Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Economic

Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work Conference
December 5-6
Rice University, Houston, Texas


BlockCon 2017
March 28-29
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore




MULTIMEDIA: Economic Topics

Trump Picks Establishment Banker For Treasury Secretary

U.S. To Forgive $108 Billion In Student Debt

Mark Blyth ─ Global Trumpism

Help for kids the education system ignores

How the blockchain will radically transform the economy

4 ways to build a human company in the age of machines

Robert Reich on Basic Income

Born Poor, Stay Poor: The Silent Caste System of America

The next manufacturing revolution is here

How the blockchain is changing money and business

Rachel O’Dwyer on Bitcoin, Blockchains and the Digital Commons

What Is Universal Basic Income and Why Support It?

How To Make A Living When Robots Take Our Jobs

A forgotten Space Age technology could change how we grow food

Danaher Interview on Robot Overlordz Podcast about Algocracy




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Economic Topics




Moving Past the 2016 Election and into the FUTURE…

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

I voted today and in spite of all the cynicism of my fellow citizens, I enjoyed it. I love going to my local polling place. I live in the mountains and have the luxury of knowing the people who work there, bumping into neighbors and never, ever having to wait in line. We may be the middle of nowhere, but our polling place rocks. Every vote of mine felt good, even the presidency. Those of you who follow my blog know I’m pro third party, so yes, I voted my conscience today, but more over I also got to vote for a US Senator, US Congressperson, State Assembly and TONS of ballot measures (I live in Cali—we had over 17 propositions!)



Les robots volent-ils nos emplois ?

by Julien Varlin

Article invité de Julien Varlin (blog)

Toute une série d’articles de presse reprennent régulièrement ce thème vendeur des « robots tueurs d’emplois » : « Les robots, le chômage et les emplois de 2030 » (France Info, 10/05/2015), « Robots au travail : 3 millions d’emplois menacés en France d’ici 2025 » (La Voix du Nord, 25/05/2016)… En même temps, d’autres vont insister sur les nouveaux emplois créés (ingénieur-e-s, technicien-nes…) et soutenir qu’il n’y a pas de crainte à avoir : « Des centaines de milliers d’emplois créés par la robotique » (Monster, 16/04/2015), « La vérité sur les robots destructeurs d’emplois » (Slate, 06/06/2016).



Saving the White Working Class from Neoliberalism?

by Benjamin Abbott

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election, various class-struggle leftists have been emphasizing neoliberalism as the culprit and highlighting the plight of the white working class. Proponents of these analyses exhort us to organize with the white working class for economic justice as a key component of antiracism.

Full Story...



Technoprogressivism Under Trump

by J. Hughes

This is from an interview I gave yesterday to a French journalist. Thought you might be interested.

Full Story...



Blockchain Fintech: Programmable Risk and Securities as a Service

by Melanie Swan

Access instead of Ownership
One of the most radical and potentially disruptive ideas for the near-term blockchain financial services market is Securities as a Service. Consider the music industry, where in the past, it was quite normal to purchase and own records and CDs, but now music is often accessed through digital media services like Spotify. There is access to music, but not much thought of ownership. “Listening to music” is the consumable asset, which is priced per network models for its access and consumption.



Brexit for Transhumanists: A Parable for Getting What You Wish For

by Steve Fuller

For the past two years, Zoltan Istvan has been campaigning for the US presidency on the Transhumanist Party, a largely one-man show which nevertheless remains faithful to the basic tenets of transhumanism. Now suppose he won. Top of his policy agenda had been to ensure the immortality of all Americans. But even Zoltan realized that this would entail quite big changes in how the state and society function. So, shortly after being elected president, he decides to hold a national referendum on the matter.



What democracy’s future shouldn’t be

by Rick Searle

As William Gibson has famously pointed out, the job of the science fiction writer is not to predict the future but to construct one plausible version of it from the pieces already laying around.  I assume that Malka Older was trying to do this deliberately low key Gibsonian thing with her novel Infomacracy, but given the bizarre nature of this current election cycle she instead, and remarkably, ended up anticipating not merely many of its real or feared events, but even ended her novel on the same note of exhaustion and exasperation and even dread resulting from the perceived failures of representative democracy now expressed by many among the elites, and from another the other angle, the young.



Is the internet killing democracy?

by Rick Searle

Standing as we are with our nose so tightly pressed against the glass, it’s impossible to know what exactly the current, crazy presidential election will mean, not just for American, democracy, but for the future of democracy itself. Of course, much of this depends on the actual outcome of the election, when the American public will either chose to cling to a system full of malware, corrupted and buggy, yet still functional, or risk everything on a hard reboot. This would include the risk that we might never be able to reset the clock to the time before we had plunged over the abyss and restore an order that while outdated, ill-designed, and running up against the limits of both still managed to do the job.



IEET Fellows Kevin LaGrandeur and John Danaher interviewed on Future of Work

Fellows Kevin LaGrandeur and John Danaher were interviewed by Future Left about the potential impact of automation and computerization on the future of the American workforce.  Their comments are included in an initiative to get theAmerican presidential to address this issue in their platforms, and their comments are also included in an article here.



IEET Affiliate Scholar Melanie Swan Interviewed on Finance Disrupted

Melanie Swan, Philosophy and Economic Theorist, New School for Social Research

To read the full interview on Finance Disrupted click HERE



Pushing Humans off the Loop: Automation and the Unsustainability Problem

by John Danaher

There is a famous story about an encounter between Henry Ford II (CEO of Ford Motors) and Walter Reuther (head of the United Automobile Workers Union). Ford was showing Reuther around his factory, proudly displaying all the new automating technologies he had introduced to replace human workers. Ford gloated, asking Reuther ‘How are you going to get those robots to pay union dues?’. Reuther responded with equal glee ‘Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?’.



Exponential Impact at the Singularity University Global Summit

by David Orban

At Singularity University we address the world’s greatest challenges, through the application of exponential technologies, spreading knowledge through conferences, educating through our courses, and creating, accelerating and funding startups.



Defining the Blockchain Economy: What is Decentralized Finance?

by Melanie Swan

The aim of this article is to explore the intersection of blockchain technology and finance from a practical, theoretical, and conceptual standpoint.



A Way Forward

by Stephen Yearwood

In its “Vision”statement IEET says that the “liberal democratic revolution” is “still growing strong.” These days, it is difficult to find evidence in support of that statement.



Mylan’s New Generic EpiPen is Still Too Goddamned Expensive

by George Dvorsky

Pharmaceutical company Mylan has announced plans to launch its first generic EpiPen. But at a cost of $300—which is half of the branded product’s list price—it’s still a heap of money for this critically important medicine.



BREXIT – some historical perspective

by Tsvi Bisk

Historical Comparison
In 1861 – 72 years after the ratification of the Constitution in 1789 – the southern states of the United States exited the American Union. In 2016 – 70 years after Winston Churchill first called for the establishment of a United States of Europe in 1946 – Great Britain exited the European Union.



Bio-Cryptoeconomy: Nanorobotic DACs for Cell Repair and Enhancement

by Melanie Swan

Blockchains as the new platform for technological innovation invite the creative imagining of applications at both the level of technology use and in the rethinking of economic principles. Some recent developments include optimism about rising Bitcoin prices and the rewards-halving milestone, trepidation about scalability, block size, and the latest hacking scandal of the Ethereum DAO, and fast-paced single ledger adoption by financial institutions.



Rising Sea Levels Threaten Nearly a Trillion Dollars Worth of US Homes

by George Dvorsky

Real estate database company Zillow is warning that nearly 1.9 million homes in the United States could be flooded by the end of the century. That’s about two percent of the nation’s total housing stock, amounting to $882 billion in value.



Our emerging culture of shame

by Rick Searle

remember a speech that the novelist Tom Wolfe gave on CSPAN or some such back in the 1990s in which he said something like “Nietzsche predicted that the 20th century would be the age of ideology, and that the century after the age of morality, and I believe him” I’ve never been able to find the source of the quote, but the more the 21st century rolls on, the more I’m finding it to increasingly, frighteningly true.



Decentralized Crypto-Finance: Blockchains, Automatic Markets, and Algorithmic Trust

by Melanie Swan

A revolutionary set of concepts and underlying technology enablement has arisen in the form of blockchain technology. Blockchains allow the digital payments layer the Internet never had, and more broadly contemplate an era whereby all forms of secure value transfer could take place via the Internet. This includes all monetary assets (the cash or spot market) and all assets and liabilities over any future time frame (the futures and options market, mortgages, debt and equity securities, treasury issuance, and public debt).



Piketty on Free Higher Education and the Value of Meritocracy

by John Danaher

I have worked hard to get where I am. I come from a modest middle class background. Neither of my parents attended university. They grew up in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s, at a time when the economy was only slowly emerging from its agricultural roots. I and my siblings were born and raised in the 1970s and 1980s, in an era of high unemployment and emigration. Things started to get better in the 1990s as the Irish economy underwent its infamous ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom. I did well in school and received a (relatively) free higher education, eventually pursuing a masters and PhD in the mid-to-late 2000s.



The friction between necessity and special interests

by Khannea Suntzu

Societal disparity is a hot button topic sure to arouse emotions. Those who currently have or make comparatively more money as always follow heir self-interest and stick to decennia old post cold war talking points best summarized as “anyone who works hard will eventually be successful”. This is clearly a self-validating and wealth consolidating statement and it’s completely understandable from a zero sum perspective. For the lucky few at the top of the economic food chain any compelling statement that “if most people who work hard in life will not be successful”, pretty much means that society is injust and is subject to renegotiation. And we have been at a collective consensus in western society for centuries now that for statistical majorities of the population – society must be just.



Transhumanist Hank Pellissier on Being an “Atheist Missionary”

by Hank Pellissier

Hank Pellissier is certainly an inimitable individual. As a transhumanist and humanitarian, he applies science and technology to inform his approach to alleviating suffering, such as through his efforts to supplement the diet of the Philippines’ Mangyan community with soylent to improve brain health and nutrition. Currently, his work as the director of the Brighter Brains Institute is focused in Uganda, where he spearheads projects to establish and support humanist schools, health clinics, and orphanages.



Longévité et surpopulation : déconstruire une idée reçue

by Alexandre Maurer

Lorsqu’on parle d’allonger radicalement l’espérance de vie, on se heurte à une objection quasi-systématique : “Mais cela va conduire à une crise de surpopulation !”



Joycelyn Elders Clinic at Uganda Humanist School offers Sex Education, Free Condoms, AFRIpads

by Hank Pellissier

“Joycelyn Elders Clinic” was recently launched by a USA nonprofit, to serve the 329 students attending Garama Humanist Secondary School in the village of Kisinga, in western Uganda.



Beware the Rise of Gerontocracy: Some Hard Lessons for Transhumanism, Not Least from Brexit

by Steve Fuller

Transhumanists will know that the science fiction author Zoltan Istvan has unilaterally leveraged the movement into a political party contesting the 2016 US presidential election. To be sure, many transhumanists have contested Istvan’s own legitimacy, but there is no denying that he has generated enormous publicity for many key transhumanist ideas. Interestingly, his lead idea is that the state should do everything possible to uphold people’s right to live forever. Of course, he means to live forever in a healthy state, fit of mind and body. Istvan cleverly couches this policy as simply an extension of what voters already expect from medical research and welfare provision. And while he may be correct, the policy is fraught with hazards – especially if, as many transhumanists believe, we are on the verge of revealing the secrets to biological immortality.



Transparent Smart Chargepoints and the Internet of Things

by Thijs Turèl

On the 25 of September Marcelo Rinesi published his article ‘The Price for the Internet of Things will be a vague dread of a malicious world’. With this response, I want to take on the implicit challenge he poses. How can we build an internet of things that will not fill us with dread? This article will present my ideas on a ‘transparent smart chargepoint’. Let me explain what I mean by this. ‘Chargepoint’ refers to the device that is designed for charging for electric cars. ‘Smart’ refers to the fact that the chargepoint optimizes the charging process on various variables – such as the price of electricity, the congestion on the electricity grid. ‘Transparent’ means that it is designed to be open as open as possible about the algorithms that run it.



The Community Delusion: “We” are not the world.

by Rene Milan

Over the last few decades one hears the term ‘community’ bandied about with increasing frequency.  The most quoted is in my anecdotal memory the ‘black community’.  One also often hears about the ‘gay community’ and more recently the ‘lgbt (or lgbtq) community’.



Conceivable Collaboration: 4 Examples Combining People & AI

by Daniel Faggella

Google’s recent victory against top-ranked Go player Lee Sedol marks another milestone in artificial intelligence development, and though this might be considered “old” news by today’s standard, it’s still a fresh achievement for the AI world. 



A Transhumanist Wants to be US President?

by Roland Benedikter

Unnoted by many, the transhumanist forerunner Zoltan Istvan has founded the “U.S. Transhumanist Party” and is running for U.S. president in the November 2016 election. He is touring the nation in his campaign vehicle, the “Immortality Bus,” since one of his promises is: “Do you want to live forever? Vote for me!”  Like other transhumanists, Istvan aims at opening up new political perspectives, if not even a “post-ideological” political sphere characterized by technological universalism. TLR spoke with political and social analyst Roland Benedikter about the backgrounds and the perspectives. The interview builds on previous interviews and articles of Benedikter, for example HERE and HERE.

Originally published on the Leftist Review on June 30 2016

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