Pelletier

There’s a pervasive notion that monogamous relationships are the end-all-be-all – the default pact in human couplings that keep the fabric of society from being torn apart. But growing numbers of scientists believe monogamy is not our biological default; and may not even represent the best road to happiness.



The Gamer’s Dilemma: Virtual Murder versus Virtual Paedophilia (Part Two)

by John Danaher

The Gamer’s Dilemma is the title of an article by Morgan Luck. We covered that article in part one. In brief, the article argues that there is something puzzling about attitudes toward virtual acts which, if they took place in the real world, would be immoral.  To be precise, there is something puzzling about attitudes toward virtual murder and virtual paedophilia.



Creating sentient machines with ‘deep learning’ AI technology

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.



The Gamer’s Dilemma: Virtual Murder versus Virtual Paedophilia (Part One)

by John Danaher

Modern video games give players the opportunity to engage in highly realistic depictions of violent acts. Among these is the act of virtual murder: the player’s character intentional kills someone in the game environment without good cause. Most avid gamers don’t seem overly concerned about this (reputed links between video games and violence notwithstanding). Nevertheless, when the possibility of other immoral virtual acts — say virtual paedophilia — is raised, people become rather more squeamish. Why is this? And is this double-standard justified?



The Singularity promises great benefits, but can we brave the risks

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.



No Form, Feelings, Perceptions, Mental Formations, Consciousness:  A Buddhist Perspective on AI

by Andrew Cvercko

It seems as though every day we grow closer to creating fully conscious and emergent artificial intelligences. As I’ve written about before, this poses a problem for many religions, especially those that ascribe a special place for humanity and for human consciousness in the cosmos. Buddhism stands out as an exception. Buddhism may be the one system of religious thought that not only accepts but will actively embrace any AIs that we produce as a species.



#14 New Computer Programming Language Imitates The Human Brain

by George Dvorsky

As we pointed out earlier this week, we’re still far from being able to replicate the awesome power of the human brain. So rather than use traditional models of computing, IBM has decided to design an entirely new computer architecture — one that’s taking inspiration from nature.



Mathematical Universe? I ain’t convinced

by Massimo Pigliucci

So the other day Julia Galef and I had the pleasure of interviewing mathematical cosmologist Max Tegmark for the Rationally Speaking podcast. The episode will come out in late January, close to the release of Max’s book, presenting his Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH). We had a lively and interesting conversation, but in the end, I’m not convinced (and I doubt Julia was either).



Google’s Creepy Patent to Automate Your Social Media Voice

by Evan Selinger

Who has time anymore to manage their social media feeds? All the status updating, replying, and posting of smart takes on the day’s news is exhausting. Well, Google want to help you out with that: The company recently submitted a patent for software that learns how users respond to social media posts and then automatically recommends updates and replies they can make for future ones. Consider it outsourcing, for your social life—an amped up, next gen blend of automated birthday reminders and computer generated, personalized remarks (more successful Turing Test than random word salad).



The Ethics of Robot Sex

by John Danaher

Human beings have long performed sexual acts with artifacts. Ancient religious rituals oftentimes involved the performance of sexual acts with statues, and down through the ages a vast array of devices for sexual stimulation and gratification have been created. Little wonder then that a perennial goal among roboticists and AI experts has been the creation of sex robots (“sexbots”): robots from whom we can receive sexual gratification, and with whom we may even be able achieve an emotional connection.



The 21st Century: a global civilization heads for the stars

by Dick Pelletier

A recent UN State of the Future Report projects that by 2100, world population will total 9 billion, just 2 billion more than today. But the report did not account for radically increased life spans. Many forward thinkers, including this writer, believe that today’s biotech efforts with stem cell therapies and genetic engineering techniques, combined with molecular nanotech breakthroughs (the much hyped nanorobots whizzing through our veins), will provide a radical extension of human life.



IEET Audience Split on Personal Identity

We asked “If your mind was perfectly copied to a new body…” who would the mindclones be, and who would own your stuff?  The 165 of you who answered were almost perfectly split three ways on this old debate about personal identity.

Full Story...



Will Google enable Teletravel in a Surrogate Reality World?

by Clyde DeSouza

The year is 2025 and there’s a raging snow storm outside. The world is a pale shade of white and gray. You wake up and instinctively look around the bedroom to locate the amber dot glowing on your G-Glass iteration #4 (4th generation upgrade) visor.



New Computer Programming Language Imitates The Human Brain

by George Dvorsky

As we pointed out earlier this week, we’re still far from being able to replicate the awesome power of the human brain. So rather than use traditional models of computing, IBM has decided to design an entirely new computer architecture — one that’s taking inspiration from nature.



Imagination Experiment: Visualizing Transformative Tech

by Jamais Cascio

Time for another thought experiment. Or, rather, a puzzle without a good answer yet.



Here’s the Real Reason Why Virtual Reality Doesn’t Work Yet

by George Dvorsky

It's another blow for immersive virtual reality. University of California researchers have shown that even people with perfect eyesight navigate the world by relying on a lot more than what they see. Here's why VR won't really work until we go beyond visual cues and fancy treadmills.



How We’re Turning Digital Natives Into Etiquette Sociopaths

by Evan Selinger

Let’s face it: Technology and etiquette have been colliding for some time now, and things have finally boiled over if the recent spate of media criticisms is anything to go by. There’s the voicemail, not to be left unless you’re “dying.” There’s the e-mail signoff that we need to “kill.” And then there’s the observation that what was once normal — like asking someone for directions — is now considered “uncivilized.”



The Ethics of a Simulated Universe

by Rick Searle

This year one of the more thought provoking thought experiments to appear in recent memory has its tenth anniversary.  Nick Bostrom’s paper in the Philosophical Quarterly “Are You Living in a Simulation?”” might have sounded like the types of conversations we all had after leaving the theater having seen The Matrix, but Bostrom’s attempt was serious. (There is a great recent video of Bostrom discussing his argument at the IEET). What he did in his paper was create a formal argument around the seemingly fanciful question of whether or not we were living in a simulated world. Here is how he stated it…



Quitters Never Win: The Costs of Leaving Social Media

by Evan Selinger

Forget Lolcats. If we quit using sites like Facebook, we’ll miss opportunities for self-expression, personal growth, learning, support, and civic exchange.



Tomorrow’s robots: get ready for human-machine romances

by Dick Pelletier

Today, drones, eldercare and pets. Tomorrow, household servants, love partners and much more. Although some people might find the idea of love with a machine repulsive, experts predict that as the technology advances and robots become more human-like, we will view our silicon cousins in a friendlier light.



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.



Augmented-Reality Racism

by Evan Selinger

The tech world is brimming with optimism for our augmented-reality future. But what will happen when flawed, prejudiced people get their hands on these tools?



The Matrix, Wiliam James, and the Will to Believe

by Brad Carmack

Many of my philosophy mentors speak highly of pragmatism.  One of pragmatism’s classical thinkers is William James, who was in his day friends with Charles Peirce, the father of semiotics. 

Full Story...



Virus (Science Fiction)

by Jonathan Dotse

Hacking is dangerous in the future world of IEET’s Ghanaian contributor. Dela’s inexperienced ‘biocore’ takes on a ‘Grid hub’ in Accra…

Full Story...



Lies, Damn Lies, and Twitter Bots

by Jamais Cascio

Bear with me—this is going to get twisted. I’ve been paying attention to the use of deception as a tactical method, from real-world grieving to deception as a means of protecting privacy.

Full Story...



To Mindfile-Me, or Not to Mindfile-Me?

by Jønathan Lyons

Being a transhumanist parent has some unique challenges, for example…what if I die before I’m able to join the uploaded? Should I contact “LifeNaut” immediately?

Full Story...



Why Do We Love To Call New Technologies “Creepy”?

by Evan Selinger

When we can’t find another way to explain our objections to facial-recognition software, for instance, creepy becomes a crutch.

Full Story...



“Singular” Chapter 1 (Fiction)

by Travis James Leland

IEET Contributor Travis James Leland offers the first chapter of his current work-in-progress, about the world’s first posthuman being and how he impacts the world. In this selection, we meet Alpha and his online girlfriend, ‘Loo. They are attracted to each other online. Should they risk a meat-meeting?

Full Story...



“MindFile-Uploaded-into-Cyborg” is our Favorite Life-Extending Option, claim 800+ Transhumanists

by Hank Pellissier

“Mindfile-in-Fresh-Body” is close runner-up in Terasem Survey; “Inhabiting Different Types of Bodies” is third; Cryonics trails far behind

Full Story...



Shape-Shifting Robots: Forget Nanotech; Think Claytronics

by Dick Pelletier

Imagine a bracelet or watch that changes into something else when you take it off. Perhaps it becomes a cell phone, or laptop computer. Although this scenario may seem like science fiction, this and much more will soon become reality with a ground-breaking new technology known as claytronics.

Full Story...

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