Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


Santens @ North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress
September 30-

Campa@Third ISA Forum on Sociology
July 12
Vienna, Austria

Star Trek Symposium @ Malta
July 16-17

Stefan Sorgner @ Meditation & Wirklichkeit Conference in Berlin
November 25-26

Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work Conference
December 5-6
Rice University, Houston, Texas


Algocracy and Transhuamnism Podcast: Hannah Maslen on the Ethics of Neurointerventions

How better tech could protect us from distraction

The birth of virtual reality as an art form

This scientist makes ears out of apples

Gravitational Waves: The Universe’s Subtle Soundtrack

Color and Sound Perception Explained

Zoos Enrich Our Lives but Cost Animals Their Dignity

The Psychology of Solitude: Being Alone Can Maximize Productivity

How college loans exploit students for profit

A smarter, more precise way to think about public health

Combatting Political Corruption Combats Climate Change

Work/Life Balance Is a Non-Issue If You Find Your Purpose

Is Your To Do List Functioning As Mood Repair or Enhancing Your Productivity?

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity Can’t Explain Nonlocality

Poverty Is a Threat to Democracy

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Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality and their impact on the law.

by John Niman

Watson showed, in dramatic form, the capabilities of current computers when it (he?) defeated the two best Jeopardy!.....

Made for You

by Richard Stallman

Growing old, and having lost hope of finding love again, I read about the Lifemates Co-op and was intrigued.  “Mr or Ms Right doesn’t exist in nature.  If you want someone that was made for you, come to us.”  I made an appointment to visit their office and talk with a salesperson…

#4 Transgendered Courage?

by P. Tittle

Transgendered people are often seen as courageous; they have the guts to take radical steps to become the people they really are.  But I don’t see them as any different from people, mostly women, who get nip-and-tuck surgeries, botox, and breast enlargements.  After all, they too take radical steps to become the people they feel they really are – youthful and sexually attractive.

Can Legal Weed Save Pizza and Ice Cream Parlors?

by Valerie Tarico

Pizzerias, chocolatiers, ice cream parlors and other vendors of high cal, high carb foods have been facing a quiet crisis that could reach epidemic proportions in next few years: More and more women are choosing not to have a monthly cycle.

#5 Nudity Is Healthy for Brains and Bodies

by Hank Pellissier

Is clothing crushing us? Are we trapped in tomb-like textiles, exiling our flesh from experiencing the environment? Are we atrophying our epidermis, our senses, our neuro-intelligence?

We Have to Have More Courage to Insist Aging is Accepted as a Disease

by Maria Konovalenko

The recent Nature journal special edition is dedicated completely to the problem of aging. Among various articles covering topics from demographics to comparative biology and robots, there’s one about the interventions in the aging processes. It is a nice overview about the current successes in slowing down aging in mammals, however I found the last paragraph rather disappointing. It says….

Could our solar system be heading for danger? Experts believe it is…

by Dick Pelletier

Our solar system orbits around the Milky Way roughly every 200-250 million years and researchers at Cardiff University suggest that periodically, in cycles estimated at every 37 million years or so, we encounter dangerous ‘speed bumps’ with life-extinction-causing asteroids.

#6 Piracetam - is it the smartest of the smart drugs?

by Owen Nicholas

Piracetam has been around since the 1960’s and is regarded as a pioneer “smart drug.”  It enjoys a popular, international following, its record as a treatment for cognitive disorders is impressive, and scientific exams haven’t flagged any dangerous side effects. But is Piracetam truly the intelligence booster many of us eagerly want?

Why I Voted for Obama

by Tsvi Bisk

I came to Israel in 1967 following my two-year service in the American Army. I made a rule not to vote in American elections even though as a citizen with an honorable discharge I had every legal and moral right to do so. I thought it improper to vote for representatives and polices of a country I was not living in.  In 2012 – after 45 years – I broke that rule. Why?

The Singularity: what to expect when machines get smarter than us

by Dick Pelletier

What can we expect when machines surpass humans in intelligence; a point in time that futurists predict could become reality by 2045. Though it’s impossible to forecast this far in advance with 100% accuracy, by combining predicted technology breakthroughs with present-day knowledge, we can make plausible guesses about how tomorrow’s super-intelligent machines might affect our lives.

#7 Brain Damage - 83 ways to stupefy intelligence

by Hank Pellissier

Are we hurting our noggins? Internationally, are there social customs, diseases, pollutants, school policies, parental choices, drugs, diets and philosophies that cause, or are correlated with, decreased intelligence?  Here are fourscore-and-a-trio of the mind-mangling menaces. A preponderance of the fearsome factors have undergone scientific scrutiny, with statistics filed in the massive archives of

Snow Crash(ed) in Second Life (end 2012)

by Giulio Prisco

I fell totally in love with Second Life one minute after joining in 2005. A few weeks later I left a very boring but very well paid senior management post in the public sector to became a technology entrepreneur.

When will we finally have a world government?

by George Dvorsky

Political scientists and science fiction writers alike have long been taken with the idea that humans would one day form a global government. Yet few of us take this prospect very seriously, often dismissing it as an outright impossibility or very far off in the future. Given the rapid pace of globalization, however, it would seem that humanity is inexorably headed in this direction. So how long will it take us to build a world government? We talked to an expert to find out

#8 Any Sufficiently Advanced Civilization is Indistinguishable from Nature

by Rachel Armstrong

In Western cultures, nature is a cosmological, primal ordering force and a terrestrial condition that exists in the absence of human beings. Both meanings are freely implied in everyday conversation. We distinguish ourselves from the natural world by manipulating our environment through technology. In What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly proposes that technology behaves as a form of meta-nature, which has greater potential for cultural change than the evolutionary powers of the organic world alone.

What will your next body be like?

by None

Many engineers, including me, think that some time around 2050, we will be able to make very high quality links between the brains and machines. To such an extent that it will thereafter be possible (albeit expensive for some years) to arrange that most of your mind – your thinking, memories, even sensations and emotions, could reside mainly in the machine world. Some (perhaps some memories that are rarely remembered for example) may not be suited to such external accessibility, but the majority should be.

The Floating Metal Sphere Trump Card

by Kris Notaro

Radicals! Are you sick of being spontaneously overcome by blistering rage and horrified vertigo on a daily basis? Do you find yourself foolishly opening comment threads on gender issues thinking yourself desensitized to the mind-warping misogyny that invariably pops into existence like a quantum foam of entitlement underpinning the internet? Are you sick of wasting precious minutes standing slackjawed in front of some new twisting complex of deep psychological issues couched as grandiose social analysis? Do you find yourself humbled into quiet bitter despair while pondering just how long it would take to fight their misrepresentation of reality? Are you sick, in short, of time-burglaring gender-essentialists? Then Anarcho-Transhumanism might be right for you!

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I Grip the Gun and the Gun Grips Me

by Evan Selinger

“Happiness is a warm gun.” – John Lennon

“You are different with a gun in your hand; the gun is different with you holding it.” – Bruno Latour

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#9 Cracks in Reality: How our Systems Fool Themselves

by David Eubanks

In the first two parts of this series I explored the idea that a self-modifying singular intelligence may be doomed to self-destruction because of motivational interference [1]. The idea is at least as old as Epicurus, who advised: “If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.”

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The Networked Species

by Jønathan Lyons

Humankind is frequently referred to as a tool-using/-making species. What is becoming clear is that we are also a species with a real talent and drive for greater integration with our tools and with one another. Humankind is an increasingly networked species. And while this is a teleological essay, I am not prepared to make an argument that what we are witnessing is necessarily either a good or bad thing.

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#10 3D Printing Laboratories: The Age of DIY Designer Drugs Begins

by Nikki Olson

Novel techniques in 3D printing technology simplify the production of drugs, enabling home design and synthesis of pharmaceuticals.

Emerging Technologies: Should They Be Internationally Regulated?

by Seth Baum

Mankind has really popped the planet in the jaw the last few centuries: six million hectares is lost to deforestation every year; the ocean is increasingly acidic and void of fish; the planet’s sixth mass extinction seems to be underway; and human-caused climate change is already raising sea levels, aggravating droughts, and increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy.

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Changes to expect by 2030

by Dick Pelletier

As our 21st Century unfolds, revolutionary changes will appear at overwhelming speeds. Most of these changes will be driven by the four NBIC areas: Nanotech, Biotech, Infotech, and Cognitech.

Carbon nanotubes could one day enhance your brain

by Dick Pelletier

Swiss Federal Institute of Technologyscientists found that carbon nanotubes offer the potential to establish functional links between neurons that could fight disease and enhance our brains.

#11 How to build a Dyson sphere in five (relatively) easy steps

by George Dvorsky

Let’s build a Dyson sphere! By enveloping the sun with a massive array of solar panels, humanity would graduate to a Type 2 Kardashev civilization capable of utilizing nearly 100% of the sun’s energy output.

2012 in Review (and Appeal for Support)

This end of year appeal for support comes a little later than usual because I (J. Hughes) was rocked by the recent Sandy Hook school shooting, about 25 miles from my office at Trinity College. As a social scientist and public policy person I try to keep my eye on the big picture, the tens of thousands of people who are killed every day by violence, treatable disease, poverty and inadequate infrastructure.  I try not to let my proximity to some tragedies distract from the larger and more persistent needs of the world. But as a parent and someone with many small connections to Sandy Hook I was left stunned and tearful for days. And angry that the balance of forces in American politics has prevented us from having the simple and effective public policies around guns and mental health that have kept the incidence of gun violence and mass killings lower in other industrialized countries.

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Small Machines, Big Power, Dangerous Minds

by Patrick Hopkins

What any one person can do is limited by the power they have.  That works for criminally unbalanced people as much as anyone else.  But the power one person can have is related to the type of machine they can carry.

It’s not the end of the world, yet

by Andy Miah

It should be pretty well known by now that the Mayan’s never predicted the end of the world this Friday, but they have a reputation for doing so because the last day of their calendar had the 21st December 2012, or thereabouts, as the last one.

Celebrating Love and Light: 10 Holiday Tips for the Post-Religious

by Valerie Tarico

Is the holiday season more glitter than glow for you lately?  Are you a former Christian who finds that hymns don’t resonate anymore?  Do you roll your eyes about the “war on Christmas” manufactroversy?  Does the cherubic little Jesus-in-a-Manger fail to flood your body with sweetness?  Do you feel mixed about participating in a religious holiday now that you’re not religious? Get the scrooge out with these ten tips.

Nexus: Chapter 1 - The Don Juan Protocol (pages 9-18)

by Ramez Naam

Pages 9-18 of chapter 1 of the riveting science fiction book Nexus by Ramez Naam brought to you by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. This is the last installment of Chapter 1 to be published on the IEET. You can order Nexus via Amazon by clicking Here

#12 Andrej Pejic - Androgynous Model - heralding a post-gender future?

by Hank Pellissier

Gazing at the ravishing photos of Andrej Pejic, I’m stirred with envious confusion. Why does this tall skinny XY like me get to be so much prettier? Does his effeminate success - inflaming catwalks in both men and women’s high fashion - predict a fusion of two polarized genders, or a third construct? What does the androgynous Bosnian represent in post-genderism?

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West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
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