Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Innovation

“A Dangerous Master” by Wendell Wallach (Lecture & Book Signing)
May 5-
Connecticut Science Center | Downtown Hartford, CT


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ PFSK 2016 Forum
May 13
New York City, NY


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Hammer Museum
May 17
Los Angeles, California


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Powell’s Books
May 20
Portland, OR


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Webvisions
May 20
Portland, OR


Rushkoff on “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus” @ Personal Democracy Forum
June 10
New York City, NY


Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work Conference
December 5-6
Rice University, Houston, Texas




MULTIMEDIA: Innovation Topics

We can reprogram life. How to do it wisely

A new superweapon in the fight against cancer

3D Virtual Reality Is the Best Storytelling Technology We’ve Ever Had

Algorithms: Killing Jobs, Narrowing Our Personalities

Hackers Will Be Tempted by Cyborg Vulnerabilities

Online Companies Like Facebook Have Created a Meaningless Economy

Is your phone part of your mind?

Overcoming the Obstacles on the Path to Post-Scarcity

Episode #1- Tal Zarsky on the Ethics of Big Data and Predictive Analytics

Douglas Rushkoff on Redesigning the Economy

Angels and Demons of A.I.

Immortality: When We Digitally Copy Our Minds, What Happens to Humanity?

The Rise of A.I., Shifting Economies, and Corporate Consciousness Will Define the Future

Building Better Humans

Google’s DeepMind Ethics Board – Is it a myth?




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Innovation Topics




MIT Journal, Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments Call for Papers

Advancements in virtual reality are not only technology driven, but actions within virtual environments implicate numerous issues in policy and law. For example, are virtual images copyrightable? Is the speech produced by a virtual avatar afforded rights under the U.S. and other Constitutions? How does criminal law relate to actions performed within virtual environments, or contract law apply to the lease and sale of virtual objects? These and other questions form the theme for this special issue. Legal scholars and practitioners from the U.S. and other jurisdictions are encouraged to submit.

See CFP here.

Link to Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments



Capitalism Mandates a Basic Income Guarantee

by Mark Walker

A Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is a monthly stipend sufficient to provide the necessities of life. While there is disagreement even amongst friends of BIG as to how much is sufficient, we will work with a figure of $833 a month, $10,000 a year. BIG has been in the news in the last few years with a Swiss referendum on the matter and a pilot program in the works for Finland. Arguments from the left for BIG tend to appeal to social justice considerations. One line suggests that in a wealthy country like the U.S., no one should go hungry or be homeless, and BIG is an efficient means to ensure this minimal standard of care.



A New Theory of Time: X-tention is Simultaneously Discrete and Continuous

by Melanie Swan

Time has been conceived mainly as either discrete or continuous, but not widely as a simultaneity of the two. I would like to articulate a new theory of time in which time is reconceived as a ‘raw material’ whose natural state is both discrete and continuous. This is a “middle third” position that extends Husserl’s theory of internal time consciousness by being a new form of time in the middle between and connecting retention-protention (which are continuous) and recollection-expectation (which are discrete).



IEET Affiliate Scholar Hank Pellissier’s Athiest Ugandan Orphanage and School

Sarah Sloat, a writer at Inverse, has published an article discussing the successful venture spearheaded by Bwambale Robert Musubaho, Hank Pellissier and Zoltan Istvan in funding and developing an An Atheist Ugandan Orphanage.

Link to Inverse



The Ethics of Intimate Surveillance (1)

by John Danaher

Intimate Surveillance’ is the title of an article by Karen Levy - a legal and sociological scholar currently-based at NYU. It shines light on an interesting and under-explored aspect of surveillance in the digital era. The forms of surveillance that capture most attention are those undertaken by governments in the interests of national security or corporations in the interests of profit.



What’s happening inside the black box? Three forms of algorithmic opacity

by John Danaher

The debate about algorithmic governance (or as I prefer ‘algocracy’) has been gathering pace over the past couple of years. As computer-coded algorithms become ever more woven into the fabric of economic and political life, and as the network of data-collecting devices that feed these algorithms grows, we can expect that pace to quicken.



Is The Singularity A Religious Doctrine?

by John G. Messerly

A colleague forwarded John Horgan‘s recent Scientific American article, “The Singularity and the Neural Code.” Horgan argues that the intelligence augmentation and mind uploading that would lead to a technological singularity depend upon cracking the neural code. The problem is that we don’t understand our neural code, the software or algorithms that transform neurophysiology into the stuff of minds like perceptions, memories, and meanings. In other words, we know very little about how brains make minds.



The Habit of Thought That Made U.S. #1 in Prisons and Wars

by David Swanson

I’m going to start with a few brief opening remarks about what I think is the habit of thought that has made the United States #1 in the world in prisons and wars. And then I’ll be glad to try to answer as many questions as you think of. These remarks will be published online at American Herald Tribune.



Predictability and Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)

by Wendell Wallach

Does predictability provide an overriding concept and perhaps a metric for evaluating when LAWS are acceptable or when they might be unacceptable under international humanitarian law? Arguably, if the behavior of an autonomous weapon is predictable, deploying it might be considered no different from, for example, launching a ballistic missile. This, of course, presumes that we can know how predictable the behavior of a specific autonomous weapon will be.



Breakthrough Starshot: The First Steps to the Stars

by Giulio Prisco

On on the 55th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering space flight, Internet investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking announced a plan for our firsts steps to the stars: Breakthrough Starshot.



Posthuman Rights: Dimensions of Transhuman Worlds

Woody Evans has published an article on Posthuman rights in the Spanish journal, Teknokultura. Below is the abstract of the paper. You can click on the journal title to find the full article online.

Full Story...
Link to Teknokultura



How Augmented and Virtual Realities Might Change Productivity Forever in the Next 10 Years

by Daniel Faggella

In the last 10 years, we’ve seen some amazing leaps and bounds in human productivity. Our phones are smaller, our internet is faster, and software and hardware automates much of what we used to do manually.



Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble

by Didier Coeurnelle

Vertiges et perspectives d’une vie en bonne santé beaucoup plus longue.
Chaque jour, la mort, la grande faucheuse, fait son travail avec un peu plus de difficulté. En effet, chaque jour nous gagnons environ 6 heures d’espérance de vie. Ces progrès ne sont pas également répartis. Contrairement à ce que beaucoup pensent, c’est dans la plupart des pays du Sud et non pas dans les pays du Nord que les progrès sont les plus rapides.



Blockchains and the Emergence of a Lex Cryptographia

by John Danaher

Here’s an interesting idea. It’s taken from Aaron Wright and Primavera de Filippi’s article ‘Decentralized Blockchain Technology and the Rise of Lex Cryptographia’. The article provides an excellent overview of blockchain technology and its potential impact on the law. It ends with an interesting historical reflection. It suggests that the growth of blockchain technology may give rise to a new type of legal order: a lex cryptographia. This is similar to how the growth in international trading networks gave rise to a lex mercatoria and how the growth in the internet gave rise to a lex informatica.



Posthumanism and Contemporary Art

by Kevin LaGrandeur

The art in MOCA’s Winter/Spring exhibition Stranger, is art of the posthuman era. The idea of the posthuman is a big new philosophical and scientific concept, and big new philosophical or scientific concepts often cause paradigm shifts in the way we think about our world, about ourselves, and about our relation to the universe. And that, in turn, changes art. Which changes us, because art reflects and anticipates our struggles to absorb and assimilate new ideas and how they relate to us.



Intelligence Squared Debate: Are Lifespans Long Enough?

by Jules Hamilton

I attended the intelligence squared debate for aging.  The motion was “Are Lifespans Long Enough?” Honestly, it almost seems like a rigged question.

However, its framing does challenge a common philosophy language trap. “Are Lifespans Long Enough?” What is “enough?” Is it what we have? Is it the minimum to expect? Is it always more?

Full Story...



“Tracking and Hacking - Values and Happiness with AI” - interview with John C. Havens

by Hank Pellissier

John C. Havens is the author of Heartificial Intelligence: Embracing Our Humanity To Maximize Machines and Hacking Happiness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World. He is the founder of The Happathon Project, a non-profit utilizing emerging technology and positive psychology to increase human wellbeing.  John has spoken at TEDx, and is a contributor to Mashable, The Guardian, HuffPo and TechCrunch.

I interviewed him recently via email on his technoprogressive ideas.

Full Story...



Transhumanismes & religion

by Marc Roux

Régulièrement, la question est posée de savoir si le transhumanisme est une religion. Ma réponse personnelle, comme celle des membres de l’Association Française Transhumaniste : Technoprog!, est résolument négative. Ce mouvement de pensée ne rentre décidément pas dans cette définition. Pour autant, je pense que d’une part le transhumanisme a quelque chose à dire aux religions et que d’autre part, il n’est pas du tout impossible d’envisager le transhumanisme d’un point de vue religieux ou au moins spiritualiste.



Using P2P value maps and universal darwinism for a crypto basic income system

by Johan Nygren

Back in the early 2000s, Ryan Fugger invented something that will come to change the future of economics. He invented Ripple, a P2P credit clearing system. Some argue that P2P credit is unstable and prone to inflation, and I second that, and I believe Ripple should be combined with some form of stable index. Perhaps something like solarcoin.org — what could be more stable than the energy of a photon?



The Evolution of Social Values: From Foragers to Farmers to Fossil Fuels

by John Danaher

I was first introduced to the work of Ian Morris last summer. Somebody suggested that I read his book Why the West Rules for Now, which attempts to explain the differential rates of human social development between East and West over the past 12,000 years. I wasn’t expecting much: I generally prefer narrowly focused historical works, not ones that attempt to cover the whole of human history. But I was pleasantly surprised.



Le progrès n’est plus ce qu’il était. Grandeurs et décadences des risques

by Didier Coeurnelle

A l’aube de l’histoire de l’humanité, l’intelligence de ceux qui nous ont précédés n’était probablement guère inférieure à celle du lecteur de ces lignes. Certains paléontologues pensent même que les capacités de raisonnement de nos ancêtres étaient supérieures aux nôtres.



Blockchains and DAOs as the Modern Leviathan

by John Danaher

In 1651, Thomas Hobbes published Leviathan. It is arguably the most influential work of political philosophy in the modern era. The distinguished political theorist Alan Ryan believes that Hobbes’s work marks the birth of liberalism. And since most of the Western world now lives under liberal democratic rule, there is a sense in which we are all living in the shadow of Leviathan.



Are we heading towards a singularity of crime?

by John Danaher

On the 8th August 1963, a gang of fifteen men boarded the Royal Mail train heading from London to Glasgow. They were there to carry out a robbery. In the end, they made off with £2.6 million (approximately £46 million in today’s money). The robbery had been meticulously planned. Using information from a postal worker (known as “the Ulsterman”), the gang waylaid the train at a signal crossing in Ledburn, Buckinghamshire.



Humai’s Head of Engineering On the Future That is to Come

by B. J. Murphy

Just the other week Humai’s head of engineering John LaRocco sat down with The Hartman Media Company where he discussed artificial intelligence (A.I.), head transplants, and synthetic organs. It was an alluring conversation to listen to, one which will help people acquire a better understanding as to the company Humai’s vision for the future ahead of us.



Les leçons de l’histoire

by Cyril Gazengel

L’un des principaux centre d’intérêt du transhumanisme concerne l’augmentation de l’humain ; rien de nouveau là dedans. En effet, le rêve de transcendance habite l’imaginaire humain depuis ses origines. De la pensée magique à l’ère scientifique il a pris de nombreuses formes mais ne nous a jamais vraiment quitté.



Review of Michael Bess’, Our Grandchildren Redesigned

by John G. Messerly

Vanderbilt University’s Michael Bess has written an extraordinarily thoughtful new book: Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life In The BioEngineered Society Of The Near Future. The first part of the book introduces the reader to the technologies that will enhance the physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities of our children and grandchildren: pharmaceuticals, bioelectronics, genetics, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and virtual reality.



Everything You Know About Artificial Intelligence is Wrong

by George Dvorsky

It was hailed as the most significant test of machine intelligence since Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in chess nearly 20 years ago. Google’s AlphaGo has won two of the first three games against grandmaster Lee Sedol in a Go tournament, showing the dramatic extent to which AI has improved over the years. That fateful day when machines finally become smarter than humans has never appeared closer—yet we seem no closer in grasping the implications of this epochal event.



New Technologies as Social Experiments: An Ethical Framework

by John Danaher

What was Apple thinking when it launched the iPhone? It was an impressive bit of technology, poised to revolutionise the smartphone industry, and set to become nearly ubiquitous within a decade. The social consequences have been dramatic. Many of those consequences have been positive: increased connectivity, increased knowledge and increased day-to-day convenience.



VR Will Create Multiple Existences - “meatspace” will not be considered the only true reality

by Brent Logan Reitze

The nature of what is truly real has been pondered by philosophers for centuries. Plato argued we were only seeing shadows of true reality. Descartes pointed out nothing could be proven by your own thoughts. And while we must assume a shared reality to function with other over the course of daily life, that assumption will come to be questioned in the future with the rise of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies. 

Full Story...



Longevity and the Indian Tradition

by Ilia Stambler

Does the pursuit of longevity, or even radical longevity, have future in India? The following article will consider this question mainly in ideological, cultural and historical terms, rather than in terms of analyzing current technological and demographic trends. In demographic terms, as was also noted earlier, the life expectancy in India is till relatively low compared to other countries (about 65-66 years), yet it is clearly on the rise[1] and no limit can be set for this increase.

Full Story...

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