Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


MULTIMEDIA: Security Topics

How Digital Media Finally Enables Distributed Enterprise

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

Network Society Interview with David Orban

These Robots Come to the Rescue after a Disaster

How the Mysterious Dark Net Is Going Mainstream

Don’t Fear Killer Robots

An Internet Without Screens Might Look Like This

The Future of Flying Robots

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

The moral bias behind your search results

The Future of Robots and Humans

Why is Speculative Fiction so Dystopic?

A breakthrough new kind of wireless Internet

Sustainable abundance as a political program

Buddhism and Robot Ethics

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Security Topics

After Paris, can we be both safe and free?

by David Brin

Of course we are all still quivering, following the attacks in Paris last week that killed 129 people, not so very far from where my wife and I lived for a couple of years, as newlyweds during the 1990s.  Our hearts go out to the brave folk of Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité in la Ville Lumiere.

Anonymous vs ISIS: Vigilante justice in the War against Terrorism

by Stefan Morrone

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind centred around the terrorist group knows as the Islamic State.  First, several attacks in Paris left 129 dead and countless others injured, then a bomb threat in Germany and a threat by ISIS to attack the rest of Europe and Washington, D.C. Fear grips the hearts of people around the world in an iron vice. And that is exactly what ISIS wants.  Right now, they are winning.

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).

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.

Platform Adoption Statement #1 of the Nevada Transhumanist Party

by Gennady Stolyarov II

The following sections are hereby added to the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform. Pursuant to Article I, Section XXV, these sections are not officially considered part of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Constitution at this time, but shall have equivalent standing to the Platform Sections within that Constitution. It will be possible to officially amend the Nevada Transhumanist Party Constitution to include these statements during periodic biennial filings of Certificates of Continued Existence with the Nevada Secretary of State.

A Multifaceted Strategy to Defeat ISIS

by Gennady Stolyarov II

The recent slaughters of hundreds of innocent civilians in Paris, in Ankara, in Beirut, and aboard the Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 illustrate without a shadow of doubt that the threat from the barbaric sect known as ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, and the Islamic State cannot be contained within the Middle East. ISIS is an enemy of humanity, decency, and Western civilization. It will continue killing completely peaceful civilians of Western nations, both in their home countries and abroad, in gruesome ways. ISIS is a cancer upon humanity, and it will continue to metastasize and inflict damage until it is either eradicated or until it completely kills its host. Like cancer, ISIS cannot coexist with a healthy humankind. This cancerous “Islamic State” should be eradicated using the resources of any willing parties.

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.

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.

Technoprogressive Political Platform for the USA

by Ben Goertzel

This year we’ve seen a flurry of activity at the intersection of transhumanism and contemporary politics – the emergence of Transhumanist Parties in several different countries, and Zoltan Istvan’s controversial, mostly theatrical run for US President (see this article for a brief summary of some of the controversy). 

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Approaching Zero: How West Africa is Crushing the Ebola Epidemic

by George Dvorsky

The West African Ebola outbreak is finally starting to approach manageable levels, after nearly 18 excruciating months and over 11,000 lost lives. Here’s what the current situation on the ground looks like and how the battle against Ebola finally might be won.

This is the largest and longest Ebola outbreak in human history. At its peak, there were 950 confirmed cases each week, prompting fears of a global pandemic. Officials have reported 28,421 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Of these, some 11,300 people have died — a fatality rate of 40%. A total of 881 healthcare workers have been infected; of those, 513 died.

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Who would you trust with the nuclear codes?

by David Brin

Okay, when do you ever see some (rational) person take one of Donald Trump’s wild, paranoid rants and declare “he didn’t go anywhere near far enough”? 

Well, I am about to do that. He has lately taken flack for being the first prominent figure to (at long last) connect the dots and publicly lay at least partial blame for the 9/11 attacks at the feet of President George W. Bush, the man who was not only captain at the helm, but proximately responsible under any adult standard.

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Don’t Put Killers on Cereal Boxes

by David Swanson

Online petition campaigns were launched this week to stop Wal-Mart from selling Israeli soldier Halloween costumes and to get Wheaties cereal to stop putting U.S. soldiers on its cereal boxes—boxes known for featuring photos of outstanding athletes.

The two campaigns have no relation to each other. Wheaties has not, to my knowledge, indicated the slightest interest in doing what the petition asks it to do.

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Creating Human-Friendly AGIs and Superintelligences: Two Theses

by Ben Goertzel

I suppose nearly everyone reading this blog post is already aware of the flurry of fear and excitement Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has recently stirred up with his book Superintelligence, and its theme that superintelligent AGI will quite possibly doom all humans and all human values.   Bostrom and his colleagues at FHI and MIRI/SIAI have been promoting this view for a while, and my general perspective on their attitudes and arguments is also pretty well known.

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Did the One Child Policy Matter? Probably Not.

by Ramez Naam

China’s one-child policy is ending. The policy, started in 1979-80, was aimed at slowing population growth, which was much more of a concern in the late 70s than it is now. China’s one-child policy was also horribly coercive.

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David Brin co-edits a new “Smart Pop” book on Star Wars

IEET Fellow David Brin has co-edited (with Matthew Woodring Stover) a book published on November 3, 2015, titled: Star Wars on Trial: The Force Awakens Edition: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time

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Link to Star Wars on Trial: The Force Awakens Edition: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films

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.

Phil Torres Establishes X-Risks Institute

What will the future look like? The further upwards one moves from the basement domain of physics, the harder it often gets to predict long-term trends. Nonetheless, we have some fairly good clues about what to expect moving forward.

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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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How Artificial Intelligence Will Give Birth To Itself

by George Dvorsky

There’s a saying among futurists that a human-equivalent artificial intelligence will be our last invention. After that, AIs will be capable of designing virtually anything on their own — including themselves. Here’s how a recursively self-improving AI could transform itself into a superintelligent machine.

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Does Money Poison Everything? Sandel and the Corruption Effect

by John Danaher

(Previous Entry)

There is a serious shortage of kidney donors throughout the developed world. This has obvious consequences for people with severe kidney disease. I’ll use my home country of Ireland as an example. According to one 2009 study, which covered the period 2000-2005, the average waiting time for someone on the transplant list was 8-15 months (with waiting times varying considerably depending on blood type). According to more recent figures from the Health Service Executive’s webpage, the average waiting time is two years, and at present there are over 650 people on the waiting list .

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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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The Depopulation Time Bomb

by Michael Lee

The future of nations is not written in the stars but in their demographics. In particular, a futurist can study national fertility rates, urbanisation trends and the age structure of population groups to get a picture of a country’s long-term future.

Remarkable polymath Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of America and, back in the 1770s, he enjoyed unbridled optimism about the future of his nation, which at the time was still overwhelmingly rural and comparatively “backward”. Why, then, was his prognosis so rosy?

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Guns vs Cameras - which are “equalizers” that can prevent tragedy?

by David Brin

The most recent mass-shooting tragedy sets into stark contrast two national misfortunes.  At surface, they seem similar—crazed gunmen opening fire on citizens and lethal misbehavior by a minority of bad cops. But in several important ways, the trends are diametrically opposite.

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The Incomprehensible Idea: What Opposing All Wars Means

by David Swanson

The world’s two big nuclear militaries are in the same war now in Syria and, if not on opposite sides exactly, certainly not on the same side. A primary, if not the primary, goal of the United States in Syria is overthrowing the Syrian government. A primary, if not the primary, goal of Russia is maintaining the Syrian government. Hostilities are building in each nation toward the other.

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Existential Risks Now to Yield AI Enrichment, Not Destruction

by Daniel Faggella

With a BA in Philosophy, Mathematics, and Artificial Intelligence, plus a PhD in Philosophy, Nick Bostrom is uniquely qualified to consider what happens at the junction of humanity and

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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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IEET Co-Founder Nick Bostrom sets out threats from future technologies at UN meeting

IEET co-founder Nick Bostrom briefed a UN committee about the national and international security risks posed by artificial intelligence and other future technologies at a UN event last week.

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What Makes War Between the US and China or Russia Inevitable?

by Rick Searle

There is a dangerous and not so new idea currently making the rounds that not only is conventional war between the great powers inevitable, but that it would be much less of an existential threat to humanity than we have been led to believe and even might be necessary for human progress.

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Gun Control’s MP3 Moment

by Jamais Cascio

Reading the continued, ongoing arguments about gun regulations (“reasonable” or otherwise) is frustrating. Not only for the usual reasons (absolutist positions, inability to recognize multi-causal phenomena, relentless hostility towards different opinions, etc.), but because of how incredibly irrelevant it is becoming. 3D-printable firearms are already here, and becoming increasingly reliable. Every gun control law in the world is obsolete.


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