Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


MULTIMEDIA: Innovation Topics

How Digital Media Finally Enables Distributed Enterprise

Ep 8: Liz Parrish, Life Extension & Reversing the Aging Process

Network Society Interview with David Orban

Don’t we all wish to be Wonder Woman or Superman?

These Robots Come to the Rescue after a Disaster

The Future of Flying Robots

We Can Now Edit Our DNA. But Let’s Do it Wisely


The moral bias behind your search results

Can a Computer Simulate Consciousness?

Profile of Kevin Russell

BioViva: Ending Aging through Gene Therapy

The Physics of Free Will

It’s All Fun and Games Until The Robot Wins

Breaking Down the Tech from “The Martian”

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Innovation Topics

APM, Nanotech and a Solution to Middle-Eastern Stability

by Stefan Morrone

The region of the Middle East has been in turmoil for more than a decade.  With the advent of the recent terrorist attacks on Paris and the threat of more by the Muslim extremist group ISIS, many have been pondering how the problems plaguing the Middle East can be solved.  I believe that technology can play an integral role in the process of repairing and advancing the region.  The modernization and digitization of the entire region’s infrastructure would provide numerous benefits that would increase stability and redress the damage done to the economy and society from years of war.

Lockheed Martin’s New Exoskeleton Paves Way Towards Cyborg Future

by B. J. Murphy

Airing every Sunday 9/8c, National Geographic’s latest TV show Breakthrough, hosted by Paul Giamatti, provides a unique walkthrough into the growing arena of “how-to-enhance-human-beings” using advanced science and technology. In their latest episode, “More Than Human,” Giamatti gets up close and personal with Lockheed Martin’s newest exoskeleton suit FORTIS (video clip of the episode is provided below).

Christians Should Support Scientists and Technologists

by Christopher J. Benek

It is often articulated in society that Christianity and science/technology are at odds. While most people of faith do not hold this belief, it is imperative that the church universal continue to dispute this negative stereotype. The most effective way that Christians can do so is by actively affirming their support for people called to work in the fields of science and technology.

Is Anyone Competent to Regulate Artificial Intelligence?

by John Danaher

Artificial intelligence is a classic risk/reward technology. If developed safely and properly, it could be a great boon. If developed recklessly and improperly, it could pose a significant risk. Typically, we try to manage this risk/reward ratio through various regulatory mechanisms. But AI poses significant regulatory challenges. In a previous post, I outlined eight of these challenges. They were arranged into three main groups. The first consisted of definitional problems: what is AI anyway? The second consisted of ex ante problems: how could you safely guide the development of AI technology? And the third consisted of ex post problems: what happens once the technology is unleashed into the world? They are depicted in the diagram above.

Sci Fi Visons : Gloom vs Optimism

by David Brin

Some brilliant anthologies for your shopping list! These include one about war and one that’s free, one about Star Wars and one by me!

Blockchain Technology, Smart Contracts and Smart Property

by John Danaher

Blockchain technology is at the heart of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Most people have heard of Bitcoin and some are excited by the prospect it raises of a decentralised, stateless currency/payment system. But this is not the most interesting thing about Bitcoin. It is the blockchain technology itself that is the real breakthrough. It not only provides the foundation for a currency and payment system; it also provides the foundation for new ways of organising and managing basic social relationships. This includes legal relationships such as those involved in contractual exchange and proprietary ownership. The most prominent expression of this potential comes in the shape of Ethereum, an open source platform that allows developers to use blockchains for whatever purpose they see fit.

The Campaign Against Sex Robots: A Critical Analysis

by John Danaher

The Campaign Against Sex Robots launched to much media fanfare back in September. The brainchild of Dr. Kathleen Richardson from De Montfort University in Leicester UK, and Dr. Erik Brilling from University of Skovde in Sweden, the campaign aims to highlight the ways in which the development of sex robots could be ‘potentially harmful and will contribute to inequalities in society’. What’s more, despite being a relative newcomer, the campaign may have already achieved its first significant ‘scalp’. The 2nd International Conference on Love and Sex with Robots, organised by sex robot pioneer David Levy was due to be held in Malaysia this month (November 2015) but was cancelled by Malaysian authorities shortly after the campaign was launched.

The Rise of A.I. Ethics

by Daniel Faggella

Why is it that the bacon you are about to bite into is an acceptable source of food for you, but possibly not so for the person sitting next to you? Perhaps he or she eats according to a religious code, or has a health-related reason for skipping the meat products. Maybe he or she is a proponent of animal welfare and has decided to only eat meat products that are slaughtered “transparently and humanely”; or, it could be that he or she has decided not to eat an animal that is conscious on any level.

The Future Business of Body Shops

by B. J. Murphy

The following essay was originally published as a chapter for The Future of Business: Critical Insights Into a Rapidly Changing World From 60 Future Thinkers. The book was edited by Rohit Talwar and published by Fast Future Publishing.

Promising… and worrisome news

by David Brin

Don’t let the gloom industry get you down. The news isn’t all bad. Progress happens. For example…

The beauty of the holonic understanding of reality

by Enrique Lescure

The Universe can be defined in many ways. What is clear is that there are different levels of realities, which are interacting with one another. Matter is arranged in atoms, which taken together turns into molecules. These molecules arrange themselves in larger objects, such as grains of sand, rock, driplets of liquid, single-cell organisms or cells belonging to larger organisms. This diverse symphony of matter forms eco-systems which form a biosphere that constantly develops through evolution – a neverending symphony of beauty and colours.

De l’amélioration morale

by Marc Roux

Les transhumanistes, en bons humanistes, pensent que l’humain est perfectible, et ceci est valable aussi bien pour ses caractéristiques physiques que morales. La différence réside surtout en ce que, à l’effet de la philosophie, de l’éducation, de la culture ou de la loi, c’est-à-dire du consensus politique, ils estiment que nous sommes maintenant en mesure d’ajouter la technologie pour contribuer à cette amélioration continue (et non la leur substituer, comme se plaisent à l’écrire de nombreux commentateurs pressés). Or, malgré des siècles de législation, de culture, d’éducation et de philosophie, les progrès de ce que les philosophes des Lumières appelaient la Vertu semblent buter sur ce qui reste jusqu’à aujourd’hui la condition biologique de l’humain.

Machine Trust Language (MTL): Human-Machine Collaboration

by Melanie Swan

Andreas Antonopoulos’s articulation of network-enforced trust primitives (Oct 2015, Feb 2014) could be extended more broadly into the concept of Machine Trust Language (MTL). While blockchains are being popularly conceived as trust machines, and as a new mode of creating societal shared trust, Andreas addresses how at the compositional level, this trust is being generated. The key idea is thinking in terms of a language of trust, of its primitives, its quanta, its elemental pieces, its phonemes, words, and grammar that can be assembled into a computational trust system.

Understanding the Threat of Algocracy

by John Danaher

On 2nd November, I gave a talk entitled “The Threat of Algocracy: Reality, Resistance and Accommodation” to the Programmable City Project at Maynooth University. You can watch the video of my presentation (minus the Q&A) below.

Whole Brain Emulation: Reverse Engineering a Mind

by Randal A. Koene

(Transcript of the speech presented at Lincoln Center, New York, at the conference Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution.)

I am going to discuss whole brain emulation, about what it takes to reverse engineer a mind. This is a topic that you’ve heard mentioned a few times over, that term at least (at least during the conference), and several of the speakers that you saw today - and more that are coming up - are going to be talking about technologies, or have talked about technologies, that address a specific part of that. But I want to show: How does all this come together? How could you reverse engineer a mind? And I wanted to show: How do you actually determine the goals for something like that?

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Ectogenesis Offers Multiple Unique Benefits

by Evie Kendal

The recent news that womb transplants will be trialled in the UK has sparked much debate regarding the desirability of this and other future infertility interventions.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the idea of artificial wombs has been brought into this discussion, complete with the usual concerns about women’s reproductive liberty.

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Exercise in a Bottle

by David Kekich

Dear Future Centenarian,  

If exercise were a drug, it would perhaps be the most important one ever developed. And you would pay through the nose for it.

It’s not though… and it’s free.
Here’s some more insight and information from Reason on this major topic:

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Tesla, Google and the Road to Autonomy

by Stefan Morrone

The automobile industry is still looking to develop the first fully autonomous vehicle, but Tesla Motors recently took the industry one step closer. The US car company has managed to simultaneously make one of the biggest advancements in the history of recent automobile technology and generate massive controversy at the same time.

Crypto Enlightenment: A Social Theory of Blockchains

by Melanie Swan

There is something new and fundamental happening in the world which could be the start of the next enlightenment period. The core of this is shifting from centralized to decentralized models in all aspects of our lives, both individual and societally.

Transhumanist Therapy VI: The Final Frontier

by William Sims Bainbridge

Outer space is said to be “the final frontier,” yet that frontier may have closed while one other remains open: the human mind.  In December 1972 I stood in the midnight darkness on a Florida beach to watch the launch of Apollo 17, the last voyage humans have ever taken beyond the confines of Earth orbit, pondering what it meant for our feeble but ambitious species.

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Adaptability is the Key, not Being Well Adapted

by David Orban

Is it best to be perfectly adapted to a given environment? Or, rather, is it better to be able to adapt to the changes in that environment or to a completely new one? Adaptability is a more useful characteristic in a rapidly changing world.

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A World in Which

by Jamais Cascio

Why do we think about the future? This may seem an odd setting in which to ask this question. We’re all here tonight because we’re interested in big changes that seem to be thundering ahead in technology, in politics, in the human experience. But there has to be more than “interest.” An organization like the Institute for the Future wouldn’t be around for nearly a half-century if it was really just the Institute for Idle Curiosity About Tomorrow.

How Cheap Can Energy Storage Get? Pretty Darn Cheap

by Ramez Naam

This is part 3 of a series looking at the economic trends of new energy technologies. Part 1 looked at how cheap solar can get (very cheap indeed). Part 2 looked at the declining cost and rising reliability of wind power. Now let’s talk about storage.

A map of currently available life extension methods

by Alexey Turchin

Extremely large payoff from life extension

We live in special period of time when radical life extension is not far. We just need to survive until the moment when all the necessary technologies will be created.

The positive scenario suggests it could happen by 2050 (plus or minus 20 years), when humanity will create an advanced and powerful AI, highly developed nanotechnologies and a cure for aging.

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The Future of Artificial Intelligence – Separating Facts from Fictions

by Daniel Faggella

The news is a tough nut to crack in today’s over-stimulated and often sensational, media-driven world. This is true more than ever in the coverage of artificial intelligence (AI). Many of us are not sure if AI is going to wake up any moment and wreak insidious havoc, taking over or destroying society as we know it.

Dr. Andras Kornai is all about separating AI fact from fiction.

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Gene Therapy: What’s wrong with the software metaphor?

by Brian Hanley

A much better metaphor for gene therapy is space-alien hackers attacking a huge factory covering San Francisco. These hackers shoot canisters of paper-tape instructions for the old computer controlled machinery into this billion year old factory.

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The Future of SubSaharan Africa - interview with Michael Lee

by Michael Lee

Michael Lee is a futurist who founded the World Future Society’s Southern African Chapter and the Institute of Futurology. He’s also an IEET contributing writer.  His point-of-view is an essential contribution to IEET’s African Futures Project.

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God’s a Hedge Fund Manager, and I’m a Lab Rat

by Rick Searle

Of all the books and essays of Steve Fuller I have read his latest The Proactionary Imperative: A Foundation for Transhumanism is by far the most articulate and morally anchored.

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Birth Control for Men? Research is Promising but Frustrated by Lack of Funding

by Valerie Tarico

Birth control options for men lag behind options for women by almost a century. Can changing attitudes and a new generation of researchers change that? Maybe.

 Three state-of-the-art birth control methods for women have annual pregnancy rates below 1 in 500, and the user doesn’t have to think about them for years at a time.  By contrast, the best option available to men (short of sterilization) has an annual pregnancy rate of about 1 in 6 and has to be rolled onto an erect penis during each sexual encounter. A new generation of researchers would like to change that—but change takes money.

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Do Robotic Cars Dream of Electric Sheep?

by David Orban

Google’s robotic cars learn from each other when they are back in the garage, and train in simulated worlds at an accelerated pace. Our future will be inhabited by smart machines using their time much differently than we do.

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