Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


Horizons - Perspectives on Psychedelics
October 9-11

Vita-More @ Alcor Conference
October 9-11
Scottsdale, AZ USA

Engineering the Brain
October 15-16
Chicago, IL USA

MULTIMEDIA: Innovation Topics

Could new gene therapies help us live for much longer?

Ethical Implications of Anti-Aging Medicine

Get Ready for the Asteroid Gold Rush

How the Mysterious Dark Net is Going Mainstream

Gene Therapy is NOT a Monstrous Science / Singularity 1on1

The Future of Business

Technology Made Us Human

Practopoiesis Tells Us Machine Learning Isn’t Enough

What Explains The Rise of Humans?

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

3-D Printing Guns, Drugs, and DNA Weapons: Organized Crime Is Being Decentralized

Reason, Emotion and Morality: Some Cautions for the Enhancement Project

Personal Integrity, Role Alienation, and Utilitarian Moral Enhancement

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Innovation Topics

Mindfulness-Based Therapy – Does it Work? (Summary, Part 3)

by Gareth John

Which brings me to my critique of mindfulness as therapy:

1.  Firstly, mindfulness is not and should not be viewed as the latest cure-all for those with mental health issues. It is not a panacea. By the time the Buddha started employing it within his teachings it had already had a long history of incremental development within a broader spiritual tradition and this continued up until the end of the last century. Within this tradition it is viewed as a powerful tool designed to do to the brain what the brain specifically does not want to do, i.e. remain uninvolved with thought patterns and feelings as they pass before the practitioner.

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Predictive Commercial Technologies Will Alter the Way We Live

by Daniel Faggella

Not only is artificial intelligence set to take over much of the job market in the coming decades, but it also seems to increasingly make our lives that much more convenient. Seems like a double-edged sword, for better or worse. Perhaps one or the other is not inherently bad or good, but the implications of both – this article focuses on the latter - are worth exploring and discussing.

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A Techno-Optimist Movement: For an Evenly Distributed Future

by B. J. Murphy

Prominently known as the “noir prophet” of the cyberpunk subgenre, sci-fi novelist William Ford Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”[1]

We are living in a point of time in which we can conceivably recognize the emergence of a future once envisioned throughout science-fiction literature. Unfortunately, as stated by Gibson, the future doesn’t appear to be evenly distributed. Whether or not this is merely the hallmark of a future emerging from its infancy, only to then mature over time, shouldn’t prevent us from recognizing the current problems laid before us.

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Driverless Cars: the Catalyst Towards Futuristic Smart Cities

by Richard van Hooijdonk

Have you ever considered how many hours are wasted, traveling to work and back every day? Now picture a scenario where you can work while you are being driven to your destination along the fastest and safest routes – without it costing you anything extra? Wouldn’t that be great? Brace yourself – cities are about to change forever. It’s already happening in the backyards of tech and automobile giants like Google, Audi and Mercedes where driverless cars or self-driven automotive technology is being developed and fine-tuned.

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The Natural Evolution of Prosthetic Technology

by Steven Umbrello

With the next installment of the hit video game franchise Deus Ex releasing in early 2016, I believe it is an opportune time to talk about prosthetics and the ethics of cosmetic and functional augmentation. To understand the future of prosthetics - if they call that in the future – we must first look at the history of prostheses to better grasp their evolution.

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Seven Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World Forever

by Gray Scott

When someone asks me what I do, and I tell them that I’m a futurist, the first thing they ask “what is a futurist?” The short answer that I give is “I use current scientific research in emerging technologies to imagine how we will live in the future.”

However, as you can imagine the art of futurology and foresight is much more complex. I spend my days thinking, speaking and writing about the future, and emerging technologies. On any given day I might be in Warsaw speaking at an Innovation Conference, in London speaking at a Global Leadership Summit, or being interviewed by the Discovery Channel. Whatever the situation, I have one singular mission. I want you to think about the future.

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Cryonics and Kim Suozzi

by John G. Messerly

A recent New York Times article chronicled 23-year-old Kim Suozzi’s decision to cryonically preserve her brain. Kim, who died recently of cancer, raised the money for her cryonic preservation by soliciting donations with this post at the subreddit “atheism” at the online site reddit—yes atheists can be generous people. Here is the video that accompanied the post:

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The Electronic Frontier of Longevity and Control

by Brian Hanley

I have been pursuing gene therapies for aging, so my decision to discuss this goes against my current direction. We really don’t know what the limits are of what we might be able to do by playing the autonomic nervous system, but here are some thoughts to chew on.

The human brain is large, but 90% of your nervous system is outside your head. Researchers have found that interrupting vagus nerve signals to the brain can treat rheumatoid arthritis, as well as septic shock symptoms, however, some body subsystems may,  or may not be responsive to this manipulation. We know that nerves signaling the spleen is critical for interruption of sepsis.

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DeepDream: Today Psychedelic Images, Tomorrow Unemployed Artists

by Kaj Sotala

One interesting thing that I noticed about Google’s DeepDream algorithm (which you might also know as “that thing making all pictures look like psychedelic trips“) is that it seems to increase the image quality. For instance, my current Facebook profile picture was ran through DD and looks sharper than the original, which was relatively fuzzy and grainy.

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The Culturally Purposeful Robot

by Daniel Faggella

Earth is a colorful and diversely populated planet. Evolution just happened to be a genius beyond reckoning, but one that many of us take for granted much of the time - perhaps not on a conscious level, but in more of a conditioned and familiar sense. Continents of Homo sapiens developed into different races, created various cultures based on environment (and most likely genes), and the rest is history. Using this as a lens through which to frame humans’ development of robots, is there any reason to doubt that we will one day have any less of a diverse population of robots?

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Digital, Physical, and Religious Immortality - is there Common Ground?

by Agbolade Omowole

I grew up with the mindset to make a difference because life is short. It is said that life is not a measure of your duration on earth, but a measure of your donation to humanity. I have stopped believing that.

There are two ways to live one’s life: by default or by design.  By default, humans grow and become very energetic between ages 18 to 40, after that his/her strength begin to fade. At old age, s/he becomes weak and age related disease make him/her die. His average healthspan is 80 years (in developed countries) and nothing can be done to live beyond a century. That’s the status quo.

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How Vertical Farming is Revolutionizing the Way We Grow Food

by George Dvorsky

Traditional farming is taking a huge toll on the environment—a problem that’s set to worsen due to our ever-growing global population. Yet there are some high-tech solutions. Here’s what you need to know about the burgeoning practice of controlled-environment agriculture and how it’s set to change everything from the foods we eat to the communities we live in.

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Death - The Cunning Frontier

by Brian Hanley

We evolved to die. Our thymus involutes (withers away) in large part due to down-regulation of FoxN1. Once the thymus goes, it’s just a matter of time. Critical mitochondrial genes, GCAT & SHMT2, are turned off, and that causes oxidation damage that we interpreted as the cause of mitochondrial aging when it’s really the outcome. Upregulation ofATF4 expression results in muscle loss in aging. This list will lengthen the more we learn. Aging and death is no accident. It’s got value.

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Our Mind-Meld Future - WE are The Singularity

by Brian Hanley

The singularity is not going to do away with humanity. If there is one, we will be at the center of it. We will be the singularity, together.

Today we are doing brain stem stimulation for treating Parkinson’s disease. Vagus nerve stimulation stops rheumatoid arthritis and can control other immune activity. Cortical arrays pick up brain activity allowing control of robot arm and decoding of speech.  Rejection and scarring are problems with electrodes, but recent advances in injectable micro-electrodes and flexible, stretchable interconnects are changing that. We are slowly improving this technology.

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Sexual Assault, Consent Apps and Technological Solutionism

by John Danaher

Sexual assault and rape are significant social problems. According to some sources, one in five American women will be victims of sexual assault or rape at some point during their university education. Though this stat is somewhat controversial  (see here for a good overview) similar (sometimes higher) figures are reported in other countries. For example, in Ireland one estimate is that 31% of women experience some form of ‘contact abuse’ in their lifetime. The figure for men is lower, but higher than you might suppose, with abuse more likely to occur during childhood.

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Rejuvenation in Religion (Part 2)

by Franco Cortese

Part 1 is HERE

We see far less emphasis on depicting immortality as desirable and attainable through the right variety of religious practices and/or moral codes in Norse religion and mythology. We do, however, find in it conceptions of life after death, as well as the notion of significantly prolonged life in the physical world:

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IEET sponsors “The Future of Politics” conference in Oakland, California

IEET is co-sponsoring a conference on “The Future of Politics.” The event will be held at Humanist Hall, in Oakland, California, on Sunday, October 18, from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

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10 Science Fiction Movies That Predicted the Future

by Marc Howard

10. Body Security Scan

Movie: Total Recall – 1990

In less than 25 years since the film Total Recall was released in cinemas, one of its technologies has gone from fiction to fact and an unpopular reality for travelers. Unlike scanners in Total Recall, which showed the skeleton, the real world scanners only penetrate to the skin, making the naked body visible to security personnel.

Privacy groups have been opposed to the new scanners and succeeded in having the TSA withdraw the machines. Protesters identified the pornographic nature of the images created by the machines as a breach of human dignity. Until the devices can meet new standards, air travelers have to suffer the familiar indignity of being frisked hands on by security personnel instead.

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6 Astounding Ways Africa Is Paving the Way for the Future of Technology

by Jack Smith IV

Every week, the American tech sector uses the most advanced mobile technologies in the world to create some new meaningless distraction. Tinder for dogs, Airbnb for boats, Yo — all sorts of luxury convenience tools created to manufacture and solve problems that don’t exist and extract some in-app purchases along the way.

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The End of OPEC?

by David Brin

Not only was “peak oil” off-base… it was way, way off base. Out in the shale fields, it appears that a new kind of Moore’s Law is at work, with incredible new technologies making wells up to 50% more efficient per year! You may not like carbon—and indeed over the span of a decade, neither do I. But it is in all of our interests that (1) coal be driven out of business by natural gas, (2) American manufacturing be spurred by cheap natural gas, (3) the Middle East lose its compulsory power over our attention, (4) that some powers in the Middle East, especially, come to realize they are not unlimited gods.  

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Why haven’t Robots taken our Jobs? The Complementarity Effect

by John Danaher

You’ve probably noticed the trend. The doomsayers are yelling once more. They are telling us that technology poses a threat to human employment — that the robots are coming for our jobs. This is a thesis that has been defended in several academic papers, popular books and newspaper articles. It has been propounded by leading figures in the tech industry, and repeatedly debated and analysed in the media (particularly new media).

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Trendanalyse: Hirndoping, Bodytuning, Brainfood   - Geschäftsmodellen der Zukunft

by Sven Gábor Jánszky

Langjährige 2b AHEAD-Gäste und Kunden werden sich heute an das Jahr 2005 erinnert fühlen. Damals lud der 2b AHEAD ThinkTank den Schönheitschirurgen Thomas Nitzschke in die Debatten um die Zukunftsmodelle der Marken-Medien-Technologie-Branche ein.

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Envisioning the World of Tomorrow: a Catalog of Future-Looking Web Sites

by David Brin
What technologies are currently shaping our world…and which will continue to mold our future? In this special posting, we’ll take you on a tour of many wondrous web sites and other resources that aim spotlights at the future. And invite you all to chime in with favorites that I missed!

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Why Tech Giants Are Not Pursuing “Intelligent” AI – interview with Dr. Robert Shank

by Daniel Faggella

Watson is an AI icon.  It stands out as one of the first machines capable of searching and making associations, and making use of algorithms that work well; it’s also a machine that provides little to no insight into how human beings really operate at the cognitive level.

Dr. Roger Schank spoke with me  about building a truly intelligent machine, one that operates more like humans and sheds light on our very nature, something that he believes this is more than possible – if you commit the funds and the time. In the world of AI, one can make out two boats (generally) rowing toward the AI buoy, but taking very different paths. The chess-playing machine is a landmark example and the one Schank uses to illustrate his point.

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The Debate Between the Economists and the Technologists, Who Wins?

by Rick Searle

For a while now robots have been back in the news with a vengeance, and almost on cue seem to have revived many of the nightmares that we might have thought had been locked up in the attic of the mind with all sorts of other stuff from the 1980’s, which it was hoped we would never need.

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The Ethics of Chemical Brain Preservation as a Life Saving Medical Procedure

by Michael Cerullo

Life Extension

Throughout most of human history there was little serious reason to debate the ethics of life extension. To quote Hobbes, most lives were “Nasty, brutish, and short.” Yet the lack of success didn’t stop hopes for miraculous life extension and such hopes have been pursued throughout recorded history [1]. While some hope that continued biomedical advances may cure aging [2,3] the focus of this paper will be on the more revolutionary technology of chemical brain preservation. The first part of the paper will examine the technology itself. Then we will examine arguments as to whether it is ethical for individuals to choose chemical brain preservation as a medical procedure and also whether it is ethical to expend resources now to pursue research into advancing the technology of brain preservation.

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Can Quantum Weirdness Be Used to Send Instant Messages Across Space and Time?

by Giulio Prisco

Quantum physicists in the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK have confirmed in the lab that the weird instant correlations between remote “entangled” particles are real. The question that comes to mind is, can quantum weirdness be used to send instant message across space-time, faster than light?

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Transhumanism’s Big Political Blind Spot

by Steve Fuller

For those who still don’t know what it is, transhumanism is basically the application of science and technology to amplify the human condition, potentially well beyond our biological default settings. As someone who has increasingly identified with transhumanism since publishing Humanity 2.0in 2011, I welcome the ideology’s move into the mainstream of politics and culture, at least in the English-speaking world. But the form it has taken is rather curious.

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The First Earthly Superintelligence Will Be an Incremental Mind-Upload of the Global Brain

by Ben Goertzel

In which Dr. Goertzel briefly outlines a new way of thinking about the Global Brain,  in terms of the concept of “glocal memory” ... leading up to, at the end, a new suggestion about what the first super-powerful AGI on our planet may look like (to wit: AN INCREMENTAL MIND-UPLOAD OF THE GLOBAL BRAIN)..

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The Future of Real: Meaning and Social Intelligence in a Transhuman Age

by Dorothy Deasy

I remember seeing the children falling through the air, their limbs akimbo, grasping for land or any anchor that would save them from the fall. I remember the feelings of terror, panic, pity and helplessness as I watched, unable to intervene. And then I awoke – alone, scared and slowly came to the realization that it was simply a dream, though still I feared closing my eyes again too soon lest I return. That dream took place more than 30 years ago. Much of the detail has faded – how did they come to fall? Were they pushed or did they jump like lemmings? – still I remember the images, can recall the emotions. It was just a dream; it wasn’t real. But I recall the experience of the dream. The personal semiotics that the dream contained were real, telling me something about my own psyche, my own sense of self and so making it an experience with meaning.

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