Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


Santens @ North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress
September 30-

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

MULTIMEDIA: Economic Topics

Sustainable abundance as a political program

Profile of Kevin Russell

Crypto Enlightenment: A Social Theory of Blockchains

Direct Democracy

Technological Unemployment and the Future

The Future of Labor

How About a MAXIMUM Wage?

Technological Unemployment and Basic Income

Creative Destruction

How We Can Make the World a Better Place by 2030

Hands Off My Settings

The Future of Work and Death (Trailer)

Techno-Religions and Silicon Prophets

Robots Are Taking Our Jobs

What is the Future of Virtual Assistants?

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Honestly, War Is Over

by David Swanson

When we start talking about ending war, one common reaction—not as common as “You’re a lunatic,” but fairly common—is to propose that if we want to get rid of war we’ll have to get rid of something else first, or sometimes it’s a series of something elses.

Bill de Blasio Knows: Affordable Housing is a Civil Right

by Richard Eskow

Sixty years after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of school integration, a review by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that “Schools remain segregated today because neighborhoods in which they are located are segregated.” EPI’s Richard Rothstein found that “raising (the educational) achievement of low-income black children requires residential integration, from which school integration can follow.”

A Problem of Concepts (Part 2 of 2)

by Valkyrie Ice McGill

This brings us to the second issue, the failure of the majority to understand the concept of a radically different economic paradigm from our present one. I have spent many articles discussing the fact that we are undergoing a transitional phase between two very different economic systems. In 'Adding our way to Abundance' I discuss how 3D printing is beginning to alter our material economy into one that is far more digital, in which the computer file describing how to make a physical object will become far more of a defining point of 'value' than the physical object itself.

Is Transhumanism Compatible with Anarchism?

by John Danaher

Transhumanists want to liberate themselves from the limitations of the human body. Anarchists want to liberate themselves from the limitations of contemporary human social structures. You might think that these two goals are compatible: that the liberatory ethos of transhumanism could complement that of anarchism.

A dirty little secret: books are free (and so should be readers and writers)

by Giulio Prisco

I don’t know anyone who still buys music discs. The age of music downloads started about 15 years ago (remember Napster?), but today it’s much easier: if I want to hear a song, I just find it on Youtube. Film: if a film hasn’t been totally ignored, chances are that it can be found on the torrent sites. And now books: today’s dirty little secret is that most books are free to download.

Hip Hop and Transhumanism: An Interview with M.C. Kilch and Maitreya One

by B. J. Murphy

Growing up in the South gave me a certain perspective of the United States that I wish many wouldn’t have to deal with, from bigotry to ignorance, poverty to inequality. So listening to Hip Hop became my way of escaping these realities. As time progressed, however, and as society evolved, so too did Hip Hop. Now as we reach the Information Age and a nearing Transhumanist paradigm shift, I again look to Hip Hop and see what it’s saying and whether or not it’s keeping up with the times.

The Social Futurist policy toolkit

by Amon Twyman

In a recent blog post and IEET article, I laid out an extremely general critique of Capitalism’s place within our society, and the barest outline of an alternative known as Social Futurism. The essence of that article was that Capitalism does certain things very well but it cannot be paused or adjusted when its effects become problematic, that rapid technological change appears to be on the verge of making certain alternatives viable, and that unfortunately we may be forced to fight for our right to personally choose those alternatives.

Is Mike Judge’s ‘Silicon Valley’ the End of Startup Mania?

by Doug Rushkoff

I’ve always credited ‘Beavis & Butt-head’ creator Mike Judge for bringing down MTV. The simple cartoon, originally a short segment on late-night Liquid Television, consisted mostly of two teenage boys watching rock videos, making commentary about them, and then rejecting them: “this sucks, change it.” For me, the show was armchair media criticism - a lesson in deconstructing television.

Welcome to Plutocrat-geddon! Obama and Thomas Friedman flatter our new billionaire overlords

by Richard Eskow

Forget inequality! Judging by the White House and the media, the real answer is sucking up to the wealthiest. Inequality is a burning topic among economists, especially since the release of Thomas Piketty’s recent book on the subject. Many are questioning whether this is a temporary period of runaway inequality, or whether we are on the verge of an irreversible collapse into extremes of wealth and poverty. (What would we call it? The Oligopolypse? Plutogeddon?)

Will sex workers be replaced by robots? (A Precis)

by John Danaher

I recently published an article in the Journal of Evolution and Technology on the topic of sex work and technological unemployment (available here, here and here). It began by asking whether sex work, specifically prostitution (as opposed to other forms of labour that could be classified as “sex work”, e.g. pornstar or erotic dancer), was vulnerable to technological unemployment. It looked at contrasting responses to that question, and also included some reflections on technological unemployment and the basic income guarantee.

Social Futurist revolution & the Zero State

by Amon Twyman

We have recently seen increased interest in the issues of workplace automation,technological unemployment, and Basic Income Guarantee (AKA Universal Basic Income). Some observers have been perplexed by visceral and sharply divided public opinion, with people viewing these phenomena as inherently positive or negative.

Black Death for the Internet?

by Kathryn Cave

Will viruses be the digital era’s Black Death?

Every Scientist Should Be An Anarchist

by William Gillis

The first time I encountered the claim that an anarchistic society would impede scientific progress I was too shocked — and later busy chortling — to sketch out a thorough response. It’s a surprising sentiment to me for a lot of reasons, not the least for the well known correspondence between scientific progress and social and material freedom in mass societies.

10 Reasons Millennials Should Be Wary of Rand Paul’s Libertarianism

by Richard Eskow

Republican Senator Rand Paul has been making a big play for millennials lately, most notably by taking his civil liberties pitch to colleges around the country. Paul has got the right idea when he says his party must “evolve, adapt or die” (although I think the first two are virtually the same thing). Katie Glueck of Politico wrote that “The Kentucky senator drew a largely friendly reception at the University of California-Berkeley as he skewered the intelligence community.”

Is Charles Koch “Un-American”? Let Thomas Jefferson Decide

by Richard Eskow

What Koch calls “character assassination,” however, others would describe as a simple recounting of the facts. Koch and his brother David are known for injecting massive amounts of their (partially inherited) wealth into the political process, academia, and propaganda in order to promote their right-wing (and self-serving) point of view. But now that he’s brought it up: Is Charles Koch really un-American?

Analysis: The Great Indian Startup Movement

by Kathryn Cave

As vast swathes of consumers move online across India, huge volumes of new startups are flooding into the marketplace to service them. The space is growing rapidly and an ecosystem is emerging to help them succeed. Yet the issues these companies face include a disparate geographic area, a large range of languages and a general lack of credit card use. Maybe those who can conquer this fast expanding India really can take on the world?

Beyond Homophobia: The Even Bigger Reason to Avoid World Vision

by Valerie Tarico

In a media frenzy akin to the Komen scandal, Evangelical aid organization World Vision announced recently that it would allow legally married and monogamous queer Christians on its payroll. Conservative co-religionists, including Franklin Graham of Billy Graham Ministries, and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention took to the media denouncing the decision as a violation of biblical Christianity and all that is good. 

Bill Clinton and Steny Hoyer: The “Wall Street Democrats” Fight Back

by Richard Eskow

If progressive and populist ideas resonate with most voters, some people have asked, why isn’t the Democratic Party doing better in the polls? Here’s one reason: Some of the party’s most prominent leaders are still pushing Wall Street’s unpopular and discredited economic platform. Recent speeches by former President Bill Clinton and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer showed that Wall Street continues to hold considerable sway in their party, despite the fact that its austerity agenda has failed. Its “deficits over growth” ideology has wounded both Europe and the United States.

Implementing a Basic Income via a Digital Currency

by Jon Perry

The idea of basic income is rather old, but it has gained renewed interest in recent times. A basic income is appealing as both a solution to poverty and possible future technological unemployment.

Who’s More Luddite?

by Harry J. Bentham

Who is more “luddite”: the individual or the state? In a recent TED talk, an individual – the robot body of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking in Vancouver – said he beat the state. He argued that, while the internet enabled states with unprecedented powers to spy, it has also provided individuals with the ability to singlehandedly “win” against the state by exposing such abuse to the public.

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan receives 2014 Public Service Award for an individual

Caplan’s work fosters greater understanding of science, medicine and ethics. On March 24, 2014 the National Science Board (NSB) announced that renowned bioethicist and IEET Trustee Arthur Caplan, a global leader in medical ethics, is the 2014 recipient of its Public Service Award for an individual.

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Link to National Science Foundation

Democracy: There’s an App for That

by Doug Rushkoff

The best thing about Occupy Wall St. wasn’t what it argued politically or accomplished legislatively, but what it modeled for us: a new way of engaging with issues, resolving conflict, and reaching consensus. It was a style of engagement that seemed like it could only happen in person, between young people willing to sit in a cold park all night until they could come to an agreement over an issue.

The Labor Transition: Shall we prepare for an “end of work”?

by Cyril Gazengel

In a time of emerging technologies, while artificial intelligence and adaptability of robots is getting better, a new problem may come up: will machines monopolize all active positions in our society? This fear is already topical and enabled resurgence and modernization of the Luddite thinking.(1)

Taxonomy of Technological Unemployment Solutions (and Defeaters)

by Jon Perry

This article represents my latest attempt to categorize the possible solutions to technological unemployment. It’s largely based on episode 14 of my Review the Future Podcast so for a more detailed treatment of this topic, you can listen here.

Carbon Prices Drive Clean Energy Innovation

by Ramez Naam

I want to point out something I see commonly missed.  Carbon prices accelerate innovation that brings down the price of green energy. So do renewable energy portfolio standards, green energy subsidies, and a whole swath of other climate policies. They do this by increasing the scale of the industry, which drives more scale (a price reducer) and also brings more players, more investment (much of which goes to direct R&D) and more price competition between players (the single best driver of reduced prices there has ever been).

Special Issue of JET: Hughes, Walker, Campa & Danaher on Tech Unemployment and BIG

The special issue of the Journal of Evolution and Technology is published and has nine essays on technological unemployment and the basic income guarantee, six of them by IEETers.

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Capitalism, Free Enterprise And Progress: Partners Or Adversaries?

by Darian Worden

The Industrial Revolution is typically regarded as a story of capitalism, free enterprise, and progress in technology and living standards. This paper attempts to disentangle the threads of capitalism, free enterprise, and progress, in the context of the Industrial Revolution, with a focus on Britain and the United States. It aims to bring some historical perspectives into the current discourse.

A Critique of The Second Machine Age (Or the Need to Shed our Romantic Ideas About Wage Labor)

by Jon Perry

On the whole, we like The Second Machine Age book. We think it tells a plausible story and for the most part we agree with its perspective. However, we have criticisms of one of the book’s later chapters, the one entitled “Long-Term Recommendations.” Thus the primary goal of this article is to articulate those criticisms. But first, for the sake of background, we will summarize some of the book’s main arguments.

10 Reasons To Call For More Than $10.10 as a Minimum Wage

by Richard Eskow

President Obama signed an executive order on Wednesday, January 28 of 2014 raising the minimum wage for some federally contracted workers to $10.10. This move illustrates the fact that we need a higher minimum wage for all workers. It also promotes the bill by Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. George Miller that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015.

Sex Work, Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee

by John Danaher

Abstract: Is sex work (specifically, prostitution) vulnerable to technological unemployment? Several authors have argued that it is. They claim that the advent of sophisticated sexual robots will lead to the displacement of human prostitutes, just as, say, the advent of sophisticated manufacturing robots have displaced many traditional forms of factory labour. But are they right? In this article, I critically assess the argument that has been made in favour of this displacement hypothesis. Although I grant the argument a degree of credibility, I argue that the opposing hypothesis—that prostitution will be resilient to technological unemployment—is also worth considering. Indeed, I argue that increasing levels of technological unemployment in other fields may well drive more people into the sex work industry. Furthermore, I argue that no matter which hypothesis you prefer—displacement or resilience—you can make a good argument for the necessity of a basic income guarantee, either as an obvious way to correct for the precarity of sex work, or as a way to disincentivise those who may be drawn to prostitution.

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