Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Contributors



MULTIMEDIA: Contributors Topics

What is the Future of Synthetic Meat?

Review of VRLA Expo 2015

Singularity 1 on 1: Expose Yourself to a Diversity of Inputs!

Singularity 1on1: Interrogate and Engage the World

Toxicologists are Freakin’ Awesome!

What is the Future of Brain Enhancement?

Singularity 1on 1: Marc Goodman on Future Crimes

Future Day Online

Mark Lewis on “Have We Reached Peak Education?”

7 surprising facts about silver nanoparticles and health

Futurology, Future Day & the Millennium Project

Progress in Regenerative Medicine

Attitudes to the Future

The science of “anti-vaccination” – a great primer from SciShow

Religion and AI




Subscribe to IEET Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List









Contributors Topics




Proposal for International Zones

by R. Dennis Hansen

I hope there will someday be an “International Social Contract” (ISC), based on Enlightenment principles, that allows people who enter into it to live in host countries around the world in a way that is respectful and beneficial to all parties. The goal would be to create explicit agreements that allow members of an ISC to move freely between “International Zones” (IZs) without inflaming right-wing groups or encouraging the abuse of local citizens or indigenous cultures.



Rick Searle’s Rational Monster

by Daryl Wennemann

In his essay Erasmus Reads Kahneman, or why perfect rationality is less than it’s cracked up to be it does not seem that the concept of rationality Rick Searle cites as following the principle of non-contradiction is at work when he asserts, “We could turn even a psychopathically rational monster like Hitler into a buffoon because even he, after all, was one of us.”



Putting Innovation to a Vote? Majoritarian Processes versus Open Playing Fields

by Gennady Stolyarov II

Putting innovation to a vote is never a good idea. Consider the breakthroughs that have improved our lives the most during the 20th and early 21st centuries. Did anyone vote for or ordain the creation of computers, the Internet, smartphones, or tablet computers? No: that plethora of technological treasures was made available by individuals who perceived possibilities unknown to the majority, and who devoted their time, energy, and resources toward making those possibilities real. The electronic technologies which were unavailable to even the richest, most powerful men of the early 20th century now open up hitherto unimaginable possibilities even to children of poor families in Sub-Saharan Africa.



Contingency and Emotion:  The role of affect in the structure of knowledge

by Devin Van Dyke

Perceptible in the background of the texts and discussions around the reception of evolutionary theory in the United States and Great Britain are attempts to explain how best to understand the relationship between the theory as originally articulated by Charles Darwin and the myriad interpretations and addenda of the theory which have since emerged, all claiming direct descent from Darwin’s work.



The End of Nation States May Enhance Humanity

by Harry J. Bentham

Perhaps parallel to the physical enhancement of human ability and longevity through technology, enhancements to civilization must also have cultural and political forms. By far the most important of these could be the neglect and final dissolution of borders and “nations”.



Defeating aging, and the avenues ahead of us: Part 3

by Eric Schulke

There is a nice, succinct “Roadmap to Immortality” (http://mariakonovalenko.files.wordpress.com

/2013/01/roadmap_immortality_eng.pdf
) that is great for visualizing the big picture of the pathways that could take us to indefinite life extension. Teachers like mine have been telling students that there is probably no way forward to defeating aging. I like to think of this roadmap as the totality of the response that rose to meet that challenge.



On Coyne, Harris, and PZ (with thanks to Dennett)

by Massimo Pigliucci

Oh dear, I pissed off the big shots among the New Atheists — again. If you are on Twitter or happen to have checked a couple of prominent NA blogs recently, you will have noticed a chorus comprised of none other than Jerry Coyne, Sam Harris, PZ Myers and, by way of only a passing snarky comment, Richard Dawkins — all focused on yours truly. I’m flattered, but what could I have possibly done to generate such a concerted reaction all of a sudden? Two things: I have published this cartoon concerning Sam Harris, just to poke a bit of (I thought harmless, good humored, even!) fun at the guy, and — more substantively — this technical, peer reviewed, paper in a philosophy journal devoted to a conceptual analysis and criticism of the NA movement, from the point of view of a scientist, philosopher, and, incidentally, atheist.



Snowden Docs: U.S. Spied on Negotiators At 2009 Climate Summit

by Ryan Grim

The National Security Agency monitored the communications of other governments ahead of and during the 2009 United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to the latest document from whistleblower Edward Snowden. The document, with portions marked "top secret," indicates that the NSA was monitoring the communications of other countries ahead of the conference, and intended to continue doing so throughout the meeting.



Defeating aging, and the avenues ahead of us: Part 2

by Eric Schulke

With a clear way forward, what are we waiting for? If we get this done, then we can probably live indefinitely. Can humans be so mentally slothful and negligent that they would be able to do all kinds of things on microscopic scales and yet not be able to clear damage out of biology? Does anybody really think that most mitochondrial proteins can make it through the TIM/TOM complex, but that it’s out of the question for the rest of them?



Life Extension is a Political Task

by Maria Konovalenko

Sooner or later the human life extension problem, the task of achieving immortality will become the main issue of government policies in developed countries of the world. This will happen on its own because of the exponential growth of technologies. At some point of time immortality will become the main political question. This is inevitable.



Defeating aging, and the avenues ahead of us: Part 1

by Eric Schulke

“[...] the most promising ways to postpone aging are by disrupting the pathways underlying it, just as we do for specific diseases.” (de Grey, p.22) That line sums up an important element of strategies for engineering negligible senescence (SENS) in Aubrey de Grey’s book Ending Aging, published in 2007. The book outlines the straightforward sense in disrupting the pathways that cause us to age: by engineering the damage of aging out of our biology after the body has experienced the damage, but before the damage accumulates to deadly levels.



When Does Hindering Life Extension Science Become a Crime?

by Zoltan Istvan

Every human being has both a minimum and a maximum amount of life hours left to live. If you add together the possible maximum life hours of every living person on the planet, you arrive at a special number: the optimum amount of time for our species to evolve, find happiness, and become the most that it can be. Many reasonable people feel we should attempt to achieve this maximum number of life hours for humankind. After all, very few people actually wish to prematurely die or wish for their fellow humans’ premature deaths.



What Getting Thin Taught Me About Being Fat

by Valerie Tarico

Two years ago, at a small cabin in the San Juan Islands, I put a ladder on a slippery deck and stepped on it, and something happened that will surprise nobody but a woman utterly intent on fixing a rain gutter: it slipped off. I landed on one leg, fragmenting the knee joint. My husband hauled me to the beach and onto a boat and into a car, and ultimately I ended up at the best trauma center in the region, Harborview Hospital in Seattle.



Real Identity on the Internet (My Variation)

by Kelly Hills

What is a digital trail? How can all your blog posts, photos, opinions, articles, and news affect your personal, professional and academic life? What is happening to the internet and how is affecting people in the real world? Kelly Hills tells us about her own personal story and how life online is a bit more complicated than you might expect.



Three Strikes and We’re Out (of the open Internet)

by Brenda Cooper

Someone interviewing me for a magazine asked me what current technology tomorrow’s children would find obsolete.  I almost answered “The Internet.”  Then I decided to think about that answer a little bit because it’s pretty scary. Then I decided it’s true. Shortly, humans may find today’s wide open Internet as archaic as we now find phones that are wired to walls. Here’s why.  There are three huge pressures on the internet as we know it today – the one where I can write this essay, post it on my website, and you can find it and read it.  Whoever you are.



Is information physical? And what does that mean?

by Massimo Pigliucci

I’ve been reading for a while now Jim Baggott’s Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth, a fascinating tour through cutting edge theoretical physics, led by someone with a physics background and a healthy (I think) dose of skepticism about the latest declarations from string theorists and the like.



Is It Time for a Transhumanist Olympics?

by Zoltan Istvan

Oracle Team USA made a historic comeback to beat Emirates Team New Zealand in the American’s Cup in San Francisco last month. I have closely followed the sport of sail racing for over 30 years, and what astonishes me is how much faster and better the boats are today than they were three decades ago. Sailing speeds and performances have doubled in some cases.



A Primer on Apologies

by Kelly Hills

I’ve talked before about trust as a limiting factor, and the steps to take to repair trust. But I haven’t actually spelled out an important first step to that, which is the apology. And, as you might know, today Nature apologized for a piece of correspondence published earlier this week that has people slightly irritated (see list, end of post). 



Some of the Difficulties Facing Storytellers in a Time of Rapid Change

by Jon Perry

Times are changing fast, and new technologies appear in our lives with increasing regularity. Such an environment poses numerous challenges for storytellers. If you want to set your story in the present, you are in a particularly difficult position because the present is very much a moving target. Films and novels can take a rather long time to complete—four years and even longer is not unusual. With times changing so quickly, if you plan incorrectly, by the time your piece is done it may already show signs of being obsolete



The Treatment

by Jonathan Stars

Martin flicked away the news Vid. “They’re not giving me The Treatment, and that’s all there is to it.”
“So how you gonna stop them?” Shirley examined her nails as if they held the secrets to the universe.
He flung himself from the white couch and paced the living room, picking at his gray hair. “They don’t have the right.”
“Law says they do.” She rolled her hands out, palms up, and leaned back in the lounger. “Besides, it’s not so bad.”



Life in the 2050s: Consciousness unraveled, non-bio brains improve life, Next-Gen human evolves

by Dick Pelletier

Of course, no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy, but by combining present day knowledge with anticipated advances, we can make plausible guesses about what life might be like in the 2050s. Over the coming decades, healthcare research will wield huge benefits for humankind. By 2050, stem cells, gene therapy, and 3-D bio printing promise to cure or make manageable most of today’s diseases.



5 Criticisms of the Movie “Her” From the Point of View of Speculation

by Jon Perry

Her is a great movie that I fully recommend. And as a movie it really only has one mandate: create an emotional impact on its audience. And by this metric Her succeeds wonderfully. However, how internally consistent is Her? How much sense does it make from the point of view of speculation? As it stands, Her actually does better than most science fiction movies. But it’s not perfect.



Country Spotlight: Nigeria

by Kathryn Cave

Jim O’Neill’s high profile prediction on Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey (the “MINTs”) as future economic giants has caused quite a stir in the media. Over the next few weeks IDG Connect will be looking at these countries in a bit more detail. Kathryn Cave investigates Nigeria.



Cryptocurrencies as a Single Pool of Wealth

by Gennady Stolyarov II

Thoughts on the Purchasing Power of Decentralized Electronic Money
 The recent meteoric rise in the dollar price of Bitcoin – from around $12 at the beginning of 2013 to several peaks above $1000 at the end – has brought widespread attention to the prospects for and future of cryptocurrencies. I have no material stake in Bitcoin (although I do accept donations), and this article will not attempt to predict whether the current price of Bitcoin signifies mostly lasting value or a bubble akin to the Dutch tulip mania of the 1630s. Instead of speculation about any particular price level, I hope here to establish a principle pertaining to the purchasing power of cryptocurrencies in general, since Bitcoin is no longer the only one.



New Marriages May Sharply Decline in Coming Transhumanist Era

by Zoltan Istvan

Marriage is one of the most sacred and historically important institutions in society. Few other human acts involve as much excitement, ritual and celebration as tying the knot. Regardless of which culture, religion or nation one belongs to, the promise of lifelong legal commitment to another person transcends virtually every other barrier humans have created for themselves. For many people, it is the quintessential rite of life, culminating with the chance to create offspring, merge new families together, and secure long-term love.



The Futurist Magazine’s Top Ten Forecasts for 2014 and Beyond

by Patrick Tucker

Every year, the editors of the Futurist magazine identify the most provocative forecasts and statements about the future that we’ve published recently and we put them to into an annual report called "Outlook." And every year, we attempt to identify the ten forecasts from that report that paint the most compelling picture of the future as it exists right now. As I recently wrote for Slate, none of these forecasts are meant to be taken as absolute.



The sciphi of gay adoption

by Massimo Pigliucci

Gay marriage is rapidly becoming less and less controversial, at least in the Western world. Yes, the battle hasn’t been won just yet, both in Europe and in the US, but we are getting there at a pace that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.



‘Her’, OS Sentience and the Desire to Love

by B. J. Murphy

So I just got done watching Spike Jonze’s recent sci-fi epic film Her and I feel as if my mind is, metaphorically of course, absolutely blown away. The film far exceeded my expectations of how it would make me feel, let alone make me think! I found myself wanting to tell everyone I knew to stop what they were doing and take the time to really watch it, listen to it, absorb it. I spoke of other great films which captured my heart and my brain, like Robot and Frank, but no film thus far has achieved what Spike Jonze's Her achieves.



The Tyranny of Happiness

by Mateus Stein

In The Tyranny of Happiness, the last chapter of Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream, the philosopher and bioethicist Carl Elliott explores how the ideal of a happy life can be systematically imposed to people under specific circumstances. Making myself clearer, in the aforesaid essay, Elliott employs a critical analysis of the pursuit for a happy life in the American society since about the period of the Declaration of Independence until the present days.



Time Travel: move over Michael J. Fox, real time travel may soon become reality

by Dick Pelletier

At a UCLA workshop attended by yours truly and other future watchers, the late physicist Dr. Robert Forward told the group that further understanding of the cosmos would one day enable man to travel through time. “Given the money and mandate,” Forward said, “in the not-too-distant future, a time machine will be built.” This workshop convened in 1983; now, 31 years later, scientists are edging ever closer towards realizing this bold prediction.

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