Democracy ... capitalism ... communism ... socialism ... anarchism ... the list goes on and on ... is there any really good way to structure a human society? If not, then what’s the best of the bad lot?
In this third installment of the 2020 Visionaries series [Part1] [Part2], we look at the future of the global environment and of democracy — two areas of concern that will increasingly intertwine in the next 10 years.
Last month at Reason.com, libertarian Ronald Bailey published a hypothetical opinion piece from the year 2020 criticizing the effects of 2010’s health care reform effort in the United States. Allow us to retort.
A U.S. Federal District Court on April 15th struck down a statute providing for a “national day of prayer.” This case should have been a no-brainer—if a statute of this kind is not an unlawful establishment of religion, then I’m going to be the next pope.
Generally, I write about enhancement and cosmetic surgeries done to the upper portion of the body. A suggestion came in to turn my attention to the work done below the belt. Apparently, I have been neglecting that region and there were interesting things going on.
What is the relation between technology and human biological evolution? Most people, in my experience, have a quick retort, which they take to be obvious: “Artifacts evolve just like organisms do,” or “Technology is an extended phenotype of humans.” But it’s not clear to me that the answer to this question is so obvious.
One of the charming peculiarities of modern Western culture—and especially American culture, which I’ve lived in most of my life, and which has played a pivotal role in the development of humanity’s advanced technologies—is its emphasis on the individual rather than the social group.
Personhood is everywhere. Netflix recently added Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends to their “instant play” repertoire, which means I may or may not have spent several hours watching a cartoon from the early sixties as part of my Saturday routine. As usual, there was a little bit of transhumanist propaganda hidden within it.
One of the major differences between irregular warfare (IW) simulation and conventional warfare simulation is the differing data requirements. The data required by conventional warfare simulation is very narrow and well defined compared to that required by IW simulation. In fact, almost any data that is remotely related to social conditions on the Internet and beyond may be used in IW simulation. There is no problem with the existence of data for simulations in this information age. The problem is that this data is not expressed in a way that can be used for simulations. This paper is about a natural language processing program, Indra, which works towards solving this problem by making data available for multiple purposes other than those for which it was first intended.
The genome has turned out to be a much more complicated place than many people expected. Nevertheless, we are living through an astonishing revolution in science, and young biologists should be grabbing the opportunity to make some amazing discoveries about the evolution of life.
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) plans to form a new interagency group on emerging technologies, including nanotechnology and synthetic biology.
Metaethics is one of those fields where the wheels grind very, very slowly. I do think it’s making glacial progess. But just as there has been huge resistance over the centuries to the idea that God does not exist, so there has been huge resistance to the idea that there are no objective moral oughts, in the strong sense of “objective” that ordinary folk and many philosphers seem to want.
Transhumanism has a lot of opponents. Some people think we’re insane Robot Cultists drooling as we watch science-fiction movies and cowering in fear every time some aspect of our frail biology rears its head. Others think we’re immoral or philosophically confused or a hoard of imbeciles and will not deign to argue with us.
Respondents to a recently concluded IEET reader poll chose Dolphin as the animal whose consciousness they would most like to briefly inhabit. Given a dozen animals to choose from, Fish ranked dead last.
It’s all very well to enunciate lovely-sounding values like Joy, Growth and Choice ... but in real life we’re faced with difficult decisions. We’re faced with choosing one being’s joy over another’s, or choosing joy versus growth in a given situation, and so forth.
Over at Science Progress, Andrew Plemmons Pratt reports that US District Court Judge Robert Sweet handed down his judgment last week in the long-running dispute about gene patents. This case is based on litigation brought by a coalition of groups that have sought to challenge the controversial patents owned by Myriad Genetics on two genes connected to breast and ovarian cancer.
Transhumanists like to talk about immortality, anti-aging, and life-extension. These three ideas are often used interchangeably and for most debates, such as over issues of Malthusian catastrophes or existential boredom, they apply. But what if we only conquered the middle of the three; what if we could only slow the aging process, but not add years to our lives? What would the world look like? What would life be like?
The recent TED talk by Sam Harris brings important metaethical issues into the popular arena. Is there a way to establish the objectivity of morality, and in particular the objective bindingness of utilitarian morality?
While it may be impolitic now for technoprogressives to focus on uploading, for radical life extension advocates it is invaluable to have access to brief and compelling arguments in favor of the efficacy of such a process.
We’ve announced today that Kyle Munkittrick is joining the IEET in the position of Program Director: Envisioning the Future. So that you can get a better idea of who Kyle is and what he will bring to our organization, I conducted a brief online dialog with him.