Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Health

Engineering the Brain
October 15-16
Chicago, IL USA




MULTIMEDIA: Health Topics

10 Technologies That Could Make Humans Immortal

Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong

Peaceful Coexistence of Conflicting Ideologies

The “God Helmet” Can Give You Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences

Debunking the 5 Most Common Meditation Myths

Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better, Even if You’re Not a Monk

The Forgotten History of Autism

Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio

Synthetic Sex and “Being Yourself”

The surprisingly logical minds of babies

Lift Weights Stronger Starting in Your Sixties

Transformative Technology: An Evolution of Contemplative Practice

Using Neurotechnologies to Enhance Virtues

Let’s kick oil while the price is down

Support the Progressive Caucus Budget




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Health Topics




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?

Full Story...



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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Conservatives Choose More Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion over Better Birth Control for Teens

by Valerie Tarico

Fewer pregnant teens, fewer abortions, fewer unwed mothers, fewer single-parent families on welfare, more balanced state budgets. Sounds like a set of goals that should be common ground for anyone who cares about America’s future, right?

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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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Child Witchcraft Accusations in Ivory Coast

by Leo Igwe

Ivory Coast is one of the countries in Africa where belief is witchcraft is widespread. A Gallup Poll found in 2010 that up to 95 percent of the populations believed in “sorciellerie” – the French word for witchcraft. This means that witchcraft is more or less a ‘national religion’. Almost everyone in the country thinks as a matter of fact, not fantasy that witchcraft is real in its conception and consequences, that people can harm others using mystical means.

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Transhumanist Therapy I: Historical Case Studies

by William Sims Bainbridge

Transhumanists typically think of human enhancement in terms of biological and computational technologies that are physical in nature, and yet historically many schools of psychology have aimed to improve people through non-physical therapies, personality training, or methods of self-discovery based on relatively standard theories in social and behavioral science.  The diversity of such approaches is absolutely astonishing, but in their underlying ideologies and treatment practices, some are indistinguishable from religions, others are clearly tied to science, and still others apparently are based on extrapolations from popular notions about the human mind that may or may not be correct.

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Human Extinction Risks due to Artificial Intelligence Development - 55 ways we can be obliterated

by Alexey Turchin

This map shows that AI failure resulting in human extinction could happen on different levels of AI development, namely:

1. before it starts self-improvement (which is unlikely but we still can envision several failure modes),
2. during its take off, when it uses different instruments to break out from its initial confinement, and
3. after its successful takeover of the world, when it starts to implement its goal system which could be unfriendly, or its friendliness may be flawed. 

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Fox News Freaks Out Over Seattle Clinics that Give Teens Better Birth Control but not Coca-Cola

by Valerie Tarico

As right wing news outlets have it, untrained government workers in Washington State are doing secret gynecological procedures on 11 year old school girls, implanting dangerous and unhealthy birth control without consent from doting parents who have no idea they are losing their daughters! Liberal priorities are so messed up that it’s easier for an 11 year old to get an IUD than a Coca-Cola at a Washington school.

Full Story...



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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The “Immortality Bus” Will Soon Be Rolling Across America

by Hank Pellissier

The “Immortality Bus” - appearing as a 40-foot coffin - will soon be rolling down American highways as a “pro-science symbol of resistance against aging and death.”  The bus will stop at rallies and events to argue “for science and technology to overcome death.”

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Intelligent cities as a step towards a technate

by Enrique Lescure

Introduction

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.

Full Story...



IEET co-sponsors “Transhuman Superpowers and Longevity Conference” in Oakland, CA

The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology is co-sponsoring a conference in San Francisco’s East Bay, at Humanist Hall in Oakland, on July 12.

The event is called “Transhuman Superpowers and Longevity”

Full Story...



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.

Full Story...



Aqua: meeting the challenge of freshwater depletion

by Enrique Lescure

Introduction

The cradle of life on Earth can be said to be found in the blue. For many hundreds of millions of years, the ascending continents of the young planet were as dead and barren as the wastelands of Mars, while the oceans and lakes were teeming with life. Water was the solvent in which the first life-bearing cells emerged during the chaotic epochs after the birth of the Moon.

Full Story...



US Congress Wants Religious Experts to Weigh in on Three-Parent IVF

by George Dvorsky

Several months ago, the UK approved  a groundbreaking reproductive technique in which babies are created from the genetic material of three people. The US is now considering the procedure, but Congress’s new spending bill will require religious experts to review a forthcoming report.

Full Story...



“H+ Clinic” is 55% Funded - Transhumanitarian Project in western Uganda

by Hank Pellissier

“Transhumanitarians” are contributing hundreds of dollars via a GoFundMe campaign to establish a “H+ Clinic” in an isolated Ruwenzori mountain village of western Uganda.

Full Story...



Stoicism in the Post-Singularity Future

by Steven Umbrello

Futurists like Ray Kurzweil believe that advancements in the field of artificial intelligence will culminate to a point in the near future to allow humans to transcend their biological form. This is what he calls the Singularity and he describes it as follows:

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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation - Creating Mystical States in the Temporal Lobe

by Dirk Bruere


TMS involves using a computer controlled array of electromagnetic coils placed on or close to the scalp and then activated in such a manner that magnetic “waves” stimulate neural activity in selected areas of the brain. There are essentially two types of TMS technology largely defined by the power levels used. A lot of contemporary research (circa 2005CE) uses extremely high power levels, in many cases involving peak powers flowing in the coils in the megawatt region, to directly “kick” the brain in selected locations.

Full Story...



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.

Full Story...



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.

Full Story...



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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The Revolutionary Potential of Psychedelics

by Aaron Moritz

Psychedelic substances are resurging into the popular culture in ways unrivaled since the starry-eyed, long-haired baby boomers of the 1960’s dropped acid and discovered peace and promiscuity. However, today’s generation of visionary psychonauts are making a much more measured movement to the mainstream than the hundred thousand hippies who descended on San Francisco in 1967’s summer of love.

Full Story...



Human Brain 2.0 - what is the most essential upgrade? Increased Rationality, Empathy, or Happiness?

by Hank Pellissier

Our human brains obviously needs improvement, in multiple different capacities. But - what is the most important upgrade? Increased Rationality? Increased Empathy? Elevated Happiness?

I posed this question to members of IEET’s new Advisory Board, and I received a variety of answers:

Full Story...



Simple Intervention Cuts Unplanned Pregnancy by Half

by Valerie Tarico

A single half-day training that teaches medical clinics how to provide better birth control can radically improve outcomes for patients, cutting unplanned pregnancies by half according to research published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet.

Full Story...



The mTOR Story Part 1 – What Makes This Important Pro-Aging Molecule Active?

by Maria Konovalenko

I have mentioned mTOR as one of the main aging genes on multiple occasions. It’s about time I tell you what it is, what it does and why it is so important in aging.

mTOR has a little m in front of TOR, which means I am speaking about mammals. It technically means «mechanistic» TOR, but think of it as the molecule that mice and all of us have, whereas in worms is it just TOR.

Full Story...



It is Unethical Not to Use Genetic Engineering

by Maria Konovalenko

When I hear that the conversation is about an ethical problem I anticipate that right now the people are going to put everything upside down and end with common sense. Appealing to ethics has always been the weapon of conservatism, the last resort of imbecility.

Full Story...



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.

Full Story...



Media and Critical Reporting of Traditional Medicine Claims in Africa

by Leo Igwe

African traditional medicine is widely perceived as a form of voodoo medicine, as a survival of some stone age pre-modern illiterate formation that still functions and fulfills medical purposes for Africans. This is, at least, how many anthropologists have viewed the subject. They have argued that African traditional medicine is unlike ‘western medicine’, and then go on to establish how witchcraft and magic is embedded in this ‘unique’ medical practice. African medicine men and women are portrayed as witch doctors - as if the traditional-medical profession is about treating and curing witchcraft.

Full Story...

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