Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


BlockCon 2017
March 28-29
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

International Longevity & Cryopreservation Summit
May 26-28
Barcelona & Sevilla

Sorgner @ German Humanist Day
June 16
Nürnberg, Germany


Memes 101 | How Cultural Evolution Works

How a Math Algorithm Could Educate the Whole World — for Free

Can Universal Basic Income / Social Democracy Fix America’s Inequality?

How Human Consciousness Evolved

Will Superhuman Intelligence Be Our Friend or Foe?

Don’t fear superintelligent AI

3 ways to fix a broken news industry

New nanotech to detect cancer early

The incredible inventions of intuitive AI

Andrew Ferguson on Predictive Policing

Will AI make us immortal?

This Country Is Leading The Robot Revolution

The Dark History Of Immigration Bans In The U.S.

Like It Or Not, Obamacare Affects Everyone

Americans Need Mexico, Here’s Why

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Geoethical Rules for Nanotechnological Advances

by Martine Rothblatt

Dr. Martine Rothblatt illustrates the principles of Geoethics toward the safe guidance of advances in nanotechnology on earth, as well as outer space.

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The meanings of the meaning of life

by Massimo Pigliucci

I just finished reading the excellent collection Philosophy and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, edited by Nicholas Joll, a must for anyone who has ever been captivated by Douglas Adams’ comic genius and its scientific and philosophical undertones. Here I am going to briefly comment on a single table that appears in the last essay of the volume, “The funniest of all improbable worlds — Hitchhiker’s as philosophical satire,” by Alexander Pawlak and Joll himself. It’s a table about several potential meanings of the phrase “the meaning of life” and how they are related to each other.

The Fittest Species: Who is Winning the War for Survival

by piero scaruffi

Most of the world’s genetic diversity lies in viruses. The longest living beings are bacteria. No wonder that these microscopic organisms kill more humans than any other dangerous animal. (Technicalities: viruses are not form of lives, since they cannot replicate without a host cell; bacteria are living organisms, perfectly able to replicate on their own, but they are limited to one cell).

The Species-Relativist Argument: Do different species have different values?

by John Danaher

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve recently begun reading two books on the ethics of human enhancement. One of those books is called Humanity’s End and it’s by Nicholas Agar. Agar seems like an interesting character. In an earlier book he defended a liberal position on positive eugenics. This suggested he had a willingness to embrace certain forms of enhancement. And yet in this book he offers an argument against radical human enhancement. There’s not necessarily an incompatibility between the two positions, but it’s an interesting shift nonetheless.

When macroeconomic mismanagement makes Luddites “right”

by Marcelo Rinesi

Technological improvements have negative short terms in the overall economy surprisingly, and depressingly, often. The cause? Fiscal and economic mismanagement of a sadly-too-common kind.

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Is Immortality In Our Future?

by Dick Pelletier

Is immortality in our future? Positive futurists say it is. Infectious disease, accidents, starvation, and violence have kept average life expectancy at 20-to-30 years throughout most of human history. However, the quest to live longer and enjoy good health is one of the most ancient and deep-rooted hopes ingrained in our species.

How We’re Turning Digital Natives Into Etiquette Sociopaths

by Evan Selinger

Let’s face it: Technology and etiquette have been colliding for some time now, and things have finally boiled over if the recent spate of media criticisms is anything to go by. There’s the voicemail, not to be left unless you’re “dying.” There’s the e-mail signoff that we need to “kill.” And then there’s the observation that what was once normal — like asking someone for directions — is now considered “uncivilized.”

Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems

by Valerie Tarico

At age sixteen I began what would be a four year struggle with bulimia.  When the symptoms started, I turned in desperation to adults who knew more than I did about how to stop shameful behavior—my Bible study leader and a visiting youth minister.  “If you ask anything in faith, believing,” they said.  “It will be done.” I knew they were quoting the Word of God. We prayed together, and I went home confident that God had heard my prayers.

The human experience: cave-dwellers to an amazing ‘magical future’

by Dick Pelletier

Historians place the beginning of culture about 10,000 years ago, when our early ancestors abandoned hunter-gathering in favor of settling into communities, cultivating crops, and domesticating live stock.

Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ - Analysis and Review

by George Bickers

‘Black Mirror’ purports to be one thing - “a hybrid of The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected that taps into our contemporary unease about the modern world”, and a single viewing of any episode will affirm this statement. Covering issues of privacy, mob justice, televisual spectacle, relationships in the modern age and the movement of communication, ‘Black Mirror’ ties all these strands together through our use of technology.

Stupidest Budget Cuts Ever – or, Why Cutting Contraception Is Not Conservative

by Valerie Tarico

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A stitch in time saves nine. One dollar spent on contraception saves three on pregnancy and newborn care, and that is just the beginning.

The Importance of Qualia to Transhumanism and Science pt1

by Kris Notaro

This is a starting point to investigate the ongoing mission of computer scientists to create AI which is self-aware and conscious. Is qualia simply materialist/physicalist information? What is going on with all the biological experiments done on people and animals?

“Alpha Thinkers” are the Transhuman Wave of the Future

by Eric Schulke

Alpha thinkers are creatives, innovators, pioneers. They acutely and agilely navigate an abundance of diverse, fallacy aware thinking.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s expectation gap

by Lee-Roy Chetty

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) exhibited significantly better economic and social indicators than Asia in the immediate post-independence era in the 1960s. Existing historical records and evidence suggest that the region had higher average per capita income and better human development indicators.

The Ubiquitous Conflict between Past and Future

by Rick Searle

Perhaps one of the best ways to get a grip on our thoughts about the future is to look at the future as seen in the eyes of the past. This is not supposed to be a Zen koan to cause the reader’s mind to ground to a screeching halt, but a serious suggestion. Looking at how the past saw the future might reveal some things we might not easily see with our nose so close to the glass of contemporary visions of it. A good place to look, I think, would be the artistic and cultural movement of the early 20th century that went under the name of Futurism.

My Shockingly Ordinary Rape Story— and What I Want to Tell my Daughters

by Valerie Tarico

In the summer of 1983, I was ambling along a beach in Ecuador talking and flirting with a local high school boy. We rounded a curve. The long open stretch we had been walking disappeared from sight and we were alone—or almost alone. Ahead of us on a rocky outcropping four guys sat, watching the shore. As we approached, they hopped down and sauntered toward us.

Virtual Assistants

by Valkyrie McGill

I should in all fairness start by telling you I am not an Apple fan. I haven’t been one since Apple was founded, and haven’t seen much evidence over the years for a need to change my opinion of them. But even I have to grudgingly admit that Apple has provided significant contributions to the advancement of technology.

Questions I am frequently asked about… (Part IV) Prediction and the Future

by David Brin

Continuing this compilation of questions that I’m frequently asked by interviewers. This time about…..

Home enhancement

by Ilkka Vuorikuru

As the world gets more and more wired, the wire has to turn inside, that is: inside our culture. This means more of our everyday experiences are liable to change. And it’s very likely that our slow pacing culture will fall behind.

The Dublin Declaration on Secularism and Advancing Australia’s Secularism

by Russell Blackford

Russell Blackford on The Dublin Declaration on Secularism and Advancing Secularism in Australia. How will the church, the state, and the people decide on the need for a secular government?

Prominent Gamifiers: Andrea Kuszewski on the Science of Gamification and Motivation

by Andrea Kuszewski

What makes receiving a badge for completing a task so exciting? Why does seeing a progress bar almost full make us itch until we finish it? Gamification—the combination of game-design principles and elements—implements cognitive psychology and decision-making theory as its scientific foundation. If gamification were stuffed shells, science is the shell, and everything else is stuffing.

Should pornography be considered “speech”? (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This is the second part in my series looking at pornography and the free speech principle. The series is focusing on the arguments analysed in Andrew Koppelman’s article “Is Pornography “Speech”?”. In part one, we looked at Frederick Schauer’s argument. In this post, we will look at John Finnis’s one. Both authors suggest that pornography is not covered by the FSP.

Teach the Children War

by David Swanson

The National Museum of American History, and a billionaire who has funded a new exhibit there, would like you to know that we’re going to need more wars if we want to have freedom.  Never mind that we seem to lose so many freedoms whenever we have wars.  Never mind that so many nations have created more freedoms than we enjoy and done so without wars.  In our case, war is the price of freedom.

Futures of Human Cultures

by Jamais Cascio

My friend Annalee Newitz, editor at, asked me a short while ago for some thoughts on the possible futures of human cultures. The piece (which also includes observations from folks like Denise Caruso, Maureen McHugh, and Natasha Vita-More) is now up, and is a fun read. And while I captures the flavor of what I said, here's the (slightly edited to fix typos) full text of my reply to Annalee…

Raising the Digital Generation

by Andy Miah

Even before my two-year-old son was born, digital technology engulfed his life. We spent money on a 4D ultrasound scan, which gave us a glimpse of him a few weeks before he arrived. We used apps on our mobile phones to monitor my wife’s contractions and, when he eventually did arrive, his first few minutes were captured on a digital camera, and a video monitor ensured we never worried about his safety, nor needed to rush to attend to him when he cried. It even played lullabies to help him sleep.

A Contraceptive Revolution: Lowering remaining barriers

by Valerie Tarico

Imagine a future in which every child is a chosen child.Imagine a future in which a woman becomes fertile only when she wants to have a child—a future in which high school and college students can pursue their dreams and women can plan their lives according to their own values without being derailed by a surprise pregnancy. Imagine a future in which every child is a chosen child.

The value of technology: The USA will not decline any time soon

by piero scaruffi

In the age of self-defeatism it may sound strange to claim that the USA has never been so powerful, but critics forget that technology has always been a major driver of conquest and supremacy.

End of aging: life in a world where people no longer grow old and die

by Dick Pelletier

If predictions by future thinkers such as Aubrey de Grey, Robert Freitas, and Ray Kurzweil ring true - that future science will one day eliminate the disease of aging - then it makes sense to consider the repercussions a non-aging society might place on our world.

The coming Golden Age of neurotech

by Giulio Prisco

All seems to indicate that the next decade, the 20s, will be the magic decade of the brain, with amazing science but also amazing applications. With the development of nanoscale neural probes and high speed, two-way Brain-Computer interfaces (BCI), by the end of the next decade we may have our iPhones implanted in our brains and become a telepathic species. Ramez Naam’s great sci-fi novel NEXUS is a fascinating preview.

Should pornography be considered “speech”? (Part One)

by John Danaher

This post considers whether or not pornography should be covered by the free speech principle (FSP). According to this principle, all (or most) forms of speech should be free from government censorship and regulation. But this raises the question: which types of symbolic productions are covered by the FSP? And is pornography among them?

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