Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Economic

Hughes, Santens @ World Summit on Technological Unemployment
September 29
NYC, NY USA


Hughes, Brin, Anderson, Pellissier, Sirius, Gillis, Kuzsewski, Istvan @ Future of Politics Conferenc
October 19-
Oakland, California


North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress
May 12-15
Manitoba, Canada




MULTIMEDIA: Economic Topics

3-D Printing Guns, Drugs, and DNA Weapons: Organized Crime Is Being Decentralized

Deep Web

The Age of Robots

We’re approaching humanity’s make or break period

What is the Future of Advertising?

Want to Be a Billionaire? Impact a Billion People

The Most You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically

Science Fiction is Really Important But Not Because It’s Right

Are We Heading for a Jobless Future?

Let’s kick oil while the price is down

Support the Progressive Caucus Budget

Future Day Online

Mark Lewis on “Have We Reached Peak Education?”

Open Education, Open Educational Resources and MOOCs

Should We Have Control Over Our Consciousness?




Subscribe to IEET Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List









Economic Topics




Why We Should Preserve the Privacy and Spirit of Bitcoin

by Giulio Prisco

The trend toward mainstream,” sanitized” forms of Bitcoin that can be adopted by governments and banks is here to stay, which is not a bad thing. At the same time, it’s also important to preserve important aspects of the original vision of the Bitcoin Founders – a P2P currency that can’t be controlled by banks and governments, and supports untraceable private transactions.

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Network Economies: Economic System as a Configurable Parameter

by Melanie Swan

We personalize everything else, why not economic systems too? Starbucks selectability comes to economic system participations! Some interesting implications for personalized economic system design arise per a recent post about ‘Decentralized Reddit.’

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Transhumanism will be a Victorious Revolution (my modest predictions)

by Hank Pellissier

I get annoyed when my friends and family tell me I’m going to die. They taunt me regularly, of course, because I’m a transhumanist, opposed to mortality.

“You’re a nutter,” says my British friend Paul.

“You’re just afraid of death,” says Curt.

“Everybody has to die, or the world will get over-populated,” says my 15-year-old daughter, indoctrinated by environmentalism.

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“Open Borders”: A Gimmick, Not a Solution

by Richard Eskow

Newsweek recently published an article by Daniel Bier with the headline “Bernie Sanders on Immigrants: Silly, Tribal and Economically Illiterate.”

The piece, when it is not distracting the reader with rather unimaginative vitriol (phrases like “lame socialist agenda” are hardly Pulitzer material), bases its argument on a trendy libertarian idea called “open borders.”

Like many libertarian ideas, “open borders” is bold, has superficial intellectual appeal - and is incapable of withstanding thoughtful scrutiny. It would benefit the wealthy few at the expense of the many, here and abroad.

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Personalized Economic Systems: Self-Determination and Economic Theory

by Melanie Swan

In addition to blockchain technology,  another clear node of current innovation is in self-determined economic systems. Increasingly, as individuals, we are consciously examining the economic systems into which we were born by default, and questioning their validity, utility, and reach; and proposing alternatives. In some sense capitalism is the new feudalism and there is a finally starting to be the conception and realization of a viable post-capitalist position.

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Everything You Think You Know About the History and Future of Jobs is Wrong

by Scott Santens

“47 Percent…”

That’s the highly cited estimate out of Oxford by Frey and Osbourne of the percentage of existing jobs that are likely to be automated away with the help of technology within the next two decades. According to this paper, flip a coin and call heads or machines to see if your job will exist in 20 years. This is the 21st century fear for many called “technological unemployment.”

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IEET sponsors “The Future of Politics” conference in Oakland, California

IEET is co-sponsoring a conference on “The Future of Politics.” The event will be held at Humanist Hall, in Oakland, California, on Sunday, October 18, from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

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The Imperative of Technological Progress: Stagnation Will Lead to Disaster

by Gennady Stolyarov II

It is both practically desirable and morally imperative for individuals and institutions in the so-called “developed” world to strive for a major acceleration of technological progress within the proximate future. Such technological progress can produce radical abundance and unparalleled improvements in both length and quality of life – whose possibilities Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler outlined in their 2012 book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. Moreover, major technological progress is the only way to overcome a devastating step backward in human civilization, which will occur if the protectionist tendencies and pressures of existing elites are allowed to freeze the status quo in place.

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Biafra Survives: the Igbo people, 45 years after the Civil War

by Hank Pellissier

The Biafra Civil War from 1967-1970 resulted when the small West African region – primarily populated by the Igbo tribe – attempted to secede from Nigeria, a former British colony.  An estimated 1-2 million people were killed in the conflict; 40% were Igbo children who died of starvation and malnutrition. The Igbo thought the global community would support them, but they gained little assistance, whereas Nigeria was massively armed by the British and Russians. Biafra was invaded and the Igbo were eventually subdued.

How are the Igbo doing today?  Have they survived economically? Are they participating in Nigerian political affairs?  Have enmities been forgiven?

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Thailand’s Royal Problem: Democratic Grumblings in The Land of Smiles

by Hank Pellissier

My family and I are the only “white people” on this flight to Thailand, where we’ll spend a 4-week vacation. My initial observation of Thais on our flight over is:

1) everyone is polite
2) everyone is smiling
3) everyone is quiet
4) no one is fat

Our fellow passengers are ethereally peaceful, with subtle Buddha-grins as they quietly move about in their slender forms. The Boeing interior is so silent it seems like we’re the only passengers:

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Smartgrid Life: Blockchain-Enabled Virtual Food Cooperatives

by Melanie Swan

The contemporary era of blockchains as an implementation mechanism for decentralization suggests a new overall conceptualization of life as being supported by any number of smartgrids. Distributed network grids is a familiar idea for resources such as water, electricity, health services, and Internet access, and might be extended to other resources, literally and conceptually.

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The Pink Collar Future

by Jamais Cascio

The claim that robots are taking our jobs has become so commonplace of late that it’s a bit of a cliché.

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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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Zoltan Istvan’s “Teleological Egocentric Functionalism”: An approach to viable politics?

by Roland Benedikter

The current foundation phase of “Transhumanist” politics deserves a critical discussion of the philosophical principles that implicitly underlie its new political organization. As part of the effort towards a self-critical evaluation of political transhumanism, which is undoubtedly still in a very early phase of development, this chapter discusses the philosophy drafted by the founder of the “Transhumanist Party of the USA”, Zoltan Istvan, in his bestselling novel “The Transhumanist Wager” (2013) dedicated to develop the vision of a better society. Istvan called the philosophy underlying his meta-national, if not global, vision “Teleological Egocentric Functionalism”. We discuss the achievements, contradictions and dialectics of and within this philosophy; its possible relation to realistic social policy programs; as well as the potential implications and consequences. The goal is to achieve a more considered overall discourse at the contested new ideological interface between humanism and transhumanism which could define an influential zeitgeist of our time.

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Four political futures: which will you choose?

by David Wood

Politics is being shaped by our responses to the prospect of accelerating, exponential technological change. Technosceptics deny accelerating change will occur. Technoconservatives accept that accelerating change poses radical questions, and want to stem the tide of change. Technolibertarians believe accelerating change will be for the best, and technology and capitalism just need to be left to work their wonders. Technoprogressives believe accelerating change poses serious risks as well as rewards, and that we can maximize the rewards and minimize the risks through public policy.

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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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Effective Altruism, GiveWell, and GiveDirectly: How to Give Money to the Poor

by Scott Jackisch

I attended the 2014 Effective Altruism Summit, and this essay describes what I learned.  

Effective Altruism is the idea that charitable giving should actually produce measurable results.  It’s an evidence-based approach that is supposedly in contrast to more conventional charities.  

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Effective Altruism has Five Serious Flaws - Avoid It - Be a DIY Philanthropist Instead

by Hank Pellissier

In an earlier essay I recommended the Effective Altruism (EA) movement, the humanitarian crusade spearheaded by philosopher Peter Singer.

Today, I retract my support. Although EA’s core intention is morally commendable - donating “expendable income” to world-improving causes - there are multiple details in its strategy and organization that are sloppy, simplistic, ethically dubious and downright foolish.

It pains me to reach this conclusion. Here’s how it happened:

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The Robot Lord Scenario

by Scott Jackisch

I just finished reading Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford. This is a nonfiction book in which Ford predicts that all jobs will soon be automated away, and that this will lead to an economic crash, since no one will have any money to buy anything.  I’ve written about this idea before, and Ford’s position hasn’t changed much since his previous book, Lights in the Tunnel.

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The cost of Greek austerity - what would Socrates think of this mess?

by piero scaruffi

In 2008 i was shocked to read that Lehman Brothers had accumulated a total debt of $613 billion: imagine what the world could do with that much money, money that just one firm managed to lose. At the time i was in Africa and i remember checking the GDP of African countries: i was amazed to realize that (in 2008) this amount was more than the GDP of any African country.

It is hard to believe, but in five years the money spent to save Greece from bankruptcy amounts to 350 billion euros (as calculated by the Greek statistics agency ELSTAT), which is about $400 billion.

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Transhumanism: there are [at least] ten different philosophical categories; which one(s) are you?

by Hank Pellissier

In Nick Bostrom’s essay, Transhumanist Values, he states in the first sentence that transhumanism is “a loosely defined movement.”  Further into the essay, he lists five “examples of currents within transhumanism.”

They are:

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Our Paradoxical Economy - Courtesy of Technology and the Lack of Basic Income

by Scott Santens

The question of slowing productivity amidst rising automation

The Fall of Human Labor

The latest numbers are in, and there are now more people not working in the US as a percentage of the total population, than ever in the last 38 years. It’s being called the “new normal.”

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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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Sex, Slavery and the Black Body Count–An Interview with Theologian Kelly Brown Douglas

by Valerie Tarico

“You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

So said white supremacist Dylann Roof to black members of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as he systematically executed nine, leaving one woman and a five-year-old child to bear witness to the slaughter.

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US Embargo of Cuba is Immoral - It Prevents Cuban Medicines from Reaching 316 Million Americans

by Alex Lightman

The US and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations today for the first time in 54 years. The US embargo of Cuba continues, in part because of people who have never been to Cuba but claim to be victims of Cuba, like Marco Rubio.

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Technological Unemployment and Personal Well-being: Does Work Make Us Happy?

by John Danaher

Let’s assume technological unemployment is going to happen. Let’s assume that automating technologies will take over the majority of economically productive labour. It’s a controversial assumption, to be sure, but one with some argumentative basis.  Should we welcome this possibility? On previous occasions, I have outlined some arguments for thinking that we should. In essence, these arguments claimed that if we could solve the distributional problems arising from technological unemployment (e.g. through a basic income guarantee), then freedom from work could be a boon in terms of personal autonomy, well-being and fulfillment.

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A Game of Musical Chairs over Hot Coals - an analogy about employment and basic income

by Scott Santens

There’s a common belief that people who don’t have jobs somehow just aren’t trying hard enough, and this belief is therefore based on the idea that there are enough jobs for everyone. To get a job, all one really needs to do is just try hard enough.

“Just go get a job.”

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How To Survive the Robot Apocalypse

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

It’s in the air. It’s in the news.

Our struggling economy. Our struggling democracy. The income gap. Technology and artificial intelligence. At first glance, these things might not seem connected, but upon closer inspection, I find they’re all part of one impulse, and together they create the web of humanity—and our future.

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‘The Singularity & Socialism’ - an interview with author C. James Townsend

by B. J. Murphy

The Singularity is near! That’s what a lot of us futurists have been planning for since we first came to understand the exponential growth rate of information technologies. What this technological singularity entails, however, is an entirely different question, and one of which requires radical thinking. One such author, C. James Townsend, has ventured himself on the quest of answering this very question – not just from a scientific or technological viewpoint, but equally an economic and political one as well!

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Transhumanists Helping the Ugandan Mountain Community of Kyarumba

by R. Dennis Hansen

The small community of Kyarumba, Uganda, is located in the southern end of Rwenzori Mountains (aka Mountains of the Moon).  It straddles a wild river that is prone to flooding.  The community recently got electricity.

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