Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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The Revenge of the Pagans: Ovid as prophet of the posthuman

Theory and Application of the Extended Mind (Series Index)

Christians Should Support Scientists and Technologists

Artificial Intelligence is Already Here—Artificial Consciousness is What Eludes Us - See more


Buddhism and Robot Ethics

Religious Transhumanism

CyBuddha Events

Cyborg Buddha Resources

Altered States of Consciousness and Transcendence

  • Trans-Spirit list a transhumanist research program into religion and spirituality. It seeks to understand religion and spirituality in terms of cognitive science and evolutionary psychology, and to project the future of religion and spirituality in the dawning transhuman era.
  • "Trans-Spirit: Religion, Spirituality and Transhumanism," Michael LaTorra, Journal of Evolution and Technology 14(1) August 2005: 39-53.
  • Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Promoting clinical research on psychedelics
  • Council on Spiritual Practices

  • Scientific Study of Consciousness and Neurotechnology

  • Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness
  • NeuroInsights a neurotechnology consulting firm directed by Zack Lynch
  • Mind and Life Institute Works on establishing research partnerships between modern science and Buddhism, especially the Dalai Lama.
  • The "neurodharma" project of psychologist Rick Hanson and neurologist Rick Mendius, both of whom are Buddhist meditators. They teach a "Train the Brain Course" and have a many talks, slides, and articles at the site.

  • Neuroethics and Cognitive Liberty

  • Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics
  • Wikipedia on Cognitive Liberty
  • Neuroethics Society scholars, scientists and clinicians who share an interest in the social, legal, ethical and policy implications of advances in neuroscience.
  • Neuroethics at UPenn a source of information on neuroethics, provided by Martha Farah of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Happiness, Positive Psychology and The Virtues

  • Positive Psychology Center at UPenn, directed by Martin Seligman
  • Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman.
  • Wikipedia on Positive Psychology
  • Ethics of Mood Enhancement NY Academy of Sciences
  • The Hedonistic Imperative Advocates the development of neurotechnology to permit the elimination of all suffering
  • Abolitionist SocietyPromotes eliminating involuntary suffering and increasing lifelong individual happiness through science

  • Cyborg Buddha Project

    IEET Executive Director James Hughes - a former Buddhist monk and attenuated Buddho-Unitarian - is writing a book tentatively titled Cyborg Buddha: Using Neurotechnology to Become Better People.

    IEET Board member Mike LaTorra - a Zen priest and author of A Warrior Blends with Life: A Modern Tao - runs the Trans-Spirit list promoting discussion of neurotheology, neuroethics, techno-spirituality and altered states of consciousness.

    IEET Board member George Dvorsky - a practicing Buddhist - writes and podcasts frequently from a rationalist, transhumanist, and Buddhist point of view, winning him an award this year as one of the best Buddhist blogs.

    The three of us are launching the IEET Cyborg Buddha Project to combine our efforts and promote discussion of the impact that neuroscience and emerging neurotechnologies will have on happiness, spirituality, cognitive liberty, moral behavior and the exploration of meditational and ecstatic states of mind.

    May 18, 2015

    The Ethics of Moral Enhancement


    Jesse has a freewheeling discussion with John Danaher about “moral enhancement” technologies – old and new.  They talk about emerging technologies, ethics and the notion that the mind extends much beyond our body and brain.  (All without sounding remotely woo-woo!)

    By the way, here is the article that first turned Jesse on to John Danaher – heartily recommended if you like some philosophy along with your doomsday scenarios. – Jesse

      Episode Highlights

    • 1:09The future of moral enhancement and and control systems.
    • 2:05This Week In Neuroscience: A gene mutation that enhances images making them more vivid.
    • 4:08iTunes reviews and the Smart Drug Smarts Audience Census.
    • 5:24An introduction to John Danaher.
    • 6:56What is enhancement? A quick lowdown.
    • 8:52Going deeper into moral enhancement.
    • 10:00Feeling the pull of the moral compass with the “Trolley Problem.”
    • 12:33If moral enhancement was possible, how would it work?
    • 13:59The benefits of moral enhancement in the criminal justice system.
    • 14:33The methods of enhancement - internal and external.
    • 16:08Neuroplasticity and tampering with the brain.
    • 17:00Introducing the Extended Mind Project.
    • 20:28Modifying morality with classical conditioning and an interesting device called Pavlok.
    • 21:31The arguments against Extended Mind hypothesis.
    • 24:50John Danaher’s personal take on the Extended Mind hypothesis and the enhancement debate.
    • 32:45Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick: A great tip to reduce pain.
    • 34:19(For Axon users) Show notes online here.


      Apr 25, 2015

      The Problem of Personal Identity in Two Pages

      by John G. Messerly

      The problem – Is a person the kind of thing that can die on earth and be alive somewhere else? To understand this consider a thought experiment. If we make a perfect copy of you—complete with your thoughts and memories—is that copy really you or just a duplicate? (If you think the copy is you, then the waking up in heaven scenario is not problematic; if you think it’s just a copy, then the thing that wakes up in heaven isn’t you.)

      Full Story...

      Apr 25, 2015

      The Outsourcing Illusion: Why Tempting Technology Can Lead to Dangerous Delegation

      Critical Thinking in Life and Labor

      IEET Fellow Evan Selinger spoke at the University of Florida on October 13, 2014.

      To make wise decisions when confronted with outsourcing technologies that can fundamentally impact our sensibilities, we need a clear sense of what technological outsourcing is, why it often promises more than it can deliver, and how to judge when to avoid it. The task before us, therefore, is to grasp the phenomenological contours of what I call the outsourcing illusion.


      Apr 11, 2015

      The psychology of your future self


      Filmed March 2014. Dan Gilbert shares recent research on a phenomenon he calls the “end of history illusion,” where we somehow imagine that the person we are right now is the person we’ll be for the rest of time. Hint: that’s not the case. “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”


      Apr 4, 2015

      Transformative Technology: An Evolution of Contemplative Practice

      Smith College Buddhist Studies

      Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”,[1] which can be trained by meditational practices derived from Buddhist anapanasati.

      The term “mindfulness” is derived from the Pali-term sati, “mindfulness”, which is an essential element of Buddhist practice, including vipassana, satipaṭṭhāna and anapanasati.

      Mindfulness practice is being employed in psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and in the prevention of relapse in depression and drug addiction. It has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions.



      Apr 1, 2015

      Using Neurotechnologies to Enhance Virtues

      Smith College Buddhist Studies

      Published on Mar 3, 2015
      “Using Neurotechnologies to Enhance Virtues: A Posthuman Model for Cultivating Character”



      Mar 15, 2015

      IEET Audience Divided on Left-Right Political Cognitive Biases

      Inspired by the debate over the effects of partisan tribalism on cognition we asked “Are liberals and people on the Left as cognitively biased as conservatives and people on the Right?” A plurality (42%) of the 150 respondents answered that “Leftists and liberals have some biases, but less than conservatives and the Right.”

      Full Story...

      Mar 10, 2015

      Integrating Video Game Mechanics and Meditation Principles to Improve Brain Health

      Wisdom 2.0

      Wisdom 2.0 addresses the great challenge of our age: to not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.

      Through our series of conferences, meet-ups, and workshops, Wisdom 2.0 strives to bring this conversation to the world in an accessible, innovative, and inclusive way.


      Mar 1, 2015

      Enhancing Virtues: Fairness (Pt 3)

      by J. Hughes

      Are there ways to directly strengthen fairness and moral cognition in the prefrontal cortex, and weaken the cognitive biases bubbling up from the amygdala? Research on the genetic correlates of moral cognition, and the effects of psychoactive drugs, and of electrical and magnetic manipulation of the brain, suggest there are ways to enhance fairness and impartiality.

      Feb 28, 2015

      Enhancing Virtues: Fairness (Pt 2)

      by J. Hughes

      Fairness is a liberal virtue rooted in instinctive aversion to cheating and inequality, but then filtered through prefrontal cognition.  Since the spread of Enlightenment values fairness has grown in importance as a virtue, especially for liberals with stronger prefrontal cortices and weaker amygdalas. Fairness finds less support among conservatives for whom respect for authority, ingroup loyalty and disgust/sanctity are more neurologically salient. What impact do social policy and individual practices have on the influence of fairness and cognitive biases?

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    East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
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    Email: director @     phone: 860-428-1837

    West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
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    Email: hank @