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

Sorgner @ German Humanist Day
June 16
Nürnberg, Germany


Trump On Obamacare Repeal

Trump Refuses To Give Up Business Ties

U.S. & NATO Ramping Up W-A-R & Provoking Russia

Could your car be your best friend?

The Science of Productivity and Motivation

The Science of Bias, Empathy, and Dehumanization

Techno-Anxiety? We’ve Been Afraid of Disruptions Since the Printing Press

To solve old problems, study new species

The next step in nanotechnology

The world doesn’t need more nuclear weapons

If Scientific Discoveries Are Dangerous, Should They Be Censored?

Dr. James Hughes On Moral Enhancement Through Neurotech & Uploading The Mind To Computers

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Is Incomplete — There’s a Final, Forgotten Stage

The Science of Political Judgment and Empathy

The Science of Brain Health and Cognitive Decline

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This wireless brain implant could make telekinesis a reality

by George Dvorsky

Brown University researchers have developed a fully implantable and rechargeable wireless brain sensor capable of transmitting neural data to an external receiver. The system, which has performed remarkably well in monkeys and pigs for over a year, could eventually allow humans to control external devices with their thoughts.

Earth 2050: End of death, advanced robots, flying cars, enhanced brains, developing space

by Dick Pelletier

Positive futurists believe we will see more progress during the next 37 years than was experienced in the last 200 years. In The Singularity is Near, author Ray Kurzweil reveals how science will change the ways we live, work, and play. The following represents a decade-by-decade look at how we may evolve.

Empathy, Mirror Neurons, and the Empathy Pathology

by Simon de Croft

The process by which one’s affective experience is shared by another person is known as empathy. In order to understand empathy using the scientific method it is imperative to first define empathy.

Get ready for the risks of genetic testing

by Arthur Caplan

Would you want to know your future if science could tell it to you?

South Africa’s economic outlook in 2013

by Lee-Roy Chetty

Following a strong recovery from the downturn of 2008−09, economic momentum in South Africa is losing steam against the backdrop of a weaker external environment. As the recovery took hold, macro-economic policies moved towards a less accommodative stance from early 2010.

Rationalist Society manifesto for a secular Australia

by Russell Blackford

The Rationalist Society of Australia is launching its own manifesto for a secular Australia. I can get behind most of this, perhaps all of it. I also think that it would translate pretty well to other countries. Please feel free to offer your own plans for a truly secular country, applicable to where you live, or applicable generally.

The Pill is 1965 Technology

by Valerie Tarico

Futurist Sara Robinson has called modern contraception the most disruptive technology of the last hundred years. From the time our ancestors first walked out of the Great Rift Valley—perhaps even before—culture, religion, and division of labor enshrined the simple, universal fact that women had little control over their fertility.

Questions I am frequently asked about… (Part III) Brin Books, The Postman etc.

by David Brin

That’s like asking: Which of your children do you like best? Glory Season is my brave, indomitable daughter. The Postman is my courageous, civilization-saving son. Earth is the child who combined science and nature to become a planet. The Uplift War…well, I never had a better character than Fiben the earthy-intellectual chimp!

On the Need for Epistemic Enhancement

by John Danaher

Democratic Legitimacy and the Enhancement Project
Klaming and Vedder (2010) have argued that enhancement technologies that improve the epistemic efficiency of the legal system (“epistemic enhancements”) would benefit the common good. But there are two flaws to Klaming and Vedder’s argument. First, they rely on an under-theorised and under-specified conception of the common good. When theory and specification are supplied, their CGJ for enhancing eyewitness memory and recall becomes significantly less persuasive. And second, although aware of such problems, they fail to give due weight and consideration to the tensions between the individual and common good.

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Scientists Enhance Intelligence of Mice with Human Brain Cells

by George Dvorsky

It’s not quite Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but it may not be too far off, either. By grafting human glial cells into the brains of mice, neuroscientists were able to “sharply enhance” their cognitive capacities. These improvements included augmentations to memory, learning, and adaptive conditioning. It’s a breakthrough that could yield important insights into the treatment of human brain disorders.

Sex in Samoa – Margaret Mead not so wrong after all?

by Russell Blackford

In her famous 1928 book, Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead notoriously wrote about an island paradise in the Pacific with much more carefree attitudes to pre-marital sex than existed in Western countries at the time, and she was apparently motivated, at least to an extent, by something of an ideology of free love. She believed that a relaxation of sexual restrictions in her own society would have utilitarian benefits, that the restrictions did more harm than good.

Is cultural evolution a Darwinian process?

by Massimo Pigliucci

The “Darwinian” theory of evolution is here to stay. I used the scare quotes to refer to it in the previous sentence because the current incarnation, known as the Modern Synthesis (and incorrectly referred to as “neo-Darwinism,” which actually was an even earlier version) is significantly more sophisticated and encompassing than the original insight by Darwin. Indeed, my opinion — which is certainly not universally shared — is that evolutionary biology is currently undergoing another gradual but significant change, referred to as the Extended Synthesis, that will expand its domain of application and explanatory tools even further.

Few IEETers Quantify the Self

Although the quantified self movement has been getting a lot of attention within technoprogressive and transhumanist communities, appealing to the self-engineering mindset, not many IEET community members have started quantifying themselves. Two thirds either measure nothing about themselves, or only watch their weight. Only one in eight are using mobile health devices or apps to record facts about their bodies or minds.

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Immortal Jellyfish and the Collapse of Civilization

by Rick Searle

The one rule that seems to hold for everything in our Universe is that all that exists, after a time, must pass away, which for life forms means they will die. From there, however, the bets are off and the definition of the word “time” in the phrase “after a time” comes into play. The Universe itself may exist for as long as 100s of trillions of years to at last disappear into the formless quantum field from whence it came. Galaxies, or more specifically, clusters of galaxies and super-galaxies, may survive for perhaps trillions of years to eventually be pulled in and destroyed by the black holes at their centers.

The War on Drugs: What’s the Point?

by piero scaruffi

The moment one argues in favor of liberalizing drugs people accuse him of being a drug addict: i have not drugs, do not do drugs and do not intend to do drugs. I care for my brain. Just like i do not smoke because i care for my lungs and i do not eat junk food because i care for my heart.

You Should Watch This SCOTUS Case, Just in Case Your Skin Sloughs Off

by Kelly Hills

We’ve all been in the situation where we do something – crash a bike, step wrong on thawing ground, trip over a damnedbeloved pet – that leaves us with a painful injury that doesn’t go away. And when that happens, we go to the doctor to verify we’re not badly injured, and possibly pick up some anti-inflammatories. For most of us, when this happens, our skin won’t slough off, we won’t end up in a burn unit for treatment, and we won’t be in a medically induced coma for months.

Nagel on the Burden of Enhancement (Part One)

by John Danaher

A couple of weeks back, I looked at David Owens’s article “Disenchantment”. In this article, Owens argues that the ability to manipulate and control all aspects of human life — which is, arguably, what is promised to us by enhancement technologies — would lead to disenchantment. Those of you who read my analysis of Owens’s article will know that I wasn’t too impressed by his arguments. Since then I’ve been wondering whether there might be a better critique of enhancement, one which touches upon similar themes, but which is defended by more rigorous arguments.

How will religious institutions cope with technological immortality?

by Jønathan Lyons

“What the mind doesn’t understand, it worships or fears.” – Alice Walker Walker’s words ring profoundly true for me, at the moment. In my sci-fi course (which is actually all about science fiction becoming real-world, bleeding-edge science; personhood; and the technological Singularity; but sci-fi is better shorthand) we’ve just covered a number of approaches to concepts such as mind uploading and immortality.

Who’s responsible for the obesity epidemic?

by Massimo Pigliucci

There is no question that we are in the midst of an obesity-related health crisis. The numbers are staggering and keep getting worse every year. The current situation in the United States is hard to believe: one third of adults are clinically obese, and so is one fifth of all children; a whopping 24 million Americans are affected by type II diabetes, usually the result of a poor diet.

A Critique on the Politics of Transhumanism

by Wesley Strong

Transhumanism may be considered a recent philosophical development, but its roots go much deeper. Modern transhumanism focuses largely on technological developments, scientific research, and biological means to improve, extend and perpetuate life. Transhumanism is centered around “transcending humanity”, what it means to be human, and the biological barriers presented by human bodies that deteriorate by nature.

Questions I’m often asked. Part II: About Science Fiction!

by David Brin

Continuing a compilation of questions that I’m frequently asked by interviewers. This time, we’ll talk about…

A New History of Prehistory - Part 1 & 2

by piero scaruffi

The Missing Mutation: Are We Really Smarter than our Ancestors? Several innovations that happened in the Neolithic seem to provide no advantage and sometimes create problems instead of solving them. About 10,000 years ago the burial ritual lasted a lifetime and the living were supposed to give offerings to the dead that were not valuable. At some point the burial ritual became much simpler but the living were supposed to give offerings to the dead that were valuable (e.g., food at times of starvation). Neither attitude makes a lot of sense from a materialistic viewpoint: what is the adaptive advantage of wasting goods and food for dead people? At the same time the cult of the dead moved from underground to aboveground (temples, pyramids), again an incredible waste of resources.

Theism and the Meaning of Life (Part Two)

by John Danaher

This post is the second part in a short series about the meaning of life. The series is working primarily off Gianluca di Muzio’s article “Theism and the Meaning of Life”, which appeared in the journal Ars Disputandi back in 2006. However, I’m trying to develop some formal reconstructions of Di Muzio’s arguments so as to improve my understanding of the arguments in this debate. My central contention, which is worth keeping in mind while reading this post, is that the debate is concerned with finding the necessary and sufficient conditions for a life that is worth living (i.e. meaningful = worthwhile).

Death and Humanist Funerals in Nigeria

by Leo Igwe

On February 9, 2013, the former Chair of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, Eze Ebisike died after a brief illness. On March 2, he was buried in his hometown Okpokume, Mpam, Ekwerazu Ahiazu Mbiase in Imo State. Ebisike was an ex-catholic priest and an atheist. He was buried after a short humanist funeral ceremony in the compound.

New Contraceptives for Cascadia: The lesson of St. Louis

by Valerie Tarico

Last fall, researchers in Missouri caught the attention of public health experts and advocates across North America. Some 9,000 St. Louis women had been offered their choice of contraceptives for free in a study that has since been called an “Obamacare simulation.” Two years later, the teen pregnancy rate was at 6 per 1,000 instead of the US average of 34. The abortion rate was less than half the rate of other St. Louis women.

Common Misconceptions about Transhumanism

by Gennady Stolyarov II

Transhumanism is often misunderstood and maligned by who are ignorant of it – or those who were exposed solely to detractors such as John Gray, Leon Kass, and Taleb himself. This essay will serve to correct these misconceptions in a concise fashion. Those who still wish to criticize transhumanism should at least understand what they are criticizing and present arguments against the real ideas, rather than straw men constructed by the opponents of radical technological progress.

Transhumanism and Money

by Zeev Kirsh

Money is at the very center of how human beings communicate with one another in complex societies and yet it is almost completely ignored in all private k-12 education in the united states and most nations. Money isn’t economics, Money is human behaviour, it is group and individual psychology.Particularly now, as the world body of nations and central banks escalate currency wars(and trade wars), more people are turning their attention to money.

Technological unemployment: panacea or poison?

by George Deane

“We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.” Buckminster Fuller

Stem cells and bioprinters take aim at heart disease, cancer, aging

by Dick Pelletier

Science and technology have utterly transformed humanity during my lifetime. Where forecasts of the future used to be measured in decades, today, new medical discoveries are announced almost weekly. This article focuses on cutting-edge research that promises a healthier and longer lifespan for all of us.

Feminism, Erotica, and What Comes Next

by Kris Notaro

Suicide Girls and the IEET Team up to Tackle Feminism, Erotica, Science, and the Future of Technology: An Interview with Voodou Suicide. We discuss everything from sex robots to the future of nanotechnology. It was a pleasure interviewing her, and I think you will enjoy the questions and answers and learn something at the same time!

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