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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Contributors



MULTIMEDIA: Contributors Topics

What is the Future of Virtual Reality?

The Shaky Foundations of Science: An Overview of the Big Issues

An update on Cosmology and thoughts on Education - Cosmologist with Attitude

THE IMMORTALISTS

Ambition: A Short Sci Fi Film Celebrates the Rosetta Mission (5min)

Longevity Cook Book

John Danaher on “Will the Future be Ruled by Algorithm?”

What is Technoprogressivism?

SENS Foundation: 2014 Buck Institute Summer Scholars

The Fermi Paradox, Self-Replicating Probes, Interstellar Transport Bandwidth (22min)

Keith Wiley - A Brief Introduction to Mind Uploading

What we need is a Tom Lehrer-style Elements of Risk Song

Singularity 1 on 1: Compassion is the reason to reverse aging!

AGI, Consciousness, Science, and Self Governance: The Revolutions of Scientific Structure (55min)

Should Religion Be Taught in School?




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Contributors Topics




A Bold Visionary: An Interview with Stephen Valentine of Timeship

by Christine Gaspar

Set in the hot, Tuscany-like rolling hills of Comfort, Texas, northwest of San Antonio, is a project that is one of sciences’ best kept secrets, although it really isn’t a secret. On a 646 acre property, formerly known as the Bildarth Estate, lays the hopes and dreams of the creators of Timeship.



Irrationality, a Tea Party-Like Discussion Over LGBTQ Marriage and Children

by Massimo Pigliucci

My Facebook account is reserved for close friends and family (if you want to follow my writings, there’s Twitter). One of my very close relatives is a fellow of about my age, self-professed politically progressive, and with whom there is a lot of reciprocal respect and love. The ideal conditions to conduct the occasional rational discourse on politics or social issues, right? Wrong.



How to Stop Fear of Knowledge Undermining our Future

by Peter Wicks

We have all experienced the frustration of trying to impart some kind of knowledge only to be met with obviously fake arguments. What we may be less aware of, however, is the extent to which people come up with such arguments because they simply don’t want to know. And even if we are aware of this, we may not know what to do about it.



Data Mining, Meaningful Use, Secondary Use, & Potential Misuse of Electronic Health Records

by Donna Hanrahan

Healthcare providers are establishing electronic health record (EHR) systems at an astonishing rate, due in part to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The HITECH Act was created as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.



Tomorrow’s Wars: bio-weapons, mind-control; is nothing sacred?

by Dick Pelletier

In The American Way of War, historian Russell Weigley describes a grinding strategy of destruction employed by the U.S. military over the last 150 years. To end the Civil War, Grant felt he had to destroy lee’s soldiers; in World War I, Pershing relentlessly bombarded and wore down Germany’s proud fighting machine; and the Army Air Corps pulverized major German and Japanese cities to win World War II.



The Pseudoscience Black Hole

by Massimo Pigliucci

As I’ve mentioned on other occasions, my most recent effort in philosophy of science actually concerns what my collaborator Maarten Boudry and I call the philosophy of pseudoscience. During a recent discussion we had with some of the contributors to our book at the recent congress of the European Philosophy of Science Association, Maarten came up with the idea of the pseudoscience black hole. Let me explain.



50 Organizations Seek Ban on Armed Drones

by David Swanson

Fifty organizations and over 75,000 individuals are asking…



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.



Right Wing Finally Notices That Women Vote

by Valerie Tarico

On Wednesday morning after the November 5 election, a hard Right rag, The Washington Times, headlined with the following caption: “Christie’s win, Cuccinelli’s loss: Two playbooks for defending against the ‘war on women.’”



The Problem with Free Speech and Silicon Valley

by Sean Vitka

For Google* there was Innocence of Muslims. For Twitter, there were, and still are, rape threats. For Facebook, now there are decapitations. Facebook’s controversy is the newest in a long line of quagmires that make companies—or at least their customers—question American platitudes about free speech. It comes after Facebook briefly decided not to ban one video of the brutal decapitation of a woman in Mexico to go viral.



Just Don’t Do It? Brain Injuries and American Football

by R. J. Crayton

Former pro football* player Brett Favre recently admitted he’s suffering serious memory loss from years of head injuries while playing."I don't remember my daughter playing soccer, youth soccer, one summer. I don't remember that,” Favre said in a radio interview.



Thoughts on Zoltan Istvan’s “The Transhumanist Wager”: A Review

by Gennady Stolyarov II

Zoltan Istvan’s new novel The Transhumanist Wager has been compared to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. (See, for instance, Giulio Prisco’s review.) But to what extent are the books alike, and in what respects? To be sure, the story and the writing style are gripping, the characters are vivid, and the universe created by Istvan gave me an experience highly reminiscent of my reading of Atlas Shrugged more than a decade ago.



Understanding consciousness: our future may depend on it

by Dick Pelletier

In his latest book, “Self Comes to Mind,” Dr. Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, defines consciousness as, “the ability that we have to look out on the world and grasp it. It is a way evolution found to increase our effectiveness in dealing with life and its struggles.”



Stopping the carnage in central Africa

by R. Dennis Hansen

During a recent weekend, I re-watched the movie Blood Diamonds (2007), an advocacy-entertainment movie trying to raise awareness about the problem of natural resources being used to finance horrific African wars. As illustrated in Blood, conflict diamonds were used to finance a civil war in Sierra Leone. While the movie is heavy flawed, the message is still important: the mining and exploitation of natural resources is creating havoc throughout sub-Saharan Africa.



Intrauterine Bling — 2000 years of IUD’s, from Camel Contraceptives to Body Mod

by Valerie Tarico

Picture a series of copper beads on a fine titanium alloy wire curved in a graceful sphere. It looks like an earring, but you won’t find it in a jewelry store. It’s made to go in your uterus. Intrauterine contraceptives are the fastest growing method of birth control in the U.S.One study showed that use doubled in just two years. Why are IUD’s suddenly hot among young women? And what should you tell your friend or daughter when she says she wants one?



New you in ten years: biotech leads the way

by Dick Pelletier

In just ten years, older citizens might look in the mirror and ask, “Who is that gorgeous creature?” Their reflection would reveal a revitalized body overflowing with energy and enthusiasm, sporting a dazzling smile, wrinkle-free skin, perfect vision, natural hair color, real teeth, and an enhanced mind and memory.



A Question on Prostitution and the Left: My response to Meghan Murphy’s analysis

by B. J. Murphy

The question of prostitution has been a matter of debate throughout the progressive left for many years. To engage this topic as unbiased as possible, I must first admit that, as a white male, I cannot say that I am the best subject to take on this particular question under the personal perspective of the oppressed: that of women, who are predominantly not white.



“Gravity”: A Short Movie Review

by R. Dennis Hansen

The movie Gravity has been widely reviewed at other venues, so I will try and mention a few “new” angles.  First, the screen action seems preposterous and unrealistic, but the visuals are stunning and very realistic.  Second, the two actors–Sandra Bullock and George Clooney–do a good job.  Clooney’s flippant cowboy style works.



Transgenic Animals and the Future

by Brenda Cooper

This is part three of three.  Now that I’ve listed some of the ways humans use animals (traditional and GM) and talked about ethics, I want to cover some reasons we may need GMO animals in the future.  I want to remind readers that the highest ground is almost certainly to use conservation and respect to maintain a healthy ecosystem, to rely on care instead of test tubes.



83 years of technology advances; but best yet to come

by Dick Pelletier

Eighty three years is a mere blink in history’s eye, but since my birth, October 26, 1930, I’ve watched many technology advances and medical research breakthroughs take place; some that have altered the way we live.



How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?

by Richard Stallman

The current level of general surveillance in society is incompatible with human rights. To recover our freedom and restore democracy, we must reduce surveillance to the point where it is possible for whistleblowers of all kinds to talk with journalists without being spotted. To do this reliably, we must reduce the surveillance capacity of the systems we use.



Verne to Varley: Hard SF Evolves

by Gregory Benford

Consider two novels separated by 127 years in publication, both dealing with the moon, yet oddly alike. Both tell us something about the evolution of hard science fiction. Arguably, Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon announced for a broad audience the invention of modern science fiction—stories with the scientific content foregrounded, as much a character as any person, and lending credibility to the imaginings to come. Verne boasted incorrectly that “I have invented myself” this new fiction (Poe had a clear prior claim), but he did make the new form widely popular, and became the first and last sf writer to be blessed by the Pope for doing so.



The Open Information Revolution

by Roberta Scarlett

Information and knowledge have been both feared and sought in the past.  New information brings change, and change is often met with fear and resistance.  In the past books were burned by the church and new technology destroyed by Luddites.  The change that new information and knowledge brought was often regarded as threat to established interests. But inevitably with time, it brings benefits for all.  New information changes our perception of ourselves, others and our environment.  It breeds ideas and solutions for the obstacles we face and creates a positive feedback loop which is the driving force behind progress.



Objectifying Humans

by Daniel J. Neumann

Joel Garreau, in Radical Evolution, lays out three possibilities, all stemming from Ray Kurzweil’s “Law of Accelerating Returns.” Garreau focuses on the so-called GRIN technologies: Genetics, Robotics, Information, and Nano-Technology. He sees a world where the understanding of our biological programming (genetics), allows us to build tiny robots (nano-technology, robotics) as an artificial immune system that can be updated wirelessly no matter where you are (information). In other words, he feels all four of these technologies will converge to change the rules of the human condition—for better or for worse.



Medical technologies could provide indefinite lifespan by 2030, experts say

by Dick Pelletier

While doctors and nurses will continue to treat patients, software programs will take up a growing share of the work. In a new technology-driven area, home-based software will monitor patients and provide daily advice. When patients are not feeling well, they will run their symptoms by the software and get automatic prognoses on what might be ailing them and whether an appointment with a human doctor is necessary.



SciAm Doesn’t Think Sexism in Science is “An Issue” Will They Think Boycotts R?

by Kelly Hills

There has been a lot of talk this year about supporting women in science and related tech fields, about how it’s not okay to sexually harass a graduate student or colleague, about how rape jokes aren’t okay, and in general, how hostile academia, science, and technology can still be for women



GMO Ethics

by Brenda Cooper

In the last post, I simply listed both our traditional and our “new” ways of using animals.  Perhaps I was a little harsh, since humans have treated certain classes of animals like family.  We have even gone so far as to evolve essentially symbiotic relationships.  For example, I wouldn’t want our family dogs to have to live wild.  They don’t have those skills….



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.



The Singularity and Socialism

by Michael Rectenwald

By definition, a singularity is something utterly peculiar unto itself, a species of being unmatched for its “this-ness.” The term has found usage in a number of domains, most significantly in physics, where a singularity defines a condition of matter whose mass is approaching zero as a function of its density approaching infinity. Cases of singularities or near singularities include black holes and the singularity that preceded the Big Bang.



The 21st Century: a global civilization heads for the stars

by Dick Pelletier

A recent UN State of the Future Report projects that by 2100, world population will total 9 billion, just 2 billion more than today. But the report did not account for radically increased life spans. Many forward thinkers, including this writer, believe that today’s biotech efforts with stem cell therapies and genetic engineering techniques, combined with molecular nanotech breakthroughs (the much hyped nanorobots whizzing through our veins), will provide a radical extension of human life.

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