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




whats new at ieet

Summa Technologiae, Or Why The Trouble With Science Is Religion

Technoprogressive Declaration - Transvision 2014

Transhumanism: A Glimpse into the Future of Humanity

Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality

How America’s Obsession With Bad Birth Control Hurts and Even Kills Women

A decade of uncertainty in nanoscale science and engineering


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt

A Taxonomy and Metaphysics of Mind-Uploading
Keith Wiley

A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century
Ilia Stambler

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
Nick Bostrom


comments

David Wood on 'Technoprogressive Declaration - Transvision 2014' (Nov 23, 2014)

Rick Searle on 'Summa Technologiae, Or Why The Trouble With Science Is Religion' (Nov 23, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Summa Technologiae, Or Why The Trouble With Science Is Religion' (Nov 23, 2014)

jhughes on 'Technoprogressive Declaration - Transvision 2014' (Nov 23, 2014)

Omar Immortalist Gatti on 'Technoprogressive Declaration - Transvision 2014' (Nov 23, 2014)

Khannea Suntzu on 'Technoprogressive Declaration - Transvision 2014' (Nov 23, 2014)

Peter Wicks on 'Pastor-Turned-Atheist Coaches Secular Church Start-Ups' (Nov 23, 2014)







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JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

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PUBLICATIONS

Introductory Lit - White Papers - Journal of Evolution and Technology - Books by IEET Authors


IEET Introductory Literature


One-page Overview of the IEET (Nov 2009)

IEET Prospectus (Sept 2009)


IEET White Paper Series


Postgenderism: Beyond the Gender Binary (IEET White Paper 03) by George Dvorsky,   Mar 2008

An IEET White Paper by By George Dvorsky and James Hughes.


Abstract: Postgenderism is an extrapolation of ways that technology is eroding the biological, psychological and social role of gender, and an argument for why the erosion of binary gender will be liberatory. Postgenderists argue that gender is an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation on human potential, and foresee the elimination of involuntary biological and psychological gendering in the human species through the application of neurotechnology, biotechnology and reproductive technologies. Postgenderists contend that dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphisms are generally to the detriment of individuals and society. Assisted reproduction will make it possible for individuals of any sex to reproduce in any combinations they choose, with or without “mothers” and “fathers,” and artificial wombs will make biological wombs unnecessary for reproduction. Greater biological fluidity and psychological androgyny will allow future persons to explore both masculine and feminine aspects of personality. Postgenderists do not call for the end of all gender traits, or universal androgyny, but rather that those traits become a matter of choice. Bodies and personalities in our postgender future will no longer be constrained and circumscribed by gendered traits, but enriched by their use in the palette of diverse self-expression.

Download the Complete Document (PDF)

 

In Praise of Bio-Happiness (IEET White Paper 02) by Mark Walker,   Dec 2006

Abstract: Most agree that our lives and our world are better if we are happier. So linking the moral goal of greater happiness with our biological understanding of happiness seems obvious. Let us think of the position that it is permissible for individuals to make this linkage—to use pharmacology and other technologies in the service of increased happiness—as the ‘bio-happiness’ proposal. Several different technologies might be used in pursuit of this goal, e.g., pharmacological agents (“happy pills” ) might be developed, or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to select embryos with genes associated with a high level of happiness, or genetically engineering embryos for happiness.  Most of the paper is devoted to defending bio-happiness against criticisms. The field of which may be characterized as follows:

(1)  Happiness is not of moral importance.
(2)  Bio-happiness cannot increase our happiness.
(3)  Bio-happiness will come at too great a cost to other moral values.

Download the Complete Document (PDF)

All Together Now (IEET White Paper 01) by George Dvorsky,   Jul 2006

As the potential for enhancement technologies migrates from the theoretical to the practical, a difficult and important decision will be imposed upon human civilization, namely the issue as to whether or not we are morally obligated to biologically enhance nonhuman animals and integrate them into human and posthuman society. Precedents for intra-species cultural uplift abound in human history, providing both sobering and edifying episodes showcasing the possibilities for the instigated and accelerated advancement of technologically delayed societies. As a number of scientists, philosophers and futurists have recently argued, there is mounting evidence in support of the suggestion that these historical episodes are symptomatic of a larger developmental trend, namely the inexorable and steady advancement of intelligence. Civilizational progress necessarily implies increasing levels of organization and refinement across all realms of activity. Consequently, the status of nonhuman species and the biosphere will eventually come under the purview of guided intelligence rather than autonomous processes. That said, a developmental tendency towards uplift does not imply that it is good or right; more properly, it can be argued that uplift scenarios do in fact carry moral currency. Through the application of Rawlsian moral frameworks, and in consideration of the acknowledgement of legally recognized nonhuman persons, it can be shown that the presence of uplift biotechnologies will represent a new primary good and will thus necessitate the inclusion of highly sapient nonhumans into what has traditionally been regarded as human society. In addition to issues of distributive justice, the Rawlsian notion of original position can be used to answer the question of whether or not there is consent to uplift. Finally, it will be shown that the presence of uplift biotechnologies in the absence of the legal recognition of nonhuman persons and a mandate for responsible uplifting will ultimately lead to abuse, adding another important consideration to the uplift imperative.

Download the Complete Document (PDF)



Journal of Evolution and Technology

The Journal of Evolution and Technology (JET) is a scholarly peer-reviewed journal published by the IEET. JET welcomes submissions on subject matters that many mainstream journals shun as too speculative, radical, or interdisciplinary on all issues relating to the future prospects of the human species and its descendants. Since its inception in 1998, JET has had five editors-in-chief: Dr. Nick Bostrom, Dr. Robin Hanson, Dr. Mark Walker, Dr. James Hughes and and (currently) Dr. Russell Blackford.

All submissions deemed to be of sufficient quality to merit consideration are reviewed by internal and external reviewers. Historically, the journal has had an acceptance rate of roughly 25%. Submission guidelines here.

Recent Articles

Introduction: The Struggle for NonHuman Personhood

Evolving Notions of Nonhuman Personhood: Is Moral Standing Sufficient?

Ancient Definitions of Personhood and Difficult Social Precedents: The Homunculus, the Golem, and Aristotle

What Is A Person And How Can We Be Sure? A Paradigm Case Formulation

The Provocative Elitism of "Personhood" for Nonhuman Creatures in Animal Advocacy Parlance and Polemics

Whom Would Animals Designate as "Persons"? On the Avoidance of Anthropocentrism and the Inclusion of Others

Compassionate Coexistence: Personizing the Land in Aldo Leopold's Land-Ethic

Personhood and Subjectivation in Simondon and Heidegger

Can a Robot Pursue the Good? Exploring Artificial Moral Agency

Transhumanism and Marxism: Philosophical Connections



Recent Books by IEET Fellows and Staff


Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality  (2014)
by Martine Rothblatt

Virtually Human explores what the not-too-distant future will look like when cyberconsciousness—simulation of the human brain via software and computer technology—becomes part of our daily lives.  Meet Bina48, the world’s most sentient robot, commissioned by Martine Rothblatt and created by Hanson Robotics. Bina48 is a nascent Mindclone of Martine’s wife that can engage in conversation, answer questions, and even have spontaneous thoughts that are derived from multimedia data in a Mindfile created by the real Bina. If you’re active on Twitter or Facebook, share photos through Instagram, or blogging regularly, you’re already on your way to creating a Mindfile—a digital database of your thoughts, memories, feelings, and opinions that is essentially a back-up copy of your mind. Soon, this Mindfile can be made conscious with special software—Mindware—that mimics the way human brains organize information, create emotions and achieve self-awareness. This may sound like science-fiction, but the nascent technology already exists. Thousands of software engineers across the globe are working to create cyberconsciousness based on human consciousness and the Obama administration recently announced plans to invest in a decade-long Brain Activity Map project. Virtually Human is the only book to examine the ethical issues relating to cyberconsciousness and Rothblatt, with a Ph.D. in medical ethics, is uniquely qualified to lead the dialogue.


A Taxonomy and Metaphysics of Mind-Uploading  (2014)
by Keith Wiley

MIND-UPLOADING: the process of transferring one’s mind from the brain to a new substrate, generally a computer. It is the stuff of science fiction, immediately recognizable in contemporary literature and cinema. However, it has also become increasingly respectable—or at least approachable—within technological, neurological, and philosophical circles. This book begins with a rich taxonomy of hypothetical procedures by which mind-uploading might be achieved, even if only in the realm of thought experiment. This is likely the most thorough collection of such procedures yet compiled and should form the basis of any reader’s personal philosophy of mind and mind-uploading. It then offers one such philosophy of mind, along with an analysis and interpretation of the scenarios in the taxonomy through the lens of this philosophy. This book will be an important component of any curious reader’s developing philosophy of mind and mind-uploading.
“Starting with a very useful description of the ways that minds may be uploaded in the future, this book steps through some of the key philosophical issues that mind uploading poses. What is consciousness? Is there personal identity? What would the relationship of an organic person be to his mind clone? If we can copy minds would that mean there is no free will? This book makes a useful contribution to a debate that our children will undoubtedly have a stake in.”
—JAMES J. HUGHES PH.D. * Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies * Author, Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future


A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century  (2014)
by Ilia Stambler

Radical life extension is desirable on ethical grounds and can be achieved through conscious scientific efforts. This work reviews 20th century life-extensionism, focusing on central authors such as Elie Metchnikoff, Bernard Shaw, Alexis Carrel, and Alexander Bogomolets. Their works are considered in the social and intellectual context of France (Chapter One), Germany, Austria, Romania and Switzerland (Chapter Two), Russia (Chapter Three), and the US and UK (Chapter Four).


Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies  (2014)
by Nick Bostrom

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains.

If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.

But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?

To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity’s cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological
cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence.

This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom’s work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.


Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds  (2014)
by Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick eds.

Introduction I: Machines of Loving Grace (Let’s Hope) 1
Damien Broderick

Introduction II: Bring on the Machines 11
Russell Blackford

1 How Conscience Apps and Caring Computers will Illuminate and Strengthen Human Morality 26
James J. Hughes

2 Threshold Leaps in Advanced Artificial Intelligence 35
Michael Anissimov

3 Who Knows Anything about Anything about AI? 46
Stuart Armstrong and Seán ÓhÉigeartaigh

4 Nine Ways to Bias Open-Source Artificial General Intelligence Toward Friendliness 61
Ben Goertzel and Joel Pitt

5 Feasible Mind Uploading 90
Randal A. Koene

6 Uploading: A Philosophical Analysis 102
David J. Chalmers

7 Mind Uploading: A Philosophical Counter-Analysis 119
Massimo Pigliucci

8 If You Upload, Will You Survive? 131
Joseph Corabi and Susan Schneider

9 On the Prudential Irrationality of Mind Uploading 146
Nicholas Agar

10 Uploading and Personal Identity 161
Mark Walker

11 Whole Brain Emulation: Invasive vs. Non-Invasive Methods 178
Naomi Wellington

12 The Future of Identity: Implications, Challenges, and Complications of Human/Machine Consciousness 193
Kathleen Ann Goonan

13 Practical Implications of Mind Uploading 201
Joe Strout

14 The Values and Directions of Uploaded Minds 212
Nicole Olson

15 The Enhanced Carnality of Post-Biological Life 222
Max More

16 Qualia Surfing 231
Richard Loosemore

17 Design of Life Expansion and the Human Mind 240
Natasha Vita-More

18 Against Immortality: Why Death is Better than the Alternative 248
Iain Thomson and James Bodington

19 The Pinocchio Syndrome and the Prosthetic Impulse 263
Victor Grech

20 Being Nice to Software Animals and Babies 279
Anders Sandberg

21 What Will It Be Like To Be an Emulation? 298
Robin Hanson

Afterword 310
Linda MacDonald Glenn


Between Ape and Artilect: Conversations with Pioneers of AGI and Other Transformative Technologies  (2014)
by Ben Goertzel ed.

Between Ape and Artilect is edited by IEET Fellow Ben Goertzel, and includes interviews with IEETers Aubrey de Grey, David Brin, Wendell Wallach, Giulio Prisco and Natasha Vita-More. During 2010-12, Dr. Goertzel conducted a series of textual interviews with researchers in various areas of cutting-edge science—artificial general intelligence, nanotechnology, life extension, neurotechnology, collective intelligence, mind uploading, body modification, neuro-spiritual transformation, and more. These interviews were published online in H+ Magazine, and are here gathered together in a single volume. The resulting series of dialogues treats a variety of social, futurological and scientific topics in a way that is accessible to the educated non-scientist, yet also deep and honest to the subtleties of the topics being discussed. Between Ape and Artilect is a must-read if you want the real views, opinions, ideas, muses and arguments of the people creating our future.

Table of Contents
Itamar Arel: AGI via Deep Learning
Pei Wang: What Do You Mean by “AI”?
Joscha Bach: Understanding the Mind
Hugo DeGaris: Will There be Cyborgs?
DeGaris Interviews Goertzel: Seeking the Sputnik of AGI
Linas Vepstas: AGI, Open Source and Our Economic Future
Joel Pitt: The Benefits of Open Source for AGI
Randal Koene: Substrate-Independent Minds
João Pedro de Magalhães: Ending Aging
Aubrey De Grey: Aging and AGI
David Brin: Sousveillance
J. Storrs Hall: Intelligent Nano Factories and Fogs
Mohamad Tarifi: AGI and the Emerging Peer-to-Peer Economy
Michael Anissimov: The Risks of Artificial Superintelligence
Muehlhauser & Goertzel: Rationality, Risk, and the Future of AGI
Paul Werbos: Will Humanity Survive?
Wendell Wallach: Machine Morality
Francis Heylighen: The Emerging Global Brain
Steve Omohundro: The Wisdom of the Global Brain and the Future of AGI
Alexandra Elbakyan: Beyond the Borg
Giulio Prisco: Technological Transcendence
Zhou Changle: Zen and the Art of Intelligent Robotics
Hugo DeGaris: Is God an Alien Mathematician?
Lincoln Cannon: The Most Transhumanist Religion?
Natasha Vita-More: Upgrading Humanity
Jeffery Martin & Mikey Siegel: Engineering Enlightenment


Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution  (2014)
by Ted Chu

Formerly the chief economist of General Motors, IEET Affiliate Scholar Ted Chu displays enormous erudition in this expansive study of the trajectory of human and cosmic evolution. Chu celebrates the prospect of new forms of cosmic life that, he shows, will be the ultimate expression of humanity’s evolutionary purpose.

“Today we stand at a new frontier. We have within our sight—if not yet within our reach—a radically new human freedom. It is the freedom from our inborn genetic condition—the liberation from the constraints of our biological form. . . . The human era as we have known it is coming to an end. The posthuman era is about to begin.”

Chu establishes an interdisciplinary and evolutionary stance and then interrogates the ongoing transhumanist project from a rich variety of perspectives. He goes on to articulate a goal for humanity in the face of technological breakthroughs that beckon us toward previously unimagined potentials for progress—that is, if we can find the courage to consciously manage our own evolution. A new understanding of transhumanism emerges as he plumbs the depths of the world’s wisdom traditions and surveys the most cutting-edge evolutionary theories and scientific advances. While admitting that the pursuit of human happiness is appropriate and noble, Chu demonstrates why our ultimate purpose—our “new divine covenant”—is to serve the forward march of cosmic evolution through the transcendence of our own biology, thus making way for our evolutionary successors in the posthuman future.


Personality Capture and Emulation  (2014)
by William Sims Bainbridge

- The most comprehensive approach to cyber-immortality, based on real research
- Rigorously examines how a remarkable vision can actually be achieved
- The convergence of information, cognitive, and social sciences makes this a truly cross-disciplinary research topic

Personality Capture and Emulation is the gateway to an amazing future that actually may be achieved, enabling the preservation and simulation of human personalities at progressively higher levels of fidelity. This challenge is no longer the province merely of uninhibited visionaries, but has become a solid field of research, drawing upon a wide range of information technologies in human-centered computing and cyber-human systems. Even at modest levels of accomplishment, research in this emerging area requires convergence of cognitive, social, and cultural sciences, in cooperation with information engineering and artificial intelligence, thus stimulating new multidisciplinary perspectives. Therefore this book will inspire many specific research and development projects that will produce their own valuable outcomes, even as the totality of the work moves us closer to a major revolution in human life. Will it ever really be possible to transfer a human personality at death to a technology that permits continued life? Or will people come to see themselves as elements in a larger socio-cultural system, for which a societal information system can provide collective immortality even after the demise of individuals? A large number and variety of pilot studies and programming projects are offered as prototypes for research that innovators in many fields may exploit for the achievement of their own goals. Together, they provide an empirical basis to strengthen the intellectual quality of several current debates at the frontiers of the human and information sciences.


Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies  (2013)
by Russell Blackford

Emerging biotechnologies that manipulate human genetic material have drawn a chorus of objections from politicians, pundits, and scholars. In Humanity Enhanced, Russell Blackford eschews the heated rhetoric that surrounds genetic enhancement technologies to examine them in the context of liberal thought, discussing the public policy issues they raise from legal and political perspectives. Some see the possibility of genetic choice as challenging the values of liberal democracy. Blackford argues that the challenge is not, as commonly supposed, the urgent need for a strict regulatory action. Rather, the challenge is that fear of these technologies has created an atmosphere in which liberal tolerance itself is threatened. Focusing on reproductive cloning, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis of embryos, and genetic engineering, Blackford takes on objections to enhancement technologies (raised by Jürgen Habermas and others) based on such concerns as individual autonomy and distributive justice. He argues that some enhancements would be genuinely beneficial, and that it would be justified in some circumstances even to exert pressure on parents to undertake genetic modification of embryos. Blackford argues against draconian suppression of human enhancement, although he acknowledges that some specific and limited regulation may be required in the future. More generally, he argues, liberal democracies would demonstrate liberal values by tolerating and accepting the emerging technologies of genetic choice.


Happy-People-Pills For All  (2013)
by Mark Walker

Happy-People-Pills for All explores current theories of happiness while demonstrating the need to develop advanced pharmacological agents for the enhancement of our capacity for happiness and wellbeing.
-  Presents the first detailed exploration of the enhancement of happiness
-  A controversial yet rigorous argument that demonstrates the moral imperative for the development and mass distribution of ‘happy-pills’, to promote the wellbeing of the individual and society
-  Brings together the philosophy, psychology and biology of happiness
-  Maps the development of the next generation of positive mood pharmacology
-  Offers a corrective to contemporary accounts of happiness


The Diamond Deep  (2013)
by Brenda Cooper

What if a woman as strong and as complex as Eva Perón began her life as a robot repair assistant threatened by a powerful peacekeeping force that wants to take all she has from her? The discovery ship, Creative Fire, is on its way home from a multi-generational journey. But home is nothing like the crew expected. They have been gone for generations, and the system they return to is home to technologies and riches beyond their wildest dreams. But they are immediately oppressed and relegated to the lowest status imaginable, barely able to interact with the technologies and people of the star station where they dock, the Diamond Deep. Ruby Martin and her partner, Joel North, must find a way to learn what they need to know and to become more than they have ever been if they are to find a way to save their people.

The Diamond Deep is about how love and strength and creativity can shine in the face of great power, and about the way that real leaders protect their people.  It’s also about the speed of change.  The core “what if’ for this second story in the duology is “What if you were effectively stranded in a place with little change, while your home culture surfs waves of new technology and expands to fill a solar system?”


Memories With Maya  (2013)
by Clyde DeSouza

A story of one man’s determination to HACK his destiny, even if it meant challenging Divine Providence…
The story looks at how augmentation technology will affect emotions, intimate human relationships, and our very evolution as a species.


Longevitize!: Essays on the Science, Philosophy & Politics of Longevity  (2013)
by ed. Franco Cortese

Containing more than 160 essays from over 40 contributors, this edited volume of essays on the science, philosophy and politics of longevity considers the project of ending aging and abolishing involuntary death-by-disease from a variety of viewpoints: scientific, technological, philosophical, pragmatic, artistic. In it you will find not only information on the ways in which science and medicine are bringing about the potential to reverse aging and defeat death within many of our own lifetimes, as well as the ways that you can increase your own longevity today in order to be there for tomorrow’s promise, but also a glimpse at the art, philosophy and politics of longevity as well – areas that will become increasingly important as we realize that advocacy, lobbying and activism can play as large a part in the hastening of progress in indefinite lifespans as science and technology.  Edited by IEET contributor Franco Cortese, contributing authors include IEET Trustee Martine Rothblatt, IEET Board member Giulio Prisco, IEET Affiliate Scholars Hank Pellissier and Ilia Stambler, Ph.D., and IEET contributors Maria Konovalenko, Clyde DeSouza, B.J. Murphy, Rachel Armstrong, Joern Pallensen, Dick Pelletier, R.U. Sirius, and Peter Wicks, Ph.D.


Crux  (2013)
by Ramez Naam

The exciting sequel to Nexus. Six months have passed since the release of Nexus 5.  The world is a different, more dangerous place. In the United States, the terrorists – or freedom fighters – of the Post-Human Liberation Front use Nexus to turn men and women into human time bombs aimed at the President and his allies. In Washington DC, a government scientist, secretly addicted to Nexus, uncovers more than he wants to know about the forces behind the assassinations, and finds himself in a maze with no way out. In Thailand, Samantha Cataranes has found peace and contentment with a group of children born with Nexus in their brains. But when forces threaten to tear her new family apart, Sam will stop at absolutely nothing to protect the ones she holds dear. In Vietnam, Kade and Feng are on the run from bounty hunters seeking the price on Kade’s head, from the CIA, and from forces that want to use the back door Kade has built into Nexus 5.  Kade knows he must stop the terrorists misusing Nexus before they ignite a global war between human and posthuman. But to do so, he’ll need to stay alive and ahead of his pursuers.  And in Shanghai, a posthuman child named Ling Shu will go to dangerous and explosive lengths to free her uploaded mother from the grip of Chinese authorities.  The first blows in the war between human and posthuman have been struck.  The world will never be the same.


Evolution and the Future  (2013)
by Stefan Sorgner and Branka-Rista Jovanovic (eds.)

Leading scholars from various disciplines analyze the relevance of evolutionary theory for future developments, whereby the fields of anthropology, ethics, and theology are considered in particular detail. The main parts of the collection are dedicated to the following three questions: What are the basic principles of evolutionary processes? Is it morally legitimate to influence evolution by means of enhancement technologies? What is the relationship between evolutionary theory and belief in God?

Contents include:
Sarah Chan: Enhancement and Evolution
Nikolaus Knoepffler: Ethical Assessment of Human Genetic Enhancement
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner: Evolution, Education, and Genetic Enhancement
Mikhail Epstein: Technology as a New Theology. From «New Atheism» to Technotheism


eGods: Faith versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming  (2013)
by William Sims Bainbridge

What is the relationship between religion and multi-player online roleplaying games? Are such games simply a secular distraction from traditional religious practices, or do they in fact offer a different route to the sacred?  In eGods, a leading scholar in the study of virtual gameworlds takes an in-depth look at the fantasy religions of 41 games and arrives at some surprising conclusions. William Sims Bainbridge investigates all aspects of the gameworlds’ religious dimensions: the focus on sacred spaces; the prevalence of magic; the fostering of a tribal morality by both religion and rules programmed into the game; the rise of cults and belief systems within the gameworlds (and how this relates to cults in the real world); the predominance of polytheism; and, of course, how gameworld religions depict death. As avatars are multiple and immortal, death is merely a minor setback in most games. Nevertheless, much of the action in some gameworlds centers on the issue of mortality and the problematic nature of resurrection. Examining EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and many others, Bainbridge contends that gameworlds offer a new perspective on the human quest, one that combines the arts, simulates many aspects of real life, and provides meaningful narratives about achieving goals by overcoming obstacles. Indeed, Bainbridge suggests that such games take us back to those ancient nights around the fire, when shadows flickered and it was easy to imagine the monsters conjured by the storyteller lurking in the forest. Arguing that gameworlds reintroduce a curvilinear model of early religion, where today as in ancient times faith is inseparable from fantasy, eGods shows how the newest secular technology returns us to the very origins of religion so that we might “arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”


The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet  (2013)
by Ramez Naam

The most valuable resource on earth is not oil, gold, water or land. Instead, our capacity for expanding human knowledge is our greatest resource, and the key to overcoming the very real resource scarcity and enormous environmental challenges we face. Throughout human history we have learned to overcome scarcity and adversity through the application of innovation — the only resource that is expanded, not depleted, the more we use it.

The century ahead is a race between our damaging overconsumption and our growing understanding of ways to capture and utilize abundant natural resources with less impact on the planet. The Infinite Resource is a clear-eyed, visionary, and hopeful argument for progress.

If you want to understand the challenges of climate change, finite fossil fuels, fresh water depletion, feeding the planet, and more – and if you want to understand how to overcome those challenges through innovation – read this book.

 


The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays  (2013)
by eds. Max More and Natasha Vita-More

Table of Contents

Part I Roots and Core Themes

1 The Philosophy of Transhumanism, Max More
2 Aesthetics: Bringing the Arts & Design into the Discussion of Transhumanism, Natasha Vita-More*
3 Why I Want to be a Posthuman When I Grow Up, Nick Bostrom*
4 Transhumanist Declaration (2012), Various
5 Morphological Freedom – Why We Not Just Want It, but Need It, Anders Sandberg

Part II Human Enhancement: The Somatic Sphere

6 Welcome to the Future of Medicine, Robert A. Freitas Jr.
7 Life Expansion Media, Natasha Vita-More*
8 The Hybronaut Affair: A Ménage of Art, Technology, and Science, Laura Beloff
9 Transavatars, William Sims Bainbridge*
10 Alternative Biologies, Rachel Armstrong

Part III Human Enhancement: The Cognitive Sphere

11 Re-Inventing Ourselves: The Plasticity of Embodiment, Sensing, and Mind, Andy Clark
12 Artificial General Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, Ben Goertzel*
13 Intelligent Information Filters and Enhanced Reality, Alexander “Sasha” Chislenko
14 Uploading to Substrate-Independent Minds, Randal A. Koene
15 Uploading, Ralph C. Merkle

Part IV Core Technologies

16 Why Freud Was the First Good AI Theorist, Marvin Minsky
17 Pigs in Cyberspace, Hans Moravec
18 Nanocomputers, J. Storrs Hall
19 Immortalist Fictions and Strategies, Michael R. Rose
20 Dialogue between Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler

Part V Engines of Life: Identity and Beyond Death

21 The Curate’s Egg of Anti-Anti-Aging Bioethics, Aubrey de Grey*
22 Medical Time Travel, Brian Wowk
23 Transhumanism and Personal Identity, James Hughes*
24 Transcendent Engineering, Giulio Prisco*

Part VI Enhanced Decision-Making

25 Idea Futures: Encouraging an Honest Consensus, Robin Hanson
26 The Proactionary Principle: Optimizing Technological Outcomes, Max More
27 The Open Society and Its Media, Mark S. Miller, with E. Dean Tribble, Ravi Pandya, and Marc Stiegler

Part VII Biopolitics and Policy

28 Performance Enhancement and Legal Theory: An Interview with Professor Michael H. Shapiro
29 Justifying Human Enhancement: The Accumulation of Biocultural Capital, Andy Miah*
30 The Battle for the Future, Gregory Stock
31 Mind is Deeper Than Matter: Transgenderism, Transhumanism, and the Freedom of Form, Martine Rothblatt*
32 For Enhancing People, Ronald Bailey
33 Is Enhancement Worthy of Being a Right?, Patrick D. Hopkins*
34 Freedom by Design: Transhumanist Values and Cognitive Liberty, Wrye Sententia*

Part VIII Future Trajectories: Singularity

35 Technological Singularity, Vernor Vinge
36 An Overview of Models of Technological Singularity, Anders Sandberg
37 A Critical Discussion of Vinge’s Singularity Concept, David Brin*, Damien Broderick, Nick Bostrom, Alexander “Sasha” Chislenko, Robin Hanson, Max More, Michael Nielsen, and Anders Sandberg

Part IX The World’s Most Dangerous Idea

38 The Great Transition: Ideas and Anxieties, Russell Blackford*
39 Trans and Post, Damien Broderick
40 Back to Nature II: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century, Roy Ascott
41 A Letter to Mother Nature, Max More
42 Progress and Relinquishment, Ray Kurzweil

*IEET Fellow, Scholar or Staff


Artificial Slaves: Androids and Intelligent Networks in Early Modern Literature and Culture  (2013)
by Kevin LaGrandeur

This book explores the creation and use of artificially made humanoid servants and servant networks by fictional and non-fictional scientists of the early modern period. Beginning with an investigation of the roots of artificial servants, humanoids, and automata from earlier times, LaGrandeur traces how these literary representations coincide with a surging interest in automata and experimentation, and how they blend with the magical science that preceded the empirical era. In the instances that this book considers, the idea of the artificial factotum is connected with an emotional paradox: the joy of self-enhancement is counterpoised with the anxiety of self-displacement that comes with distribution of agency.In this way, the older accounts of creating artificial slaves are accounts of modernity in the making—a modernity characterized by the project of extending the self and its powers, in which the vision of the extended self is fundamentally inseparable from the vision of an attenuated self. This book discusses the idea that fictional, artificial servants embody at once the ambitions of the scientific wizards who make them and society’s perception of the dangers of those ambitions, and represent the cultural fears triggered by independent, experimental thinkers—the type of thinkers from whom our modern cyberneticists descend.


Aenigma Simbolo Mistero e Misticismo (Symbol Mystery and Mysticism)  (2013)
by Giuseppe Vatinno

Science and technology appears to eliminate mystery, but, on closer inspection, they do not. The more science succeeds in eliminating mystery, in a sense, the more its creates new mysteries. Humans need a mysterious and symbolic dimension that gives meaning to their existence.


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