Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Futurism

Ramez Naam on “Enhancing Humans, Advancing Humanity”
July 22
San Francisco, CA USA


Anticipation
November 5-7
Trento, Italy




MULTIMEDIA: Futurism Topics

The Future of Superhuman Technology

Transhumanist Fashion Research Film

AI, Immortality and the Future of Selves

Finding Future X in Cape Town

The Future of AI, Physics & Maths

Science Fiction is Really Important But Not Because It’s Right

Radical Change Lies Ahead

What happens when our computers get smarter than we are?

TranshumaNietzsche

Future Day Online

Terminator or Transcendence?

Future Day 2015 with Ben Goertzel

Substrate Autonomous, Networked Avatar Bodies by Design

What is the Future of Suffering?

Review the Future: What is Technoprogressivism?




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Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List









Futurism Topics




How to Survive the End of the Universe

by Alexey Turchin

My plan below needs to be perceived with irony because it is almost irrelevant: we have only a very small chance of surviving the next 1000 years. If we do survive, we have numerous tasks to accomplish before my plan can become a reality.

Additionally, there’s the possibility that the “end of the universe” will arrive sooner, if our collider experiments lead to a vacuum phase transition, which begins at one point and spreads across the visible universe.

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Machines that Dream: Developing Artificial General Intelligence through AI-Kindergarten

by Danko Nikolic

Abstract: Development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) may not be possible exclusively through human-created algorithms. Many aspects of human brain are not understandable to human scientists and engineers. Instead, AGI may require machines to create their own algorithms i.e., machines that learn to learn. It has been proposed that this can be achieved through AI-Kindergarten. In AI-Kindergarten machines are not left alone to figure out on their own the necessary algorithms, but they are heavily guided through human feedback.

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Miss Metaverse (Kate Aquino) - interviewed by Future/Culture Magazine

by Travis James Leland

Miss Metaverse (Katie Aquino) is a futurist consultant and founder of the Futurista™ agency, and startups FutureFriday.org and Awesome Future TV and she has been a guest on several podcasts, including Robot Overlordz, Inspireland, and On Air With Sir.  She recently had an interview with Future/Culture on a variety of topics. Future/Culture is a magazine run by IEET Contributor Travis Leland.

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My Gay Marriage in USA Prediction was Incredibly Wrong, by 20 Years - Hooray!

by Hank Pellissier

In one of my first IEET articles, State-by-State Gay Marriage Acceptance, written in September 2010, I predicted that gay marriage would become legal in all 50 United States by 2035, with Mississippi being the last holdout.

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‘The Singularity & Socialism’ - an interview with author C. James Townsend

by B. J. Murphy

The Singularity is near! That’s what a lot of us futurists have been planning for since we first came to understand the exponential growth rate of information technologies. What this technological singularity entails, however, is an entirely different question, and one of which requires radical thinking. One such author, C. James Townsend, has ventured himself on the quest of answering this very question – not just from a scientific or technological viewpoint, but equally an economic and political one as well!

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The Algorithmic Society and the Birth of Religion

by piero scaruffi

Algorithms increasingly guide our daily life: Google’s ranking algorithm pretty much decides which pages we visit, and therefore which information we access; Amazon’s algorithm influences which books we read; dating algorithms decide your sexual life and possibly your marriage; the smartphone’s navigation algorithm decides which streets we take; Yelp’s algorithm decides where we eat (and it is a simple average!)

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Come On Girls, Code With Me!

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

It’s been in the news a lot lately. Women make up 50% of the users of technology, but hold only 17.6% of Computer Science degrees. Why is there such an imbalance? I’ve been reading about it and find myself stumped…it doesn’t make any sense.

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The Logic of Surveillance Capitalism

by John Danaher

You have probably noticed it already. There is a strange logic at the heart of the modern tech industry. The goal of many new tech startups is not to produce products or services for which consumers are willing to pay. Instead, the goal is create a digital platform or hub that will capture information from as many users as possible — to grab as many ‘eyeballs’ as you can. This information can then be analysed, repackaged and monetised in various ways. The appetite for this information-capture and analysis seems to be insatiable, with ever increasing volumes of information being extracted and analysed from an ever-expanding array of data-monitoring technologies.

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Your Children Won’t Be Able To Live In Space, Without A Major Upgrade

by George Dvorsky

We all dream of journeying (or living) among the stars. But space is a spectacularly awful place for humans, and we’re not suited for life there at all. And yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are all the ways we’ll need to re-engineer the human body, in order to make space our home.

In the six decades that we’ve been sending humans into space, scientists have learned just how truly bad it is for us to live off-planet.

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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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Information Pollution is a Doomsday Scenario

by Riza Berkan

If you go to the Wikipedia page for pollution, you will see several forms of pollution from air varieties to water bound forms, but you will not find information pollution there. This is an excellent example, and a reference point to indicate where our current awareness stands on this issue.

Information pollution, not only should it be in that list with capital letters, but it should also be considered as a prime candidate for some doomsday scenarios. Let me emphasize DOOMSDAY by typing it one more time in caps. Let me be crystal clear and blunt here; “If unchecked, information pollution will bring the end of human civilizations on earth.”

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John Gray and the Puppets of Gloom

by Rick Searle

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about puppets. I know that sounds way too paleo-tech, and weird, but hear me out. Puppets are an ancient technology, which, for all the millennia that passed before, and up until very, very recently, were the primary way we experienced animated art. For the vast majority of human history the way we watched projected figures in front of us playing out some imagined drama was in the form of shadows cast on the walls.

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The Quest for Morphological Freedom - Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Dolezal, and All of Us Everywhere

by Valkyrie Ice McGill

Every major news site is currently packed with dozens of articles on Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic Decathlon winner and openly transgender “hero”, and Rachel Dolezal, the former “white person” who was head of Spokane NAACP, but now she’s a disgraced “villian.”

You think their journeys are different?

Honestly, they look exactly the same to me. Both are after the identical objective, the ability to be who they choose to be, regardless of the role “society” is trying to force them into.

They both want Morphological Freedom.

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African Development: Is Kicking Out Christianity and Islam the Answer?

by Leo Igwe

I state right away that I do not think “Kicking Christianity and Islam out of Africa” is the Answer. Why do I believe this will not lead to development in Africa?

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Transhumanism and Aesthetics

by William Gillis

The recent push by a circle of my friends to produce more anarcho-transhumanist imagery has gotten me thinking about the paucity of aesthetics in the broader transhumanist movement.

Frankly—if we’re going on aesthetics alone—I’ve found most of what’s produced by transhumanists to be quite repelling. This is kind of understandable though. Transhumanism has long existed in an awkward state. We’re not really a traditionally evangelical sort of ideology, or an ideology at all really. Believing that physical/technological freedom is important is hardly a political platform, valuing scientific research is not really a traditional call to action, and so it’s no wonder that when some decide to make glossy brochures they so often come across as awkward imitations. The ideologues of those perspectives we’re at odds with have a lot of experience in the dark arts and in comparison we often come across as naive dilettantes.

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The Man Who Invented the Future

by Rick Searle

It is strange how some of the most influential individuals in human history can sometimes manage to slip out of public consciousness to the extent that almost no one knows who they are. What if I were to tell you that the ideas of one person who lived almost 900 years ago were central to everything from the Protestant Reformation, to the French Revolution, to Russia and America’s peculiar type of nationalism, to Communism and Nazism, to neo-liberal optimists such as Steven Pinker and now Michael Shermer, to (of most interest to this audience) followers of Ray Kurzweil and his Singularity; would you believe me, or think I was pulling a Dan Brown?

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The Automation Loop and its Negative Consequences

by John Danaher

I’m currently reading Nicholas Carr’s book The Glass Cage: Where Automation is Taking Us.  

I think it is an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the growth of AI and robotics, and the future of humanity. Carr is something of a techno-pessimist (though he may prefer ‘realist’) and the book continues the pessimistic theme set down in his previous book The Shallows (which was a critique of the internet and its impact on human cognition). That said, I think The Glass Cage is a superior work. I certainly found it more engaging and persuasive than his previous effort.

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Is Automation Making us Stupid? The Degeneration Argument Against Automation

by John Danaher

This post continues my discussion of the arguments in Nicholas Carr’s recent book The Glass Cage. The book is an extended critique of the trend towards automation. In the previous post, I introduced some of the key concepts needed to understand this critique. As I noted then, automation arises whenever a machine (broadly understood) takes over a task or function that used to be performed by a human (or non-human animal). Automation usually takes place within an intelligence ‘loop’.

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Holacracy and the Transhumanist Party UK

by Amon Twyman

The Transhumanist Party UK represents a new branch of the Transhumanist movement, and as such is now taking the first steps in a long journey. Here at the beginning, we have the opportunity to consider how our movement will be organised, and what kind of character we want it to develop. We have a lot to think about, and work toward.

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A Framework for Understanding our Ethical Relationships with Intelligent Technology

by John Danaher

How do we relate to technology? How does it relate to us? These are important questions, particularly in light of the increasingly ubiquitous and often hidden roles that modern computing technology plays in our lives. We have always relied on different forms of technology, from stone axes to trains and automobiles. But modern computing technology has some important properties. When it incorporates artificially intelligent programmes, and utilises robotic action-implementation systems, it has the ability to interfere with, and possibly supersede, human agency.

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Who’s Winning the Surveillance Arms Race?

by Valkyrie Ice McGill

You know the names Manning, Snowden and Assange, at least, you do unless you’ve been living under a rock. I’m pretty sure you also know that “Big Brother” doesn’t like them much.

But what you might not know is that their very existence shows that “Big Brother” isn’t as large and in charge as you might think he is.

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Freedom in the Age of Algorithms

by Rick Searle

Reflect for a moment on what for many of us has become the average day. You are awoken by your phone whose clock is set via a wireless connection to a cell phone tower, connected to a satellite, all ultimately ending in the ultimate precision machine, a clock that will not lose even a second after 15 billion years of ticking.

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Mad Max: Fury Road reminds us why we love the post-apocalypse

by Kyle Munkittrick

When it comes to telling big, epic, awesome, mythopoetic stories, our world is boring. It is boring because it is known. We can google any spot on the planet and get a complete breakdown of that place’s ecology, politics, history, industries, and turn-by-turn directions on how to get there. Not only that, most of us feel like we kind of know where the future is headed. A.I., rockets to space, self-driving cars, and replicators no longer seem a matter of chance, merely a matter of time. Wait around long enough and the future we’ve all imagined will get here. The now cliché “Where’s my jetpack” is said with the foot-tapping frustration of culture that believes technological progress is not merely inevitable but, in a way, owed.

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The Second Intelligent Species: How Humans Will Become as Irrelevant as Cockroaches

by Marshall Brain

Chapter 1 - The Origin and State of the First Intelligent Species

The following statement is something we all understand, but it bears repeating because it is perhaps the coolest, most interesting scientific fact that we know about our universe and human existence:

Hydrogen, given sufficient time, turns into people.

It is an amazing statement if you think about it. A collection of simple atoms swirling around in the early universe, combined with the ordinary laws of nature like gravity, created human beings living here on planet earth over the course of billions of years.

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The Future of Personal Privacy - Review of “You Have Been Inventoried”

by Tery Spataro

On Friday March 6, 2015, more than 3,000 people attended the ASU Emerge event. This is where Eric Kingsbury, futurist, founder of KITEBA, cofounder of the Confluence Project, launched “You Have Been Inventoried”.  I helped with some of the content for the project, along with others from the Confluence Project.

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How Freedom of Information Will Change the World

by Valkyrie Ice McGill

Everywhere you look in the world you can see pessimism, gloom, doom and negativity. No matter where you live, it seems many are convinced that there’s just no hope. Many people have stopped trying to do anything, while they “wait for god” or “wait for the Singularity.” Or simply wait, period.

The negativity is everywhere.

So, here’s one of my rants, against that negativity.

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We Should Mine the Asteroids Now, but Not The Moon

by David Brin

Planetary Resources, founded by Peter Diamandis and Eric Anderson, aims to pave the way to humanity mining asteroids for vast wealth… as the B612 Foundation hopes to detect and track asteroids that threaten civilization’s survival… a real case of synergy of purpose. (I’ve been helping both.)

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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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Aristotle, Robot Slaves, and a New Economic System

by John G. Messerly

Jaron Lanier’s book “Who Owns the Future?” discusses the role that technology plays in both eliminating jobs and increasing income inequality. Early in the book Lanier quotes from Aristotle’s Politics:

If every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus, which, says the poet, “of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods; ”if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves.

Aristotle saw that the human condition largely depends on what machines can and cannot do; moreover, we can imagine that machines will do much more.

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Neural Data Privacy Rights - An Issue We *Should* Be Worried About

by Melanie Swan

A worry that is not yet on the scientific or cultural agenda is neural data privacy rights. Not even biometric data privacy rights are in purview yet which is surprising given the personal data streams that are amassing from quantified self-tracking activities. There are several reasons why neural data privacy rights could become an important concern.

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