Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Military



MULTIMEDIA: Military Topics

10 Amazing Robots That Will Change the World

Peaceful Coexistence of Conflicting Ideologies

The Most Controversial Decision in History

Singularity 1 on 1: The Singularity is the Secular Apotheosis

Singularity 1 on 1: Science is an epistemology in the house of philosophy

Primitivism, Progress, the Transhuman & the Technological Avalanche

The future is going to be wonderful (If we don’t get whacked by the existential risks)

The New Rules of Robot/Human Society

Genetic Modification Outside The Food Context

Scary, Thought-provoking, Futurist Prank by Singularity 1 on 1

The Artilect War

New Study Shows That Bones Are Incredibly Cool

TechDebate: Lethal Autonomous (“Killer”) Robots

Phil Donahue Talks About His Film “Body of War” and the Medical Efforts for Veterans

Futurists discuss The Transhumanist Wager




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Military Topics




Understanding Obama and the Iran Nuclear Deal

by Tsvi Bisk

The following is a thought experiment: an attempt to understand the Iranian deal by way of logical speculation regarding the issues and facts as perceived by the Obama administration.

I am assuming that Obama is not a Marxist/Islamist/Kenyan, consumed by post-colonial resentment and dedicated to destroying the Constitution and the United States. Nor a Black Nationalist anti-Semite, whose most important priority regarding Iran is to screw Israel. I am assuming he is a patriotic American who desires to be a historically great President.

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High-Frequency Combat

by Jamais Cascio

Science and technology luminaries Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Steve Wozniak count among the hundreds of researchers pledging support of a proposed ban on the use of artificial intelligence technologies in warfare. In “Autonomous Weapons: an Open Letter from AI & Robotics Researchers”,  the researchers (along with thousands of citizens not directly involved with AI research) call on the global community to ban “offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.”

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What Does Putin Want?

by David Brin

Talk of war? Major war in Europe?  This long and very detailed article in Vox examines the ways that Russia’s contretemps with NATO and the US and the West could spiral out of control, via many of the same psychological  and strategic miscalculations that tumbled the planet – 100 years ago – into the First World War.  

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Erdogan’s Wars

by piero scaruffi

It is incredible how international events can be driven by the electoral ambitions of some megalomaniacs. Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu has created all sorts of problems in his backyard just to be reelected. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now doing the same in Turkey after his party Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the majority in recent parliamentary elections.

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Biafra Survives: the Igbo people, 45 years after the Civil War

by Hank Pellissier

The Biafra Civil War from 1967-1970 resulted when the small West African region – primarily populated by the Igbo tribe – attempted to secede from Nigeria, a former British colony.  An estimated 1-2 million people were killed in the conflict; 40% were Igbo children who died of starvation and malnutrition. The Igbo thought the global community would support them, but they gained little assistance, whereas Nigeria was massively armed by the British and Russians. Biafra was invaded and the Igbo were eventually subdued.

How are the Igbo doing today?  Have they survived economically? Are they participating in Nigerian political affairs?  Have enmities been forgiven?

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Thailand’s Royal Problem: Democratic Grumblings in The Land of Smiles

by Hank Pellissier

My family and I are the only “white people” on this flight to Thailand, where we’ll spend a 4-week vacation. My initial observation of Thais on our flight over is:

1) everyone is polite
2) everyone is smiling
3) everyone is quiet
4) no one is fat

Our fellow passengers are ethereally peaceful, with subtle Buddha-grins as they quietly move about in their slender forms. The Boeing interior is so silent it seems like we’re the only passengers:

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 70 Year Nuclear Explosions Not Done Yet

by David Swanson

This August 6th and 9th millions of people will mark the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in those cities and at events around the world. Some will celebrate the recent deal in which Iran committed not to pursue nuclear weapons, and to comply with the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and with requirements not imposed on any other nation.

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Can transhumanism avoid becoming the Marxism of the 21st century?

by Steve Fuller

Is there any politically tractable strategy for transhumanism to avoid the Bismarckian move, which ultimately curtails the capacity of basic research to explore and challenge the fundamental limits of our being? My answer is as follows: Transhumanists need to take a more positive attitude towards the military.

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Peace Lessons - effective strategies for revolutionary change in the world

by David Swanson

I just read what may be the best introduction to peace studies I’ve ever seen. It’s called Peace Lessons, and is a new book by Timothy Braatz. It’s not too fast or too slow, neither obscure nor boring. It does not drive the reader away from activism toward meditation and “inner peace,” but begins with and maintains a focus on activism and effective strategy for revolutionary change in the world on the scale that is needed. As you may be gathering, I’ve read some similar books about which I had major complaints.

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Mapping Military Madness: 2015 Update

by David Swanson

Once again this year, the clear winner, in not just women’s soccer and incarceration, but also in militarism, is the United States of America, sweeping nearly every category of military insanity with seemingly effortless ease. Find all of last year’s and this year’s maps here:

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Existential Risks – my shortlist ranging from conventional to bizarre

by Steven Umbrello

The dangers that face Earth and its inhabitants are diverse and intricate. The solutions, if any exists per particular danger, are equally complex and nuanced. Below you will find a shortlist of threats that range from conventional to bizarre.

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How many X-Risks for Humanity? This Roadmap has 100 Doomsday Scenarios

by Alexey Turchin

In 2008 I was working on a Russian language book “Structure of the Global Catastrophe”.  I showed it to a friend to review, the geologist Aranovich, an old friend of my late mother’s husband.

We started to discuss Stevenson’s probe — a hypothetical vehicle which could reach the earth’s core by melting its way through the mantle, taking scientific instruments with it. It would take the form of a large drop of molten iron – at least 60,000 tons – theoretically feasible, but practically impossible.

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The Atlas Burden: The Cost of America’s Nuclear Arsenal

by Steven Umbrello

Over the course of the next three years, the United States projects that it will continue the reduction of its nuclear arsenal. As it stands, the country currently holds approximately 7’100 nuclear weapons, 2,340 of which are retired and waiting to be dismantled. This leaves approximately 4,760 warheads both in deployment and storage.

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Human Experimentation: a CIA Habit

by David Swanson

The Guardian on Monday made public a CIA document allowing the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research.”

Human what?

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A Truly Major Issue, helping decide the fate of democracy

by David Brin

One thing I promise, when we do politics here.  It won’t be stuff you are reading anywhere else.

Cranking back NSA spying…?

Topmost in the news, recently, the shocking ability of the U.S. Congress to actually pass a compromise bill, one that dials back a few of the powers given (since 9/11) to our Professional Protector Caste (PPC) in the Patriot Act.

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What Would Happen If All Our Satellites Were Suddenly Destroyed?

by George Dvorsky

Since their inception 60 years ago, satellites have gone on to become an indispensable component of our modern high-tech civilization. But because they’re reliable and practically invisible, we take their existence for granted. Here’s what would happen if all our satellites suddenly just disappeared.

The idea that all the satellites — or at least good portion of them — could be rendered inoperable is not as outlandish as it might seem at first. There are at least three plausible scenarios in which this could happen.

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If U.S. Military Spending Returned to 2001 Level

by David Swanson

In 2001, U.S. military spending was $397 billion, from which it soared to a peak of $720 billion in 2010, and is now at $610 billion in 2015.

These figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (in constant 2011 dollars) exclude debt payments, veterans costs, and civil defense, which raise the figure to over $1 trillion a year now, not counting state and local spending on the military.

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Film: Costa Rica Abolished its Military, Never Regretted it

by David Swanson

The forthcoming film, A Bold Peace: Costa Rica’s Path of Demilitarization,  should be given every possible means of support and promotion. After all, it documents the blatant violation of laws of physics, human nature, and economics, as understood in the United States—and the violators seem positively gleeful about it.

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A Misleading Moment of Celebration for a New Surveillance Program

by Norman Solomon

The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights.

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We May be Systematically Underestimating the Probability of Annihilation

by Phil Torres

This article examines the risks posed by “unknown unknowns,” which I call monsters. It then introduces a taxonomy of the unknowable, and argues that one category of this taxonomy in particular should lead us to inflate our prior probability estimates of annihilation, whatever they happen to be. The lesson here is ultimately the same as the Doomsday Argument, except the reasoning is far more robust.

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The post-Westphalian Hooligan

by Marcelo Rinesi

Last Thursday’s unprecedented incidents at one of the world’s most famous soccer matches illustrate the dark side of the post- (and pre-) Westphalian world.

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Calum Chace on Pandora’s Brain: AI is Coming and It Could Be the Best or the Worst Thing

by Nikola Danaylov

Pandora’s Brain is one of the most philosophical science fiction novels I have read recently. And since Calum Chace has been a valuable contributor to Singularity Weblog, as well as a great blogger with an interesting and diverse experience in his own right, I thought that he would make a great guest for my Singularity 1on1 podcast. And so I invited him for an interview which turned out to be a very enjoyable conversation indeed.



Today’s Robot Films Reflect Popular Fears Concerning Artificial Intelligence

by Maria Ramos

The civilized world has an ever-intensifying relationship to automated computer technology. It is involved in nearly everything we do, every day, from the time we wake to the time we go to sleep. Why, then, does so much of our entertainment reflect a deep-set fear of technology and its potential for failure?



To Prevent World War III, Do Not Arm Ukraine’s Regime

by Gennady Stolyarov II

One can rarely find four thinkers as distinct from one another as Gorbachev, Kissinger, Chomsky, and Ron Paul, and yet, for all of their differences, each of them is clearly guided by a systematic, thoroughly considered intellectual framework. All four of these thinkers have concluded, starting from different practical and moral premises, that further escalation of the Ukraine crisis by the United States would be a dangerous, deeply inadvisable behavior.



Self Absorption

by Joseph R. Carvalko

Looking back on my early experience as a young engineer, I am reminded how little my colleagues and I appreciated that what we did would change the world, for good and for bad. I am also reminded how Marcel Golay, one of my early mentors understood the duality of technology and how this feature plays large in its application for the right purpose.



10 Horrifying Technologies That Should Never Be Allowed To Exist

by George Dvorsky

As we head deeper into the 21st century, we’re starting to catch a glimpse of the fantastic technological possibilities that await. But we’re also starting to get a grim sense of the potential horrors. Here are 10 frightening technologies that should never, ever, come into existence.



Advent of the Cybernetic Legionnaire

by Michael Jeffers

An important question regarding human enhancement in the military is how the deployment of modified soldiers will redefine the ethical limitations on how combatants may be treated. The provisions of the Geneva Conventions and other bodies of international law prohibiting torture generally rest on certain assumptions about the human condition, such as pain thresholds, sleep requirements, and other forms of fragility.



Don’t fear the robot car bomb

by Patrick Lin

Within the next few years, autonomous vehicles—alias robot cars—could be weaponized, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fears. In a recently disclosed report, FBI experts wrote that they believe that robot cars would be “game changing” for law enforcement. The self-driving machines could be professional getaway drivers, to name one possibility. Given the pace of developments on autonomous cars, this doesn’t seem implausible.



One Nation Under Siege: “Counterinsurgency Cops” in Ferguson – and on TV

by Richard Eskow

The transfer of used military equipment from the armed forces to police departments around the country has been accompanied, at least to a certain extent, by a shift in public thinking. The news media have played a critical part in that shift, both in its coverage and in what it chooses not to cover.



The First Machine War and the Lessons of Mortality

by Rick Searle

I just finished a thrilling little book about the first machine war. The author writes of a war set off by a terrorist attack where the very speed of machines being put into action,and the near light speed of telecommunications whipping up public opinion to do something now, drives countries into a world war. In his vision whole new theaters of war, amounting to fourth and fifth dimensions, have been invented. Amid a storm of steel huge hulking machines roam across the landscape and literally shred human beings in their path to pieces. Low flying avions fill the sky taking out individual targets or help calibrate precision attacks from incredible distances beyond. Wireless communications connect soldiers and machine together in a kind of world-net…

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