Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Health



MULTIMEDIA: Health Topics

Gene editing can now change an entire species — forever

Rituals Improve Life According to Ancient Chinese Philosophers

Optimize Brain Health by Balancing Social Life with Downtime

Multitasking Is a Myth, and to Attempt It Comes at a Neurobiological Cost

The Neuroscience of Enlightenment

US Anti-Drug Laws Aren’t Scientific — They’re Colonialist and Racist

Mind Hack: Combat Anxiety with This Breathing Technique

How Your Brain Rewards Love Is a Double-Edged Sword

How Meditation Can Lead to a Vegan Diet

We can reprogram life. How to do it wisely

A new superweapon in the fight against cancer

Unnecessary Supplement Use is Rising, Even Among the Elderly

Is your phone part of your mind?

Building Better Humans

The brain may be able to repair itself — with help




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Health Topics




Les membres bioniques seront-ils un jour à la mode ?

by Marc Roux

7ème article de la Chronique de l’AFT Technoprog! sur Silicon Maniacs

À l’heure où des vétérans américains choisissent de remplacer leurs jambes affaiblies par des prothèses de plus en plus avancées et où on peut lire l’histoire d’un jeune autrichien qui décide de faire de même avec sa main paralysée suite à un accident de moto, la question de savoir si un jour nous verrons de plus en plus d’individus choisir d’aller remplacer leurs membres comme s’ils allaient se faire tatouer ou percer reste provocatrice.



Ontario Could Soon Require Anti-Vaxxer Parents to Attend a Science Class

by George Dvorsky

In an effort to curb the dangerous trend of vaccine avoidance, the Liberal government in Ontario wants parents seeking vaccine exemptions for their kids to attend a mandatory education session. It’s a good idea, but getting anti-vaxxers to change their opinions will probably require more than that.



Experts Held a Secret Meeting to Consider Building a Human Genome From Scratch

by George Dvorsky

Earlier this week, over a hundred scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss the radical possibility of creating a synthetic human genome. Strangely, journalists were not invited, and attendees were told to keep a tight lip. Which, given the weighty subject matter, is obvious cause for concern.



The Positive Effect of Nature on People

by John G. Messerly

A colleague recently sent me a link to an article which claims that having nature in your surroundings extends life and increases happiness. The article titled, “Having a nice garden could save your life, study suggests,” notes the strong association between exposure to greenness and vegetation and lower mortality rates.



Ethicists Generally Agree: The Pro-Life Arguments Are Worthless

by John G. Messerly

Abortion continues to make political news, but a question rarely asked by politicians or other interlocutors is: what do professional ethicists think about abortion? If ethicists have reached a consensus about the morality or immorality of abortion, surely their conclusions should be important. And, as a professional ethicist myself, I can tell you that among ethicists it is exceedingly rare to find defenders of the view that abortion is murder. In fact, support for this anti-abortion position, to the extent it exists at all, comes almost exclusively from the small percentage of philosophers who are theists. Yet few seem to take notice of this fact.



Impacts of Indefinite Life Extension: Answers to Common Questions

by Gennady Stolyarov II

As a proponent of attaining indefinite human longevity through the progress of medical science and technology, I am frequently asked to address key questions about the effects that indefinite life extension would have on human incentives, behaviors, and societies. Here, I offer my outlook on what some of these impacts would be.



“We’ll Live Forever and We’ll Become Cyborgs”

by David Orban

I’ve been interviewed in Panorama, an Italian weekly magazine. (Thanks to Dotwords for the English translation, which I slightly edited.)

Originally published on DavidOrban.com on April 24 2016



Nicotine Gum for Depression and Anxiety

by John G. Messerly

(Disclaimer – I’m not a medical doctor. For more info on these topics consult an M.D.)

I was thinking about a friend who quit smoking about 10 years ago with the help of nicotine gum. She eventually kicked the nicotine gum habit too, although she claimed that it was about as difficult to quit the gum as it was the cigarettes. She did notice that her ability to deal with anxiety was reduced after quitting the gum, and she also became more depressed. As a result, she has considered starting to chew gum again.



The Deeper Meaning of the Anthropocene

by Rick Searle

Last year when I wrote a review of E.O. Wilson’s book The Meaning of Human Existence I felt sure it would be the then 85 year old’s last major work. I was wrong having underestimated Professor Wilson’s already impressive intellectual stamina. Perhaps his latest book Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life is indeed his last, the final book that concludes the trilogy of The Social Conquest of Earth and the Meaning of Human Existence.



Better Birth Control for Men – How Would It Work? What’s in the Pipeline?

by Valerie Tarico

Most people think of contraception as an issue of women’s health and rights. But for millennia, men too have wanted choices—the means to decide whether, when, and with whom they father a child.



Why Woman-as-Abortion-Victim is Even Worse than Endorsing Punishment

by Valerie Tarico

Republican attempts to distance from “punishment” instead liken women to feeble minded children, incapable of adult moral agency or responsibility.

If Donald Trump’s comment about punishing women for abortions exposed the bloated belly of the Pro-Life Priesthood, his retraction exposed its sulfur-spewing rear end.



Cellules souches d’embryon humain : pourquoi faut-il en permettre la recherche ?

by Marc Roux

Dans le cadre de sa campagne pour le premier tour des élections, l’actuel président de la République, M. François Hollande avait fait une déclaration qui intéresse le transhumanisme. Il a en effet annoncé que, une fois élu, il proposerait de faciliter la recherche sur les cellules souches embryonnaires, sous entendu : humaine (CSEh) (L’Express, 22/02/2012).



Atheism Reduces Maternal Mortality in Nigeria

by Leo Igwe

If you are one of those who think that atheism is of no benefit to Africa and Africans, that disbelieving in god has no social value or significance for this people then you may rethink your position after reading this.

Full Story...



Intelligence Squared Debate: Are Lifespans Long Enough?

by Jules Hamilton

I attended the intelligence squared debate for aging.  The motion was “Are Lifespans Long Enough?” Honestly, it almost seems like a rigged question.

However, its framing does challenge a common philosophy language trap. “Are Lifespans Long Enough?” What is “enough?” Is it what we have? Is it the minimum to expect? Is it always more?

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Nuclear Waste Pollution is an Existential Risk that Threatens Global Health

by Margaret Morris

Deadly environmental pollution has become an existential risk that threatens the prospect for the long-term survival of our species and a great many others. Here we will focus on the nuclear waste aspect of the problem and ways to mitigate it before there is a critical tipping point in our global ecosystem.

As philosopher Nick Bostrom said in his 2001 paper titled “Existential Risks,” published in the Journal of Evolution and Technology, “Our future, and whether we will have a future at all, may well be determined by how we deal with these challenges.”1

Full Story...



“Tracking and Hacking - Values and Happiness with AI” - interview with John C. Havens

by Hank Pellissier

John C. Havens is the author of Heartificial Intelligence: Embracing Our Humanity To Maximize Machines and Hacking Happiness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World. He is the founder of The Happathon Project, a non-profit utilizing emerging technology and positive psychology to increase human wellbeing.  John has spoken at TEDx, and is a contributor to Mashable, The Guardian, HuffPo and TechCrunch.

I interviewed him recently via email on his technoprogressive ideas.

Full Story...



FDA Thwarts Abortion Foes by Updating Medication Abortion Regimen

by Valerie Tarico

Updated medication abortion regimen is cheaper and more effective.

Think of a medication you take. Now imagine that state legislators passed a law saying that any doctor prescribing that medication had to administer three times the necessary dose—just because that’s the way it was done in the 1990s. That is exactly what has been happening with mifepristone, one of two medications used to induce therapeutic miscarriage, also known as medication abortion. The same meddling legislators have forced doctors to prescribe the other medication, misoprostol, at a lower than ideal dosage, increasing the risk of an incomplete miscarriage.

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Longévité, condition féminine et travail reproductif

by Audrey Arendt

L ’allongement net de la durée de la jeunesse biologique soulève à tort les questions de surpopulation et de croissance démographique, lorsqu’au contraire tout porte à anticiper les effets inverses.



Technology and Caregiving go Hand in Hand

by Marie Miguel

Hungry? You can order some pizza and pay for it online. Need to pay your bills? You don’t have to go to the bank or to the billing company to do it. You can either do it online on your desktop or on your smartphone. Need to buy a gift for your nephew whose birthday is this weekend? No need to go out during your lunch break to buy a gift. Just order online and you can have it delivered at your door step.

Full Story...



The Penalty for Poverty Should Not Be Death

by Richard Eskow

The Brookings Institution recently issued a report showing that poor Americans die at a much earlier age than rich Americans, and that this life expectancy gap between rich and poor is growing rapidly. A professor of public health at Yale University told the New York Times, “It’s embarrassing.”

Yes, it is.

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Google Hedonics

by Andrés Gómez Emilsson

Hello my children!
Hello my sons!
Hello my daughters!
Hello my brothers and sisters!
I’m here to tell you that the world’s last unpleasant experience…
Will be a precisely dateable event!
Yes! It will happen in our lifetimes if we commit all of our energy today…

To the task of Paradise Engineering!

– Yacht, Paradise Engineering

(referencing David Pearce’s Hedonistic Imperative

Full Story...



Review of Michael Bess’, Our Grandchildren Redesigned

by John G. Messerly

Vanderbilt University’s Michael Bess has written an extraordinarily thoughtful new book: Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life In The BioEngineered Society Of The Near Future. The first part of the book introduces the reader to the technologies that will enhance the physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities of our children and grandchildren: pharmaceuticals, bioelectronics, genetics, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and virtual reality.



Should India Promote Scientific Research on Aging?

by Kalluri Subba Rao

Should India promote scientific research on aging? This was the question put to me by a learned friend of mine during our discussion on the ever increasing population of India and in particular that section of the population beyond 60 years of age. I was suggesting, rather emotionally, that it is high time that India had taken the health and other problems of senior citizens seriously and active research be promoted on the phenomenon of getting old and such age associated health and social problems.

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Body-based Trades and the Ethics of Divided Labour

by John Danaher

This post focuses on a particular argument about the ethics of body-based trades, in particular surrogacy and reproductive labour. The argument comes from Anne Phillips and is presented in her book Our Bodies, Whose Property?

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Longevity and the Indian Tradition

by Ilia Stambler

Does the pursuit of longevity, or even radical longevity, have future in India? The following article will consider this question mainly in ideological, cultural and historical terms, rather than in terms of analyzing current technological and demographic trends. In demographic terms, as was also noted earlier, the life expectancy in India is till relatively low compared to other countries (about 65-66 years), yet it is clearly on the rise[1] and no limit can be set for this increase.

Full Story...



Frankenburger ?

by Marc Roux

Cette semaine a été proposée à Londres la première dégustation publique d’un steak haché entièrement issu de la culture in vitro de cellules souches. Cette originalité gastronomique permise par la prouesse de l’équipe du professeur Mark Post de l’université de Maastricht aux Pays-Bas a donné lieu à des réactions diverses, dont celle de l’appellation péjorative de « Frankenburger » donnée à ce premier plat produit par biologie de synthèse (ex : “Frankenburger” : dégustation du premier steak de bœuf “in vitro”).



Beauty Will Be in the Bionic Eye of the Beholder

by B. J. Murphy

How might we define beauty in a future of cyborgs and the genetically enhanced?

Today we live in a world that has been radically transformed by the hands of advanced science and technology. Depending on which sci-fi literature you might’ve read, one could accurately portray today’s reality as a sci-fi future. A future where everyone is interconnected using tiny computational devices which fit in their pockets, biological limbs being replaced by advanced bionic prosthetics, and disease being combated using gene-editing tools.

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Some potential interventions to ameliorate degenerative aging

by Ilia Stambler

The interventions into the degenerative aging process are still in their infancy. A long effortful road will yet need to be traveled from basic research on cell cultures and animal models to effective, safe and widely available human therapies. And many dangers to human health (such as overdose and overstimulation) and many unsubstantiated false claims yet await on this road that need to be guarded against as much as possible. Yet vast promising research is progressing, especially as regards potential pharmaceutical interventions into the aging process.[1] [2] [3] Below are some examples.

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A Pressing Issue — Lack of Knowledge about Global Health

by Natasha Vita-More

Global health could easily be the most pressing global issue today, due in large part to humanity’s general lack of knowledge about health and what this lack of knowledge means to humanity’s future.

Which disease—from the array of infectious diseases, cancer, Tay-Sachs, sickle-cell anemia to Alzheimer’s—should we as a world community invest in curing?

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Understanding Exploitation: Unfair advantage and the lack of consent

by John Danaher

I feel like there is a lot of exploitation in the world. When I buy clothes, I worry that they have been made by exploited workers, labouring in appalling conditions in sweatshops in developing countries. When I use my mobile phone, I worry that the coltan that is used to manufacture the chips has been sourced from exploited workers in conflict zones, and that the phones themselves have been assembled by exploited workers in large factory complexes somewhere in Asia. Of course, I still buy the clothes and use the phone (like pretty much everybody else). So the question arises: should I worry about the exploitation?

Full Story...

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