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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Disability

Global Conference: Augmentation
September 3-5


Hughes, Vita-More, de Grey, Roux @ TransVision 2014
November 21-23
Paris, France




MULTIMEDIA: Disability Topics

Implantable Technology - Pros and Cons

The Future of Being Human

On the Origin of Suffering

Bionic connections: Interfacing with the nervous system

Suspended Animation - Now For Humans

Stem Cells are the Future

Cyborgs and Sports - High School Edition

Is That A Tricorder In Your Pocket?

The Future Of Sports Is Enhanced

Linking Human Brains

“Neuroscience for a New Age: How Brain Science Will Shape Our Future”

Mind-Controlled Technology, A Paralyzed Teen May Make The First Kick At The 2014 World Cup

Personhood Beyond the Human: Patrick Hopkins on a Turing Test for Persons

Peter Singer’s Keynote Address to the Personhood Beyond the Human Conference

It Looks Like Something You Should Never See. Meet A Medical Advancement That Is Hard To Forget.




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Disability Topics




Are We Obligated to Make Ourselves More Moral and Intelligent? (Part One)

by J. Hughes

Most of the ethical discussion of the use of stimulant drugs without a prescription in education has been negative, associating their use with performance enhancement in sports and with drug abuse. But the use of stimulants as study drugs actually has few side effects, and is almost entirely applied to the student’s primary obligation, academic performance. In this essay I consider some objections to off-label stimulant use, and to stimulant therapy for ADD, and argue that there are ethical arguments for the use of stimulants, and for future cognitively and morally enhancing therapies, in education, the work place, and daily life.



Mind-to-mind thought talking possible by 2030, scientist says

by Dick Pelletier

Today we enjoy basic conversations with our smart phone, desktop PC, games console, TV and soon, our car; but voice recognition, many believe, should not be viewed as an endgame technology. Although directing electronics with voice and gestures may be considered state-of-the-art today, we will soon be controlling entertainment and communications equipment not by talking or waving; but just by thinking!



Three-Parent Babies Are an Ethical Choice

by Arthur Caplan

The FDA is considering approving an experiment to repair a genetic disease in humans by creating embryos with DNA from three parents. Genes would be transferred from a healthy human egg to one that has a disease and the “repaired” egg then fertilized in the hope that a healthy baby will result. The goal of the experiment in genetic engineering is not a perfect baby but a healthy baby.



The Right to be or not to be Disabled: A Response to the Center for Genetics and Society: (CGS)

by Evan Reese

In a recent newsletter, The Center for Genetics and Society (CGS) is asking people to sign a letter they’ve drafted requesting the FDA not approve clinical trials of a genetic therapy which could prevent thousands of children a year here in the U.S. from being born with serious disabilities. So how does that square with their claim to be for the rights of the disabled?



IEET Audience Supports Right to Die for Disabled, After Some Time

We asked “How long should caregivers prevent recently disabled people from refusing life-sustaining care (and thereby causing their own deaths)?” Of the more than 230 of you who answered, almost half (47%) said “The recently disabled should be treated until they are no longer depressed, and have a sustained, rational intent to die.”

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Caplan: The case against care for those who are brain dead

by Arthur Caplan

Thirteen-year-old Jahi McMath died on Dec. 12 at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. Yet about a month later, Jahi is still on a ventilator because her parents refuse to accept her death. Aided by a misguided legal decision, she has been moved to another facility to be kept on artificial life support, which makes no medical or moral sense. What’s being done to her corpse is wrong, but a bigger issue is the threat her case poses to the rational and moral use of health care resources.



These are the science stories to watch for in 2014

by George Dvorsky

With the holiday season now officially over, it’s time to look ahead and see what’s in store for the coming year. Here are the most anticipated scientific and technological developments of 2014!



Freedom: Non-Frustration, Non-interference or Non-domination? (Part One)

by John Danaher

Freedom is an important ideal in liberal political theory, but what exactly does it entail? What do we have to do in order achieve the ideal of political freedom? How will we know if we have achieved it? The first step to answering these questions will be to provide some concrete conception of what it means to be free.



#7 There Can Be No Healthy Aging

by Maria Konovalenko

The study, conducted by a team of scientists and clinicians from JCVI and WCHN, will focus on two groups of elderly individuals aged 65 to 85 years by correlating genetics with a variety of human genomic, gut microbiome and other “omics” profiles and integrating these data with the individuals’ health record. One group will consist of healthy individuals, and the other will have individuals with a variety of diagnosed health conditions.



Will Today’s Handicapped Become Tomorrow’s First Post-Human?

by B. J. Murphy

Needs will almost always come before wants. When it comes to Transhumanism, the ability to differentiate the two tends to blur, because a need could also be a want, depending on the various methods of achieving a need. There’s the “getting by” need, and then there’s the “thriving” need.



How to Survive the Pre-Singularity Era (Part I)

by Christine Gaspar

I have worked a number of years in trauma and emergency medicine, and have learned a few lessons about human nature along the way that I think may be of benefit to others.  Our tendency as human beings to carry around an Optimism Bias is probably one of our most deadly traits.



Are mental illnesses real? (Part Three)

by John Danaher

In this, the final, part we will do two further things. First, we will step back from the particular arguments for and against the legitimacy of mental illness, and focus on Neil Pickering’s meta-philosophical diagnosis of the problems inherent in the debate. Then, having sharpened our appreciation for the meta-philosophical issues, we will consider what is probably the most recent and widely-discussed attempt to define “illness” in such a way that it (properly) includes mental illnesses: Jerome Wakefield’s Harmful Dysfunction analysis.



Are Mental Illnesses Real? (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This is the second post in a brief series looking at the philosophy of mental illness. As noted in part one, some people are suspicious about the concept of mental “illness”. To call something an illness is to deem it worthy of medical scrutiny and treatment. This makes sense — so they argue — when dealing with things like broken bones, viruses, clotted arteries, bacterial infections, cancerous tumours and so forth. They all involve clear, objectively assessable physical effects and causes. Mental illness is not the same: it involves more nebulous, less tractable effects and causes, ones that are not always open to the same level of objective assessment.



Are mental illnesses real? (Part One)

by John Danaher

It may be a push, but I think it is fair to say that no branch of modern medicine faces the same existential challenges as psychiatry. To give a sense of the problem, a quick browse through Amazon reveals a plethora of books, many published within the past ten years, that either directly challenge the legitimacy of mental illness, call into question the medicalisation of the mind, or dispute the unholy alliance between “pharma” and psychiatry.



The Longevity Crisis

by Rick Searle

When our most precious and hard fought for successes give rise to yet more challenges life is revealing its Sisyphean character. We work as hard as we can to roll a rock up a hill only to have it crush us on the way down. The stones that threatens us this time are two of our global civilization’s greatest successes- the fact that children born are now very likely to live into old age and the fact that we have stretched out this old age itself so that many, many more people are living into ages where in the past the vast majority of their peers would be dead. These two demographic revolutions when combined form the basis of what I am calling the Longevity Crisis. Let’s take infant mortality first.



There Can Be No Healthy Aging

by Maria Konovalenko

The study, conducted by a team of scientists and clinicians from JCVI and WCHN, will focus on two groups of elderly individuals aged 65 to 85 years by correlating genetics with a variety of human genomic, gut microbiome and other “omics” profiles and integrating these data with the individuals’ health record. One group will consist of healthy individuals, and the other will have individuals with a variety of diagnosed health conditions.



A Brief History of Painkillers (And Why They Work)

by George Dvorsky

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without pain relief. We depend on these drugs to an unspeakable degree, yet few of us know what’s available or how they even work. Here’s a quick primer on painkillers and why they’re so good at easing the pain.



The Road From Here: What About Medicare and Social Security?

by Richard Eskow

As the Bob Dylan song says: “Things should start to get interesting right about now.” You may think they’re already interesting—what with government closings, threats of a debt default, and extremist rhetoric under the Capitol Dome—but chances are we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. In twelve weeks or so our new system of government-by-crisis will resume its regularly scheduled programming: more threats, more confrontations, and even more extreme rhetoric.



Improvements in Prenatal Genetic Testing Raise Ethical Issues

by R. J. Crayton

A new study spearheaded at Columbia University aims to provide parents with more information about their unborn children—including potential abnormalities and genetic defects. Spread across 10 different research hospitals that plan to secure 1,000 women each to participate, knowledge gained from the study will contribute to the ethical dialogue surrounding what parents do with more prenatal testing data.



Humans Are Already More “Enhanced” by Technology Than We Realize

by Evan Selinger

Time recently ran a cover story titled, “Can Google Solve Death?” The wording was a bit much, as the subject of the piece, Google’s new firm Calico, has more modest ambitions, like using “tools like big data to determine what really extends lives.” But even if there won’t be an app for immortality any time soon, we’re increasingly going to have to make difficult decisions about when human limits should be pushed and how to ensure ethics keeps pace with innovation.



Mind Controlled Prosthetic Legs and Exoskeletons

by John Niman

Doctors fitted the first mind-controlled prosthetic leg onto Zac Vawter recently. I posed earlier this year about prosthetic limbs, and noted that mind controlled prosthetic hands are also available. 



Of Dogs and Disabilities

by J. Hughes

The new documentary Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement explores the difficult relationship of human enhancement and the disability movement. It is interesting and generally well balanced. But there is one brief clip of me from a television debate which apparently leaves audiences gasping. It is one in which I appear to compare people with disabilities to dogs. I really didn’t, and was actually making a substantially different point quite contrary to the filmmaker’s tortured attempt to link transhumanism to 1930s eugenics.

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Handicapped Liberation

by Tsvi Bisk

The technological revolution gives us an opportunity to view questions of social justice differently. One example pertains to the handicapped.  We now see them as needy unfortunates; objects of social and humanitarian concern rather than autonomous subjects capable of managing their own lives.



The importance of universal healthcare

by Lee-Roy Chetty

The strategic aim of universal health coverage is to ensure that everyone can use the health services they need without risk of financial ruin or impoverishment, no matter what their socio-economic situation. The over-arching concept of universal health coverage takes a broad view of the services that are needed for good health and well-being.



Transhumanism and the Politics of Project Prevention

by Wesley Strong

Planning childbirth and discouraging or eliminating factors that contribute to preventable birth complications are a priority for many transhumanists. All people should have access to reproductive services for free to use at their discretion, especially if we concede to live under a capitalist system that requires poverty, which in turn limits access to adequate care. This is a basic concept on which many transhumanists, especially at the IEET, agree.



IEET is seeking technoprogressive policy essays and white papers

The IEET would like to collaborate with active members of our community in writing technoprogressive policy documents to be included in the Technoprogressive Policy Wiki, as well as longer technoprogressive white papers.

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Basic Income Plan: a thought experiment

by Tobias S. Buckell

A basic income (also called basic income guarantee, unconditional basic income, universal basic income or citizen’s income) is a proposed system of social security that regularly provides each citizen with a sum of money unconditionally. Unlike a Guaranteed minimum income, a basic income is entirely unconditional: the only requirement for receiving it is to be a citizen and/or resident of the country without means test. Instead, a minimum income may be conditional upon participating in government enforced labor or other conditional means testing. A basic income of any amount less than the social minimum is sometimes referred to as a ‘partial basic income’. Similar proposals for “capital grants provided at the age of majority” date to Thomas Paine’s Agrarian Justice of 1795, there paired with asset-based egalitarianism.



Project Prevention: The Face of Modern Eugenics: Pt2

by Wesley Strong

Project Prevention paid a total of 4,613 people, including eighty-four men, to get one of these birth-control procedures, including IUDs, tubal ligation, Depo-Provera, implanon, or vasectomy over its first fifteen years of operation.iii The project began in California after Harris failed to pass a bill to establish criminal penalties for mothers who consume. Harris began this crusade after adopting four children of a crack-addicted mother in Los Angeles. She responded in a reactionary manner, blaming parents, without much if any sympathy for those who suffer systemic oppression.



Protected: Making impediments to life extension illegal

by Khannea Suntzu

Whether or not some form of life extension treatment is possible remains to be seen. Even less imminent than extending lifespan is the prospect of some form regenerative therapies (or modifications) that reduce effective lifespan and restore some form of youthfulness. ‘The person on the street’ tends to estimate how close these treatments might be.



Parental Autonomy versus the Rights of Children to Enablement

by J. Hughes

In the recent IEET survey we asked “When there are safe cures for these conditions should parents be legally obliged to provide them for their children?” and offered examples ranging from cerebral palsy to ADD. The more than 500 respondents were surprisingly supportive of legal obligations to provide these treatments to children, with majorities in support of all the treatments. Of course some of you were more supportive than others.

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