Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Vision

Vita-More @ IFA+ SUMMIT
September 4-9
Berlin Germany


Vita-More @ Next Level of Thinking: AFI+ Summit
September 7-8
Berlin, Germany


Wood @ Pioneering Change in Partnership
September 10
London, UK


Sorgner @ Beyond Humanism Conf: From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?
September 15-18
Seoul, S. Korea


Advances in Meditation Research: Genetics, Neuroscience and Clinical Applications
September 24
NYC, NY USA


Benek @ Transhumanism and the Church
September 24-26
Samford University, Birmingham, AL USA


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




MULTIMEDIA: Vision Topics

This New Telescope Might Show Us the Beginning of the Universe

The Future of Business

Bipolar Disorder Is Like Having Two Serious Illnesses at Once

Digital Stroke

What is the Future of Your Mind?

Technology Made Us Human

Practopoiesis Tells Us Machine Learning Isn’t Enough

What Explains The Rise of Humans?

The Science of Why Nature Is Beautiful to Us

10 Amazing Robots That Will Change the World

First Video Camera to Use Artificial Intelligence to Identify and Self-Edit

Artificial Intelligence for the Blind

Don’t Fear the AI Apocalypse

Fashion industry’s First Transgender Modeling Agency

Moral Enhancement: Do Means Matter Morally?




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Vision Topics




How SETI Will Understand Messages Broadcast by an Alien Intelligence

by George Dvorsky

Imagine the day when we finally receive a signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence, only to find that there’s a message embedded within. Given that we don’t speak the same language, how could we ever hope to make sense of it? We spoke to the experts to find out.

Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence, aka “CETI”, is the branch of SETI concerned with both the transmission and reception of messages between ourselves and an alien civilization. Scientists have been trying to detect signals from an extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) since the 1960s, but haven’t found anything.

Full Story...



Philosophy versus Science versus Politics

by Russell Blackford

We might hope that good arguments will eventually drive out bad arguments – in what Timothy Williamson calls “a reverse analogue of Gresham’s Law”  – and we might want (almost?) complete freedom for ideas and arguments, rather than suppressing potentially valuable ones.

Full Story...



How Steady Can Wind Power Blow?

by Ramez Naam

NREL recently released data showing that next-generation wind turbines could reach an incredible capacity factor of 60% over 2 million square kilometers of the US, or enough to provide roughly 10x as much electricity as the US uses. If true, this would be a game-changer in wind power, as I explain below.

Full Story...



42 Splices and Counting: Nine Facts You Should Know About the Planned Parenthood Smear Campaign

by Valerie Tarico

Imagine that someone hated you (or your company) and wanted to make you look bad. So, he pretended to be a friend or colleague, went to your events, repeatedly asked you to meetings or lunch, gained your trust, and then spent two years recording private conversations. Could he find stuff that would make you sound like a heartless monster? If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, there’s no way it would take years.

Full Story...



Oliver Sacks Has Died in Peace

by John G. Messerly

I have written previously (here and here ) about the great author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, who died recently at his home in New York City. (Here is the link to the story from the New York Times.)

Full Story...



Beginning to Exist and the Kalam Cosmological Argument

by John Danaher

The Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) opens with the following premise:

(1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence

From there, the argument continues with the observation that the universe began to exist and ends with the conclusion that God must be the cause of the universe’s existence.

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Humans: The Next Platform

by Geoffrey Woo

Biohacking and transhumanist advances (including nootropics, extended longevity, cybernetic implants, better behavioral and genetic self-understanding) will materially advance our quality of life and productivity in the coming decade, but we need to be thoughtful about the potential social and ethical pitfalls as we transform. Google Trends shows a marked uptick in searches for “nootropics” and related biohacking fields, so now is the time to have the conversation about the direction we’re headed.

Full Story...



The Political Voice of a Transhumanist - An Interview with Presidential Candidate Zoltan Istvan

by Daniel Faggella

About a year from today, Americans will line up at the polls to vote for the 45th President of the United States.  Whether Zoltan Istvan will represent the Transhumanist Party on that ballot remains to be seen, but it seems likely that he’ll be the first Transhumanist candidate to run for office.

Fringe political parties are not new, though ‘Transhumanist’ does have a novel ring to it. In a recent TechEmergence interview, I asked Zoltan, why is this the time, the 2016 election, for the Transhumanist party to make an entrance?

Full Story...



Nicotine’s Cognitive Benefits – Six Ways to Ingest It

by Steven Umbrello

In 1560 the French ambassador in Portugal, Jean Nicot de Villemain, sent newly discovered seeds to the French king. These seeds would grow a plant that we today know as tobacco, or more properly Nicotiana Tabacum (named after the ambassador).

Although it would take a while for the hobby of smoking tobacco to catch on in the old world, it was already a popular practice amongst the native inhabitants in the western hemisphere.

Full Story...



Practopoiesis - a Theory on How Life Organizes, including the Mind

by Danko Nikolic

Practopoiesis

A thought results primarily from an adjustment of the brain hardware, and not from a computation executed by that hardware.

(Download open-access manuscript at Journal of Theoretical Biology.)

The reason you should be interested in practopoiesis if you are a: 

Full Story...



International Longevity Day - October 1, 2015

by Ilia Stambler

Dear Friends -

There has been emerging a tradition by longevity researchers and activists around the world to organize events dedicated to promotion of longevity research on or around October 1 – the UN International Day of Older Persons.

This day is sometimes referred to in some parts of the longevity activists community as the “International Longevity Day”. As this is the official UN Day of Older Persons, this provides the longevity research activists a perfect opportunity, perhaps even a perfect “excuse”, to emphasize the importance of aging and longevity research for the development of effective health care for the elderly, in the wide public as well as among decision makers.

Full Story...



ETER9: The Social Network That Turns Your Personality Into an Immortal Artificial Intelligence

by George Dvorsky

By learning everything there is to know about you and your online habits, social network ETER9 promises a kind of digital immortality wherein an artificially intelligent agent continues to post on your behalf long after you’re dead. The future is creepier than we ever imagined.

Full Story...



Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?

by Rick Searle

Last time I attempted to grapple with R. Scott Bakker’s intriguing essay on what kinds of philosophy aliens might practice and remaining dizzied by questions.

Luckily, I had a book in my possession which seemed to offer me the answers, a book that had nothing to do with the a modern preoccupation like question of alien philosophers at all, but rather a metaphysical problem that had been barred from philosophy except among seminary students since Darwin; namely, whether or not there was such a thing as moral truth if God didn’t exist.

Full Story...



Ensuring Human Control Over Military Robotics

by Wendell Wallach

Let us stop looking at the challenges posed by the robotization of warfare piecemeal, and begin to reflect comprehensively upon the manner in which autonomous weapons alter the future conduct of war. 

Full Story...



Smart Regulation For Smart Drugs

by Geoffrey Woo

“For the modern mad men and wolves of Wall Street, gone are the days of widespread day drinking and functional cocaine use. Instead, in this age of efficiency above all else, corporate climbers sometimes seek a simple brain boost, something to help them to get the job done without manic jitters or a nasty crash.

For that, they are turning to nootropics,” writes Jack Smith IV on the cover story for an April 2015 edition of the New York Observer.

Full Story...



Ten Health Benefits of Marijuana

by Marc Howard

10. Treatment of Glaucoma

If you are one of the millions who have been suffering from glaucoma, then smoking marijuana can help you get the best eyesight and relieve pressure from they eyes. Intraocular pressure can increase in certain individuals, especially those who have diabetes. Glaucoma is serious disease that can cause blindness.

Full Story...



Ayahuasca Provided Deep Insight into My Most Compelling Questions About Existence

by Marc Howard

A vomit bucket sat on the old wooden floor in front of me, a roll of toilet tissue to my right, and when the shaman sung that low sinister note of the first icaro I puked until I naively thought that I could puke no more only to immediately puke again in some kind of volcanic eruption.

In return I was greeted by the indistinguishable sounds of whatever surrounded our jungle hut that dark night deep in the Amazon jungle. I thought that I was in a dream—except that this was no dream that I’ve ever had nor will ever want to have again.

Full Story...



Asking a Shadow to Dance

by Marcelo Rinesi

Isomorphic is a mathematical term: it means of the same shape. This is a lie.

Full Story...



Seven Ways Racism Is Built In

by David Swanson

1. Wealth Gap: The playing field is not level. The median wealth of a white household in the United States is over 13 times that of a black household, and the gap is widening. Most black households have less than $350 in savings. It takes money not just to make money but to get a start, to live near good schools, to live free of lead paint poisoning, or to address the special needs that every person has.

Full Story...



Tools Have Led Us to Technological Unemployment, but Humans, too, Have a Right To Work

by Gabriel Rothblatt

For millennia, Humans have been crafting tools. We don’t hold a monopoly on the trade, but we’ve done it better than any other species. So good, our entire evolution has been crafted around our dependence on them. With our anatomical features and vulnerabilities, it was perhaps predestined that we would not only master tool making, but become dependent upon it. What came first, the human or the tool?

Full Story...



Aipoly: Helping the Blind See, Using An Artificial Intelligence

by B. J. Murphy

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.” Subsequently, 90% of those visually impaired live in low-income settings. What this entails is a two-fold problem in need of serious addressing. Not only a way to help the visually impaired to see, but equally a means of which is affordable to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Full Story...



IEET Fellows and Affiliate Scholars Receive AI Safety Grants

IEET co-founder Nick Bostrom, IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach and Affiliate Scholar Seth Baum are Principal Investigators on projects n funded by Elon Musk and the Open Philanthropy Project and administered by the Future of Life Institute.

Full Story...



AI is So Hot, We Forgot All About The ‘AI Winter’ (interview with Dr. Nils J. Nilsson)

by Daniel Faggella

The great influencers and contributors in the field of AI today can’t help but acknowledge that part of their success comes from ‘standing on the shoulders’ of the thinkers and doers who came before.  Dr. Nils J. Nilsson, former Stanford researcher and author of The Quest for Artificial Intelligence, is such a pioneer in the field of AI that he aptly recalls the ‘AI Winter’, a period of time in the late 1970s and early 1980s when funding dwindled and AI research went underground.  

Full Story...



Nootropics Aren’t Just For Tech Millionaires

by Geoffrey Woo

Nootropics, more colloquially known as “smart drugs,” are in the zeitgeist. Hollywood productions like Limitless and Lucy to a CNN profile of a tech millionaire - Dave Asprey - spending $300,000 to hack his own body with research chemicals have certainly raised the profile of nootropics in the mainstream.

This essay was co-written with Michael Brandt

Full Story...



Meditation Apps Evaluated - “Headspace” Receives the Highest Score

by Hank Pellissier
Research from the School of Psychology and Counseling at Queensland University of Technology in Australia identified 700 apps associated with “mindfulness” on either iTunes and Google Apps Marketplace. Inclusion criteria was stringent; only apps that cost less than $10 were included.

Full Story...



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.’

Full Story...



The Politics Of Gay Marriage In Nigeria

by Leo Igwe

President Muhammad Buhari has stated during his recent visit to the US that his government would not consider decriminalizing gay marriage in Nigeria. Well, that did not come to me as a surprise because President Buhari is a hardline conservative muslim whom I think would be unwilling to support any legislative or policy change that is not compatible with sharia law.

Full Story...



The Argument from Abandonment and Suffering ( A Specific Version of the Problem of Evil)

by John Danaher

(Previous Entry)

The argument from abandonment and suffering is a specific version of the problem of evil. Erik Wielenberg defends the argument in his recent paper ‘The parent-child analogy and the limits of skeptical theism’.  That paper makes two distinctive contributions to the literature, one being the defence of the argument from abandonment and suffering, the other being a meta-argument about standards for success in the debate between skeptical theists and proponents of the problem of evil.

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IEET Audience Leans towards “Free Will”

We asked “Is there free will?” Of the 103 of you who answered, slightly more than half believed free will was possible.

Full Story...

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