Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



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



UPCOMING EVENTS: Security

Anticipation
November 5-7
Trento, Italy


Wood, Pearce @ SIAI Seoul
November 6-7
Seoul, South Korea




MULTIMEDIA: Security Topics

10 Amazing Robots That Will Change the World

Don’t Fear the AI Apocalypse

3-D Printing Guns, Drugs, and DNA Weapons: Organized Crime Is Being Decentralized

The Age of Robots

Mars is the Next “New World,” And We’ll Set Foot on it Soon.

We’re approaching humanity’s make or break period

The Net is Also a Tool of Oppression

Biohackers

Killer Robots

10 Scientists Killed by Their Own Experiments

Emergence, Reduction & Artificial Intelligence

Futurist Gray Scott on Artificial Intelligence

Rover’s-Eye View of Marathon on Mars

Peaceful Coexistence of Conflicting Ideologies

Here’s What Brian Greene’s Gut is Telling Him About Intelligent Life in the Universe




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Security Topics




Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?

by Rick Searle

Last time I attempted to grapple with R. Scott Bakker’s intriguing essay on what kinds of philosophy aliens might practice and remaining dizzied by questions.

Luckily, I had a book in my possession which seemed to offer me the answers, a book that had nothing to do with the a modern preoccupation like question of alien philosophers at all, but rather a metaphysical problem that had been barred from philosophy except among seminary students since Darwin; namely, whether or not there was such a thing as moral truth if God didn’t exist.

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Ensuring Human Control Over Military Robotics

by Wendell Wallach

Let us stop looking at the challenges posed by the robotization of warfare piecemeal, and begin to reflect comprehensively upon the manner in which autonomous weapons alter the future conduct of war. 

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Smart Regulation For Smart Drugs

by Geoffrey Woo

“For the modern mad men and wolves of Wall Street, gone are the days of widespread day drinking and functional cocaine use. Instead, in this age of efficiency above all else, corporate climbers sometimes seek a simple brain boost, something to help them to get the job done without manic jitters or a nasty crash.

For that, they are turning to nootropics,” writes Jack Smith IV on the cover story for an April 2015 edition of the New York Observer.

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Tools Have Led Us to Technological Unemployment, but Humans, too, Have a Right To Work

by Gabriel Rothblatt

For millennia, Humans have been crafting tools. We don’t hold a monopoly on the trade, but we’ve done it better than any other species. So good, our entire evolution has been crafted around our dependence on them. With our anatomical features and vulnerabilities, it was perhaps predestined that we would not only master tool making, but become dependent upon it. What came first, the human or the tool?

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IEET Fellows and Affiliate Scholars Receive AI Safety Grants

IEET co-founder Nick Bostrom, IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach and Affiliate Scholar Seth Baum are Principal Investigators on projects n funded by Elon Musk and the Open Philanthropy Project and administered by the Future of Life Institute.

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Why We Should Preserve the Privacy and Spirit of Bitcoin

by Giulio Prisco

The trend toward mainstream,” sanitized” forms of Bitcoin that can be adopted by governments and banks is here to stay, which is not a bad thing. At the same time, it’s also important to preserve important aspects of the original vision of the Bitcoin Founders – a P2P currency that can’t be controlled by banks and governments, and supports untraceable private transactions.

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Network Economies: Economic System as a Configurable Parameter

by Melanie Swan

We personalize everything else, why not economic systems too? Starbucks selectability comes to economic system participations! Some interesting implications for personalized economic system design arise per a recent post about ‘Decentralized Reddit.’

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A Tale of Vigilante Justice: Adulterers, Hackers, and the Ashley Madison Affair

by Russell Blackford

Hackers calling themselves “The Impact Team” recently stole the customer data of Ashley Madison, an online dating service for people who are married or in committed relationships. Ashley Madison employs a slogan that says it all: “Life is short. Have an affair.”

During July and August, customer data was released online by the hackers: the upshot is that it’s now possible to identify many individuals who held Ashley Madison accounts. This includes such intimate details as their sexual fetishes and proclivities.

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Understanding Obama and the Iran Nuclear Deal

by Tsvi Bisk

The following is a thought experiment: an attempt to understand the Iranian deal by way of logical speculation regarding the issues and facts as perceived by the Obama administration.

I am assuming that Obama is not a Marxist/Islamist/Kenyan, consumed by post-colonial resentment and dedicated to destroying the Constitution and the United States. Nor a Black Nationalist anti-Semite, whose most important priority regarding Iran is to screw Israel. I am assuming he is a patriotic American who desires to be a historically great President.

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Science as Radicalism (Part 3: scientists have been largely captured by dominant power structures)

by William Gillis

This restructuring of how to view science is geared not just at defending science from charges of reactionism from leftists, but at more broadly clarifying how we might view that much looser bundle invoked by the word “science” as a political force. Because the array of things popularly associated with “science” is so wildly varying and hazy most of the political claims surrounding science that don’t slice it away to near irrelevance or neutrality as a formulaic procedure have sought to identify underlying ideological commitments and then define “science” in terms of them.

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Science as Radicalism (Part 2: digging for the roots - the radicalism of scientists)

by William Gillis

The fact of the matter is that the remarkably successful phenomenon that the term “Science!” has wrapped itself around is not so much a methodology as an orientation. What was really going on, what is still going on in science that has given it so many great insights is the radicalism of scientists, that is to say their vigilant pursuit after the roots (or ‘radis’). Radicals constantly push our perspectives into extreme or alien contexts until they break or become littered with unwieldy complications, and when such occurs we are happy to shed off the historical baggage entirely and start anew. To not just add caveats upon caveats to an existing model but to sometimes prune them away or throw it all out entirely. Ours is the search for patterns and symmetries that might reflect more universal dynamics rather than merely good rules of thumb within a specific limited context. As any radical knows “good enough” is never actually enough.

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Our Biggest Year in Space, Ever

by David Brin
We’re looking outward… toward the vast, vast majority of all there is. And after decades of doldrums, it seems we truly are regaining some momentum in space exploration.  Have any of you been keeping track on a scorecard?

Hang on till the end, to read the news from NASA NIAC!

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High-Frequency Combat

by Jamais Cascio

Science and technology luminaries Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Steve Wozniak count among the hundreds of researchers pledging support of a proposed ban on the use of artificial intelligence technologies in warfare. In “Autonomous Weapons: an Open Letter from AI & Robotics Researchers”,  the researchers (along with thousands of citizens not directly involved with AI research) call on the global community to ban “offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.”

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“Open Borders”: A Gimmick, Not a Solution

by Richard Eskow

Newsweek recently published an article by Daniel Bier with the headline “Bernie Sanders on Immigrants: Silly, Tribal and Economically Illiterate.”

The piece, when it is not distracting the reader with rather unimaginative vitriol (phrases like “lame socialist agenda” are hardly Pulitzer material), bases its argument on a trendy libertarian idea called “open borders.”

Like many libertarian ideas, “open borders” is bold, has superficial intellectual appeal - and is incapable of withstanding thoughtful scrutiny. It would benefit the wealthy few at the expense of the many, here and abroad.

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The Supposed Dangers of Techno-Optimism

by John G. Messerly

In his recent article, “Why Techno-Optimism Is Dangerous,” the philosopher Nicholas Agar argues that we not should pursue radical human enhancement. (Professor Agar has made the same basic argument in three recent books: 1) The Sceptical Optimist: Why Technology Isn’t the Answer to Everything;  2) Truly Human Enhancement: A Philosophical Defense of Limits;  and 3) Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement.)

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Obsolete the President - Replace with Direct Democracy (interview with Nicole Sallak Anderson)

by Hank Pellissier

Election day in the USA is fifteen months away. Every citizen is braced for the onslaught of bickering candidates, obsessive media attention, vicious advertising, and billions of dollars raised and spent to persuade us to pick a Leader.

A commander-in-chief of the military, a vetoer of bills, an appointee of judges, a figurehead, a symbol, an ambassador to the world - an instant super-celebrity that we will scrutinize and hate on and wonder what pets they’ll pamper in the White House and where they’ll take their kids on vacation.

It’s Boring and It Belittles Us.

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Everything You Think You Know About the History and Future of Jobs is Wrong

by Scott Santens

“47 Percent…”

That’s the highly cited estimate out of Oxford by Frey and Osbourne of the percentage of existing jobs that are likely to be automated away with the help of technology within the next two decades. According to this paper, flip a coin and call heads or machines to see if your job will exist in 20 years. This is the 21st century fear for many called “technological unemployment.”

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What Does Putin Want?

by David Brin

Talk of war? Major war in Europe?  This long and very detailed article in Vox examines the ways that Russia’s contretemps with NATO and the US and the West could spiral out of control, via many of the same psychological  and strategic miscalculations that tumbled the planet – 100 years ago – into the First World War.  

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IEET sponsors “The Future of Politics” conference in Oakland, California

IEET is co-sponsoring a conference on “The Future of Politics.” The event will be held at Humanist Hall, in Oakland, California, on Sunday, October 18, from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

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Africa’s Population Explosion: 5.6 Billion Forecast by 2100 - is this Catastrophic?

by Hank Pellissier

A recent United Nations study predicts Africa’s population will more than quadruple in the next 85 years, rising from today’s 1.2 billion to 5.6 billion.

Africans, if the present trend continues, will comprise 50% of the global population of 11 billion, by 2100.

The study, released by the UN Population Division director, John R. Wilmoth, in Seattle, suggests that Nigeria’s population will leap from today’s 182 million to 752 million people.

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Space Junk and Its Impending Impact

by Maria Ramos

With the launch of Sputnik in 1957, humankind extended its presence from the Earth’s surface towards outer space. Since that time, thousands of other objects have been sent into Earth orbit, including weather satellites, communications equipment and military hardware. Wherever people go, they tend to leave their mark, mostly harmful, on the natural environment, and space is no exception. There are many pieces of space junk – the remains of discarded, malfunctioning or obsolete devices – that now whiz around the earth and pose threats to current space projects.

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Pope Francis, the Encyclical Laudato Si, Ethics, and Existential Risk

by Brian Patrick Green

In June, the Vatican released Pope Francis’s much anticipated encyclical letter Laudato Si on the environment and humanity’s relationship with the natural world. The encyclical is worth exploring for those interested in global catastrophic and existential risks (GCE-risks) because the particular environmental problems the Pope discusses are placed in the general context of the many GCE-risks that humanity faces.

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Erdogan’s Wars

by piero scaruffi

It is incredible how international events can be driven by the electoral ambitions of some megalomaniacs. Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu has created all sorts of problems in his backyard just to be reelected. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now doing the same in Turkey after his party Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the majority in recent parliamentary elections.

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8 Craziest Mega-Engineering Projects We Could Use to Rework the Earth

by George Dvorsky

Humans have been modifying the Earth for thousands of years, but we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. Here are eight dramatic ways we could change the face of our planet.

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Don’t Worry, Intelligent Life Will Reverse the Slow Death of the Universe

by Giulio Prisco

A scientific paper announcing that the universe is slowly dying is making waves on the Internet. But don’t worry, intelligent life will be able to do something about that.

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Biafra Survives: the Igbo people, 45 years after the Civil War

by Hank Pellissier

The Biafra Civil War from 1967-1970 resulted when the small West African region – primarily populated by the Igbo tribe – attempted to secede from Nigeria, a former British colony.  An estimated 1-2 million people were killed in the conflict; 40% were Igbo children who died of starvation and malnutrition. The Igbo thought the global community would support them, but they gained little assistance, whereas Nigeria was massively armed by the British and Russians. Biafra was invaded and the Igbo were eventually subdued.

How are the Igbo doing today?  Have they survived economically? Are they participating in Nigerian political affairs?  Have enmities been forgiven?

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Why the Argument Against a Ban on Autonomous Killer Robots Falls Flat

by George Dvorsky

Three weeks ago an open letter was presented at an AI conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. The letter has been signed by nearly 14,000 prominent thinkers and leading robotics researchers, but not everyone agrees with its premise. Here’s the case against a ban on killer robots, and why it’s misguided.

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How Cheap Can Solar Get? Very Cheap Indeed

by Ramez Naam

Electricity cost is now coupled to the ever-decreasing price of technology. It’s profoundly disruptive to other electricity-generating technologies and businesses. And it’s good news for both people and the planet.

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Thailand’s Royal Problem: Democratic Grumblings in The Land of Smiles

by Hank Pellissier

My family and I are the only “white people” on this flight to Thailand, where we’ll spend a 4-week vacation. My initial observation of Thais on our flight over is:

1) everyone is polite
2) everyone is smiling
3) everyone is quiet
4) no one is fat

Our fellow passengers are ethereally peaceful, with subtle Buddha-grins as they quietly move about in their slender forms. The Boeing interior is so silent it seems like we’re the only passengers:

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Smartgrid Life: Blockchain-Enabled Virtual Food Cooperatives

by Melanie Swan

The contemporary era of blockchains as an implementation mechanism for decentralization suggests a new overall conceptualization of life as being supported by any number of smartgrids. Distributed network grids is a familiar idea for resources such as water, electricity, health services, and Internet access, and might be extended to other resources, literally and conceptually.

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