It is possible to both be a practical technoprogressive, working for safe, equitable consequences of emerging technologies today, and a visionary inspired by a future with immortal lives among the stars.
My family has the tradition (as do a lot of other families, I think) of watching The Muppet Christmas Carol at some point the week of Christmas. I got to overthinking things per the usual and now am worried about whether or not The Great Gonzo could cast a vote.
The human sex drive is complicated (duh). It is closely tied with mental processes, both biologically and by association within our culture, that we often forget how simple hormonal or physical “problems with the plumbing,” as it were, can mess things up.
Mark Walker thinks through the ethics of Americans being denied both the right to health care and the right to self-medicate, while Philippe Verdoux suggests that taking the transhumanist path to the future may only be the best of a lot of very bad options.
At a time when the Australian government has announced its decision to introduce a new regime to censor the Internet, it’s worth thinking again about the argument that exposure to certain kinds of speech and expression might be harmful to children. The problem is that it is difficult to find evidence as to what kinds of material are actually likely to produce that kind of harm.
Today I gave a brief invited talk at the National Defense University, in Washington DC, about the ethics of autonomous robot missiles and war vehicles and “battlebots” (my word, not theirs!) in general. The talk came about as a consequence of my role in the IEET, but I wound up bringing in a number of explicitly H+ themes.
Peter Singer has argued that we should not proceed with a hypothetical life-extension drug, based on a scenario in which developing the drug would fail to achieve the greatest sum of happiness over time. However, this is the wrong test.
Yesterday, December 4, 2009, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies convened an intimate but ambitious seminar to explore the “Biopolitics of Popular Culture.” We heard from a remarkable collection of speakers, including movie directors, screenwriters, science fiction authors, game designers, culture critics, and entrepreneurs.
I really, really like the show Glee. I like it because it stops pretending that people who live in small cities in western and mid-western states are somehow more wholesome than their metropolitan counterparts. I like it because it exposes the high school ruling class for the terrified, soon-to-be-townie losers they usually are. I like it because it admits high schoolers have sex and drink and smoke weed and still manage to function. I like it because it obliterates the myth that marrying your high school sweet heart is a good idea. I like it because it is the sunshiniest, saccharine dark comedy I’ve ever seen.
We have learned to accept differences in appearance caused by nature or by accident. And we are getting better about appreciating the diversity of bodily expression that modern society has brought. But all this is only the beginning.