Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Health



MULTIMEDIA: Health Topics

How better tech could protect us from distraction

This scientist makes ears out of apples

The Psychology of Solitude: Being Alone Can Maximize Productivity

A smarter, more precise way to think about public health

Is Your To Do List Functioning As Mood Repair or Enhancing Your Productivity?

Bill Nye: Want to Combat Climate Change? Talk about It

The School of Life’s Retreat: ‘The Life House’

Gene editing can now change an entire species—forever

The Future of Making Babies

How to read the genome and build a human being

A provocative way to finance the fight against climate change

The Ethics of Changing Human DNA Via Gene Editing

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




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Health Topics




Mens Health Week: One Doctor Thinks We Should Be Talking about Better Birth Control for Guys

by Valerie Tarico

Dr. Stephanie Page at the University of Washington talks about why male birth control matters.

The Centers for Disease Control declared June 13 to 19 of 2016 as “National Men’s Health Week.” If it was Women’s Health Week, media experts would be talking a lot about sexual health and, especially, how women can safeguard against ill-timed or unwanted pregnancy. But for guys, pregnancy prevention is not even on the list, which instead emphasizes sleep, tobacco, food choices, and exercise.



Some Antidepressants Might Actually Be Harmful to Children and Teens

by George Dvorsky

A discouraging new study concludes that most antidepressants are ineffective for children and adolescents, and may even be harmful in some cases. But the researchers caution that the low quantity and quality of clinical trials are obscuring the true effects of these drugs.



Rare Genetic Mutation May Explain Some Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

by George Dvorsky

Canadian scientists have uncovered a single genetic mutation that significantly heightens a person’s chance of developing a progressive and severe form of multiple sclerosis. While no single factor is responsible for causing the neurological disease, the discovery points to possible treatment options.



New Details Emerge About the Plan to Build an Artificial Human Genome

by George Dvorsky

Last month, a group of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered in secret to discuss the possibility of creating a synthetic human genome from scratch. Details of the plan have finally been made public, and it’s as ambitious as it sounds. But critics say they founders of the new project are avoiding the tough ethical questions.



Is Effective Altruism Fair to Small Donors? (Guest Post by Iason Gabriel)

by John Danaher

NOTE: This is a guest post by Iason Gabriel from St. John’s College Oxford. I recently did a series on Iason’s excellent article ‘Effective Altruism and its Critics’. In this post, Iason develops his counterfactual critique of effective altruism. Be sure to check out more of Iason’s work on his academia page.)



Developing countries – help yourselves! A case study of Kazakhstan

by Ilia Stambler

On May 19, 2016, the World Health Organization released its report “World Health Statistics: Monitoring Health for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” describing the recent state of global health. The news is rather encouraging. The global life expectancy increased by 5 years, from about 66.5 to 71.4 presently, recording the fastest increase since the 1960s. The rightly so-called “developing” countries generally showed a much faster improvement compared to the complacently “developed” ones. Thus, Africa generally had the lowest life expectancy.



IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher Publishes New Paper in Journal: Bioethics

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher published a new paper coming out in the journal Bioethics. It’s about the philosophy of education and student use of cognitive enhancement drugs. It suggests that universities might be justified in regulating their students’ use of enhancement drugs, but only in a very mild, non-compulsory way. It suggests that a system of voluntary commitment contracts might be an interesting proposal. The details are below.

Full Story...
Link to Bioethics



Is Effective Altruism Methodologically Biased?

by John Danaher

(Part One; Part Two)

After a long hiatus, I am finally going to complete my series of posts about Iason Gabriel’s article ‘Effective Altruism and its Critics’ (changed from the original title ‘What’s wrong with effective altruism?). I’m pleased to say that once I finish the series I am also going to post a response by Iason himself which follows up on some of the arguments in his paper. Let me start today, however, by recapping some of the material from previous entries and setting the stage for this one.



Trading Modern Medicine for Cheap Meat

by Brynn Arborico

How our dwindling antibiotic supply is misspent in agriculture and what we must do to stop it

A “superbug” resistant to all known antibiotics has surfaced in the United States for the first time, in a woman being treated for a urinary tract infection. Unless radical changes are made in how antibiotics get used, doctors fear that the near future may take us back a pre-antibiotic pattern of death by infection. 



Will Transhumanism Change Racism in the Future?

by Zoltan Istvan

Despite decades of progress, racism and bigotry are still prevalent in the United States. Often, they even dominate the news in American media, like during the Baltimore riots or the Ferguson shooting. Movements like Black Lives Matter remind us that the society we live in still has many biases to be fought against, but that good work can be done to combat bigotry if people unite against it.



A snapshot on the fight against death

by Fran Villalba Segarra

We are humans. We are animals that are born, grow and die. A life, indeed, limited by death. Some, through religion, have tried to address this issue. People believed and still legitimately believe that their soul will go to heaven once they die. However, we are now really close to finally defeating death through science. The aim of this article is to address this exact topic; immortality. This will be done through two sets of arguments. The first one will deal with the social issues related to the topic; the second with the scientific part. Although human death has not yet been cured, it is thought that it will be within the next fifty years, bringing social issues that will have to be considered.



L’absurde peur du temps libre

by Alexandre Maurer

Dans le cadre du transhumanisme “technoprogressiste” que nous promouvons, il y a deux revendications majeures :
– D’une part, faire de l’allongement de la durée de vie en bonne santé une cause médicale à part entière, afin que tous ceux qui le souhaitent puissent en bénéficier.
– D’autre part, redistribuer les bénéfices de l’automatisation, afin que le remplacement progressif des emplois par des machines permette à chacun une vie plus libre et plus épanouissante.



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.

Full Story...



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.

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