Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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CyBuddha News

Cyborg Buddha – IEET’s James Hughes on Transhuman Enlightenment and Basic Income

Posthuman Rights: Dimensions of Transhuman Worlds

Moral Bioenhancement: Thinking Synergistically - interview with Harris Wiseman

Everything You Know About Artificial Intelligence is Wrong

Exploring Transhumanism

Buddhism’s Teaching on the Five Elements: An Answer to Creating Friendly AGI?

Summary of Marshall Brain’s, “The Day You Discard Our Bodies”

CyBuddha Events

Stefan Sorgner @ Meditation & Wirklichkeit Conference in Berlin

2016-11-25 - 26

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.

    Nov 13, 2015



    Post-Human is an indie proof of concept film short for David Simpson’s Post-Human novel, which is part of a best-selling eBook series (the Post-Human Series) about Transhumanism and future technology. Invasive nanobots, greater-than-human AI, terraforming, and more, the novels explore philosophical and ethical components of advanced technology and are fast-paced and full of suspense. The film was shot in Vancouver Canada by a crew of just three in only three hours.

    Post-Human from Post-Human Media on Vimeo.


    Nov 12, 2015

    Buddhism and Robot Ethics

    Against the Grain

    IEET Executive Director James Hughes thinks Buddhist psychology and cosmology can and should inform the creation and design of AI beings. For one thing, Hughes doesn’t believe it’s ethical to create self-aware machine minds geared only toward the satisfaction of human needs.

    Download program audio (mp3, 50.27 Mbytes)

    A discussion of the essay “Compassionate AI and Selfless Robots: A Buddhist Approach” in Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, George A. Bekey eds. 2011. MIT Press.


    Nov 11, 2015

    Religious Transhumanism

    Christian Transhumanist Podcast

    Micah Redding talks to IEET Executive Director James Hughes about cyber-Buddhism, religious transhumanism, and the longevity dividend. Subscribe or download additional episodes of the Christian Transhumanist Podcast here


    Nov 10, 2015

    Transhumanism’s Goal is to Increase Our Capacity for Love - interview with James Ledford

    by Hank Pellissier

    Transhumanists have multiple goals - to live longer, to be more intelligent, to enhance the physical body physically. But what about our feelings? Do we want to “upgrade” our emotional capacity? James McLean Ledford believes the primary goal of transhumanism is to “increase our capacity to love.”  I interviewed him via email below:

    Full Story...

    Nov 6, 2015

    Altered States of Consciousness through Technological Intervention

    Adam Ford

    A mini-documentary on possible modes of being in the future – Ben Goertzel talks about the Singularity and exploring Altered States of Consciousness, Stelarc discusses Navigating Mixed Realities, Kent Kemmish muses on the paradox of strange futures, and Max More compares Transhumanism to Humanism



    Oct 27, 2015

    What will the advent of advanced AI and robotics mean for humanity?

    Cosmism Foundation

    IEET Fellow Ben Goertzel spoke on cosmism and AI at teh Modern Cosmism meeting in NYC on October 10, 2015.

    In recent years, as practical technological progress has made AI more palpable for the common person, public commentary on AI has tended to focus on the potential for AIs and robots to take over human jobs, and even the potential of artificial superintelligences to exterminate humanity.

    But these worries, while understandable, understate the potential transformative impact of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) technology, and also distract attention from the positive potential AGI has for alleviating human suffering and increasing human joy.

    From a Cosmist view, the engineering of systems with transhuman intelligence is the next natural step in the evolution of intelligence on the planet Earth.  The relation between humans and AGIs is unlikely to be mainly one of “us versus them”; rather, humans will fuse with AGIs via brain-computer interfacing and other means.

    The potential for humans to become new kinds of minds via means of AGI and other technologies, will bring amazing new possibilities for joy, growth and choice.  The advent of AGI will bring us in contact with multiple aspects of the Cosmos that we cannot now effectively perceive due to the limitations of our current human minds.  These are possibilities that should be embraced and welcomed rather than primarily feared.

    In this talk I will connect these general philosophical issues regarding the Cosmist view of AGI, with current work on AI and robotics occurring in my own OpenCog AGI project and in other projects around the world.  We are privileged to live at a time and place where we can take part in the unfolding of such dramatic positive transitions.


    Oct 26, 2015

    Cosmism, Moral Enhancement and the Religious Dialogue with Transhumanism

    Cosmism Foundation

    IEET Executive Director J. Hughes spoke on spirituality and moral enhancement at the Modern Cosmism conference in New York City on October 10, 2015.

    Most people are neurologically incapable of living up to their own moral aspirations. In response to our moral inadequacies religious traditions have developed technologies such as fasting, meditation, special clothing and psychoactive drugs to improve moral cognition and behavior. Today psychopharmacological, social neuroscience and behavioral research are illuminating moral cognition, and generating new electronic, psychopharmaceutical, and genetic technologies for moral self-improvement.

    As these technologies of moral enhancement become more common in therapy and criminal rehabilitation they will also be selectively adopted and rejected by religious traditions. Some religious will reject the new moral enhancement technologies on the grounds that, like the transhumanist aspirations for longevity, cognitive enhancement and uploading, they are a distraction from spiritual means and ends. Other technologies, such as treatments for addictions, will likely be widely embraced by the religious.

    A dialogue between religious and transhumanists about these projects will help the religious parse which technologies are acceptable. But a religious-transhumanist moral enhancement dialogue will also help the transhumanist movement confront its dangerous lack of distinction between static forms of enhancement, such as hedonic “wireheading,” and forms of enhancement that enhance virtues, explore spiritual experience, and support flourishing lives.


    Oct 18, 2015

    Did the Evolution of the Brain… Evolve Our Morality?


    Dr. Patricia Churchland is UC President’s Professor of Philosophy Emerita at the University of California, San Diego. He popular books such as “Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality” grapple with issues at the intersection of philosophy and neuroscience. In this interview, Dr. Churchland explains how the evolution of the mammalian brain may have influenced our underlying core moral values, and her belief that society must be strong yet flexible enough to deal with the moral quagmire of new technologies / values / ways of living as we transition into the future.


    Oct 7, 2015

    Mindfulness-Based Therapy – Does it Work? (Summary, Part 3)

    by Gareth John

    Which brings me to my critique of mindfulness as therapy:

    1.  Firstly, mindfulness is not and should not be viewed as the latest cure-all for those with mental health issues. It is not a panacea. By the time the Buddha started employing it within his teachings it had already had a long history of incremental development within a broader spiritual tradition and this continued up until the end of the last century. Within this tradition it is viewed as a powerful tool designed to do to the brain what the brain specifically does not want to do, i.e. remain uninvolved with thought patterns and feelings as they pass before the practitioner.

    Full Story...

    Oct 7, 2015

    Mindfulness-Based Therapy – Examining the Studies (Part 2)

    by Gareth John

    So is there any hard evidence that mindfulness-based therapies work? Well, the clinical evidence for mindfulness as a way to prevent depression, stress and anxiety appears at first glance to be sound. A review of the eight-week course was published in 2011 in Clinical Psychology Review by Jacob Piet and Esben Hougaard of Aarhus University, Denmark.

    Full Story...

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    The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

    East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
    56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
    Email: director @     phone: 860-428-1837

    West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
    425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
    Email: hank @