Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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


Posthuman and Transhuman Bodies in Religion and Spirituality Panel
October 28
Harvard University

IEET Fellow Kevin LaGrandeur @ Society for Literature, Science and the Arts
November 4
Atlanta, Georgia

Cyborg Law Symposium
November 7
Austin, Texas

Anticipation 2017 Conference
November 8-10
London, England

Robotic Online Short Film Festival
November 20
Universidad Elche, Spain

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

Hughes @ Transhumanist Culture Festival
November 27
Stockholm, Sweden


Laura Cabrera on Human Enhancement, Communication and Values

Do Nootropics Give Esports Gamers an Edge?

The Man Biohacking Encryption From His Garage

This Mind-Controlled Bionic Arm Can Touch and Feel

Quantum Computing FW: Thinking

Bill Nye: 3D Printing is Awesome, but It’s Nothing Compared to What’s Coming

Have a Moral Dilemma? Start with Your Gut Reaction, but Don’t Stop There

NASA Was about to Eat Itself — Then Private Enterprise Stepped In

Robert Reich on Basic Income

How we can start winning the war against cancer

What you need to know about CRISPR

Technology hasn’t changed love. Here’s why

Can we build AI without losing control over it?

How we’re harnessing nature’s hidden superpowers

The era of personal DNA testing is here

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AIs and the Decisive Advantage Thesis

by John Danaher

One often hears it claimed that future artificial intelligences could have significant, possibly decisive, advantages over us humans. This claim plays an important role in the debate surrounding the technological singularity, so considering the evidence in its favour is worthy enterprise. This post attempts to do just that by examining a recent article by Kaj Sotala entitled “Advantages of Artificial Intelligences, Uploads and Digital Minds”.

Quitters Never Win: The Costs of Leaving Social Media

by Evan Selinger

Forget Lolcats. If we quit using sites like Facebook, we’ll miss opportunities for self-expression, personal growth, learning, support, and civic exchange.

The Lucretian Symmetry Argument (Part One)

by John Danaher

Death looms large for most of us, even if we try not to think about it. But should we be worried at the prospects of our eventual demise? Should we do everything we can to avoid it (e.g. by opting for cryopreservation)? Or should we approach it with indifference and equanimity?

The demand for biofuels from the African continent

by Lee-Roy Chetty

The exponential rise in energy prices over the last 10 years is seen as the beginning of a new era in which energy prices will remain high for an extended period. Several factors have driven this trend, including the rapid growth in demand for energy in developing countries such as China and India; the depletion of easily accessible supplies of oil; and the higher cost of extracting oil from deep oceans, remote areas, and politically unstable regions.

I’m Elyn Saks and this is what it’s like to live with schizophrenia

by George Dvorsky

Elyn Saks first started noticing that something was wrong when she was 16. One day, and without reason, she suddenly left her classroom and started walking home. It turned into an agonizing journey in which she believed all the houses in her neighborhood were transmitting hostile and insulting messages directly into her brain. Five years later, while attending law school at Oxford, she experienced her first complete schizophrenic break. Saks struggled over the course of the next decade, but she came through thanks to medication, therapy, and the support of friends and family.

Dick Pelletier, Manoj VR, Jamais Cascio, Dale Brownfield, Melanie Swan: 5 things you may have missed

by Five Things You May Have Missed

1: Future of civilization: the incredible possibilities, by Dick Pelletier
2: Cyborgs can live without a pulse : The amazing story of the new techno hearts that literally drops your pulse! by Manoj VR
3: New Chapters by Jamais Cascio
4: NEXT! by Dale Brownfield
5: Core 21c Skillset: Data Literacy by Melanie Swan

Together We Can Stop Witch Burning in Papua New Guinea

by Leo Igwe

I am writing to urge the international community to come to the aid of the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea as it grapples with the menace of witchcraft or sorcery related violence. Witch persecution and killing has been going on in the country for too long and we cannot allow it to continue.
We need to take action now!

Is human enhancement disenchanting? (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This is the second part in a brief series looking at whether human enhancement — understood as the use of scientific knowledge and technology to improve the human condition — would rob our lives of meaning and value. The focus is on David Owens’s article “Disenchantment”. The goal is to clarify the arguments presented by Owens, and to subject them to some critical scrutiny.

Top 10 Most Promising Technology Trends 2013, from the World Economic Forum

by Andrew Maynard

The World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has just published its annual list of the top ten emerging technology trends.  Based on expert assessment from council members and others, the list provides insight into technologies that have the potential to have a significant economic and social impact in the near to mid term.

Shaping the Anthropocene: Cascio on Climate Change

by Jamais Cascio

One of the unfortunate truths of the climate crisis we’re in is that when we finally stop making things worse, it won’t suddenly make things better. The carbon dioxide we’ve put into the atmosphere and the oceans will persist for hundreds, even thousands of years; temperatures will remain high; many ecosystems will be permanently disrupted; and species driven to extinction—well, they’ll still be extinct. The eventual return to a planetary equilibrium won’t happen on anything approaching a human timescale.

The end of ID and credit card safety? Must e-commerce be destroyed?

by David Brin

Want a scary story about the near future of you and your money on the internet… and the future of e-commerce? Try this from Mark Anderson, one of the top tech business pundits around, in the newsletter of the Strategic News Service

It’s a wash – the evidence about pornography

by Russell Blackford

Millian liberals are not fond of upstream laws. All things being equal we would, for example, rather ban firing guns at people than ban owning guns. The latter has a far greater effect on people’s liberty (it affects a lot of people who don’t actually fire guns at other people, for example, and it affects a lot of conduct that will not necessarily cause anyone any harm). Putting it another way, we’re wary of laws about indirect harms.

Tomorrow’s robots: get ready for human-machine romances

by Dick Pelletier

Today, drones, eldercare and pets. Tomorrow, household servants, love partners and much more. Although some people might find the idea of love with a machine repulsive, experts predict that as the technology advances and robots become more human-like, we will view our silicon cousins in a friendlier light.

Big Brother, Big Data and The Forked Path Revisited

by Rick Searle

The technological ecosystem in which political power operates tends to mark out the possibility space for what kinds of political arrangements, good and bad, exist within that space. Orwell’s Oceania and its sister tyrannies were imagined in what was the age of big, centralized media. Here the Party had under its control not only the older printing press, having the ability to craft and doctor, at will, anything created using print from newspapers, to government documents, to novels. It also controlled the newer mediums of radio and film, and, as Orwell imagined, would twist those technologies around backwards to serve as spying machines aimed at everyone.

Why the Singularity is not Coming any Time Soon

by piero scaruffi

Historians, scientists and poets alike have written that the human being strives for the infinite. In the old days this meant that it strives to become one with the god who created and rules the world. As atheism began to make strides, Schopenhauer rephrased the concept as a “will to power”. Nietzsche confirmed that god is dead, and the search for “infinite” became a mathematical and scientific program instead of a mystical one. Russell, Hilbert and others started a logical program that basically aimed at making it easy to prove and discover everything that can be.

IEET Audience Passionate Science Fiction Fans

Four hundred people responded to the IEET poll on whether they were science fiction fans. More than half - 54%- said they were “canon-masters,” knowledgeable about science fiction from “H.G. Wells to Charlie Stross, Star Trek to Battlestar Galactica.”

Full Story...

Drones and [the U.S.] National Religion

by David Swanson

The national religion of the United States of America is nationalism.  Its god is the flag.  Its prayer is the pledge of allegiance.

Why the doping problem is here to stay

by Andy Miah

Doping news from the Australian Crime Commission raises three crucial questions for the world of sport. First, why do athletes dope?

Teaching the Ethics of Life Extension

by Colin Farrelly

This term I am teaching my graduate level seminar “Science and Justice” to approximately 14 (mostly) MA and PhD students from political science, philosophy and psychology here at Queen’s. It’s my favorite course to teach (I also teach an undergrad version of it as well) and we address a number of ethical and social issues related to the genetic revolution.

Cyborg Possibilities – The Arms and Legs (Part Three)

by John Niman

This article doesn’t need any of the special categories or explanations – the two classifications are pretty self explanatory. Let’s jump right in.

Children of the Sun

by Jonathan Dotse

As the dawn of 2013 marks the beginning of another revolution of our planet around the sun, let us draw our attention beyond the sphere of everyday life – beyond individual concerns, national issues, and even global concerns – towards the cosmic scale of affairs. Take this moment to consider the place of humanity in the grand scheme of the universe.

Waitress-Stiffing Pastor Simply Said What Many Christians Think and Do

by Valerie Tarico

The story has gone viral: A group got together at Applebees. When the tab came the minister wrote on the ticket, “I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?” She scratched through the automatic large-group tip and substituted a fat zero and signed it with the word “Pastor” in front of her name. The waitress posted an image on Reddit. The pastor called to complain. The waitress got fired. The internet went wild. Last I saw, one story had 80,000 comments and counting.

ETs: Experts predict we may discover them soon

by Dick Pelletier

  Although many believe that intelligent life thrives throughout the cosmos, today, we have found no hard scientific evidence of their existence. Experts even disagree that intelligence of human quality is the normal culmination of evolution.

Insurance strategies for the most vulnerable in Africa

by Lee-Roy Chetty

Insurance mitigates the economic effects of events like illness, death, disability, fire, theft, and natural disaster on individuals, households, or enterprises.

Is human enhancement disenchanting? (Part One)

by John Danaher

Although there are some enthusiasts, many people I talk to are deeply ambivalent about the prospects of human enhancement, particularly in its more radical forms. To be sure, this ambivalence might be rooted in human prejudice and bias toward the status quo, but I’m curious to see whether there is any deeper, more persuasive reason to share that unease.

My problems with Made in China

by Massimo Pigliucci

Lately I have been on a quest for a more mindful and ethical way of living, particularly as regards my buying habits. It is not easy, I tell you. Yes, there are — of course — apps for that,  but let’s not kid ourselves. Trying be more ethical (or at least less unethical) requires work and will likely cost you more than if you don't give a crap about the environment, workers’ conditions, or the use that corporations make of the money you send their way when you buy their products.

Past keeping faith with future… and day with night

by David Brin

Why the U.S. Civil War -relates to Sci Fi. Each night in November we watched Ken Burns's CIVIL WAR documentary with our 16 year old. A terrific work of high-class, dramatic and enriching media, very highly recommended. Still, I felt the documentary was a bit light on the underlying causes of a national trauma that is resonating within and among Americans.

The CBO Report: Six Things You Can’t Talk About in Washington

by Richard Eskow

Whom the gods would destroy, the old saying says, they first make mad. And there’s no quicker way to become completely untethered than to read economic reports, including the latest one from the Congressional Budget Office, and then watch the political debate go on as if reality didn’t even exist.

The Golem Genie and Unfriendly AI (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This is the second (and final) part in my series looking at the arguments from Muehlhauser and Helm’s (MH’s) paper “The Singularity and Machine Ethics”. As noted in part one, proponents of the Doomsday Argument hold that if a superintelligent machine (AI+) has a decisive power advantage over human beings, and if the machine has goals and values that are antithetical to the goals and values that we human beings think are morally ideal, then it spells our doom. The naive response to this argument is to claim that we can avoid this outcome by programming the AI+ to “want what we want”. One of the primary goals of MH’s paper is to dispute the credibility of this response. The goal of this series of blog posts is to clarify and comment upon the argument they develop.

The Golem Genie and Unfriendly AI (Part One)

by John Danaher

This is the first of two posts on Muehlhauser and Helm’s article “The Singularity and Machine Ethics”. It is part on my ongoing, but completely spontaneous and unplanned, series on the technological singularity. Before reading this, I would suggest reading my earlier attempts to provide some overarching guidance on how to research this topic (link is above). Much of what I say here is influenced by my desire to “fit” certain arguments within that framework. That might lead to some distortion of the material I’m discussing (though hopefully not), but if you understand the framework you can at least appreciate what I’m trying to do (even if you don’t agree with it).

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