IEET > J. Hughes
Emergence - IEET News for May 15, 2008
May 15, 2008  

CONTENTS

1. A Note From Dr. J.
2. IEET News
3. Articles
4. Multimedia
5. TechEthx News
  - IEET-News List Posts
  - Trans-Spirit List Posts
6. Events
  - with IEET Speakers
  - all events

http://ieet.org

EMERGENCE

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

News for May 15, 2008

Editor: Dr. James J. Hughes

________________________________

A NOTE FROM DR. J.

Scattered thoughts:

IEET friends Pedro and Edwin are going to give the IEET site a new design in the next couple of days which I’m really looking forward to.

At some point in the next couple of weeks I’ll be on ESPN talking about sports enhancement. Next, I hope to be a regular on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Fox, and the Food channel.

I’m still glowing from the IED that Pinker launched on the theo-bio-cons and their vacuous defense of “human dignity” [http://www.tnr.com/story.html?id=d8731cf4-e87b-4d88-b7e7-f5059cd0bfbd]. Michael Anissimov’s piece on Pinker’s piece is here [http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/anissimov20080513/]. Bioethics under Obama should be very interesting given the level of polarization the religious right and Kass have inspired.

Lots of folks around the IEET seem to be debating the import of the Fermi paradox recently, starting with Dr. Bostrom [http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/2420/], as well as our Jamais [http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/cascio20080505/] and George [http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2008/05/cascio-chimes-in-on-fermi.html]. Charlie Stross has a nice discussion of the debate here [http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2008/05/why_the_fermi_paradox_isnt_mor.html].

Its pretty hard to predict what things will strike the fancy of the blogosphere, and drive eyeball traffic to the IEET. This month one of the top attention-magnets was George Dvorsky’s essay “Sorry ladies, the male birth control pill is not about you”  [http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/dvorsky20080501/] which quoted popular fathers’ rights activist Glenn Sacks. Mr. Sacks noted George’s article approvingly on his site and a lot of people clicked through to read it [http://www.glennsacks.com/enewsletters/enews_5_6_08.htm].

I got my new vegetable garden put in yesterday (25’ by 50’), and hopefully my son and I will plant our fifteen crops tomorrow. My wife is alternately admiring of my new farmer Brown persona, and furious that I’ve had it in me to help in her flower gardens for ten years and just didn’t want to. Now my family and I will survive for an additional two weeks in the event of civilizational collapse, so long as I can scare the refugees off with our paintballs.

Going down to Washington DC on Sunday to help review grant proposals for the NSF. Lots of mind-numbing reading to do before I get there.

Talking with Andy Miah and folks in Glasgow, Scotland about holding an IEET co-sponsored conference on the “Biopolitics of Popular Culture” there next June (2009).

Just finished Iain Banks’ Matter, and just started Peter Hamilton’s The Dreaming Void.

Hope your summer has started, except those of you in the Southern hemisphere where you are too busy trying not to fall off the planet.

J.

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IEET NEWS

Welcome to Intern Akansha Bhargava (May 9, 2008) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/bhargava208/
Akansha is an aspiring scientist, philosopher and science journalist who joins us from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  She is currently completing her senior thesis on Alexander’s disease at the Waisman Center.

Poll: Is Internet Addiction for Real? (May 5, 2008) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/poll20080504/
According to a little more than half of you internet addiction is for real, even if a little overblown.

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ARTICLES

Kristi Scott: Bionic Athletes stepping out of the debate and in to action (May 15, 2008) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/scott20080515/
I’ve been fascinated with the growth in public awareness recently regarding bionic athletes. It’s very interesting to watch something go from fringe and then mainstream. Almost a year ago, an article by Jamais Casico made me take a real look at what it is to be bionic when he talked about his cochlear implant The Accidental Cyborg. Since then, I’ve had a heightened awareness and intrigue for the topic.

George Dvorsky: The Singularity is not what you think (May 14, 2008) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/dvorsky20080513/
People often ask me for my definition of the technological Singularity.  More specifically, they want me to offer some predictions as to what it will actually look like and what it might mean to them and the human species.

Michael Anissimov: Dr. Pinker Lays the Smackdown on Leon Kass (May 14, 2008) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/anissimov20080513/
Leon Kass, the scientific community frowns on your deathist shenanigans and paternalistic tomfoolery.  We will continue to denounce your anti-freedom, control-freak bioethical views until the day your theocon allies are booted out of the White House, which will occur on January 20, 2009.  Enjoy your eight months.

Mike LaTorra: Is life a gift?
(May 14, 2008)
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/latorra20080514/
Harvard’s Michael Sandel argues in his book The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering that life is a gift and that we should accept the unbidden nature of this gift, working toward acceptance and solidarity with others rather than seeking unbridled mastery over human biology.  But is life properly viewed as a gift?

Jamais Cascio: Pondering Fermi
(May 6, 2008)
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/cascio20080505/
The Fermi Paradox—if there’s other intelligent life in the galaxy, given how long the galaxy’s been here, how come we haven’t seen any indication of it?—is an important puzzle for those of us who like to think ahead. Setting aside the mystical (we’re all that was created by a higher being) and fundamentally unprovable (we’re all living in a simulation), we’re left with two unpalatable options: we’re the first intelligent species to arise; or no civilization ever makes it long enough.

Doug Rushkoff: Riding Out the Credit Crisis (May 4, 2008) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/rushkoff20080504/
There’s two kinds of people asking me about the economy lately: people with money wanting to know how to keep it “safe,” and people without money, wanting to know how to keep safe, themselves. Maybe it’s the difference between those two concerns that best explains the underlying nature of today’s fiscal crisis.

Jamais Cascio: Remaking the Athlete, Remaking the Culture (May 2, 2008) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/cascio20080504/
Discussions of the implications of the augmentation of our biological bodies with prosthetic technologies can be found quite readily in the esoteric discourses of self-described transhumanists, social theorists and bioethicists.

George Dvorsky: Sorry ladies, the male birth control pill is not about you (May 1, 2008) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/dvorsky20080501/
There’s been considerable media attention surrounding a recent breakthrough in the development of a male birth-control pill (MBCP).

Andy Miah: Engineering Greater Resilience or Radical Transhuman Enhancement?
(May 1, 2008)
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/miah20080501/
Abstract: This article investigates the conceptual distinctions between therapy and various forms of human enhancement. It begins by proposing a typology of human enhancements in order to make more rigorous and grounded discussions about the distinction between therapy and enhancement. Three types of human enhancement are proposed: 1) engineering traits of accepted value, 2) engineering traits of contested value and 3) radical transhuman enhancements. Subsequently, the paper explores the distinctions between the ethical justifications that are advanced for therapeutic interventions, comparing them with human enhancements, concluding that the salient characteristic of health-related suffering enables enhancement to gain legitimacy from the perspective of traditional medical ethics. Finally, the paper considers a number of practical obstructions to the realization of radical transhuman enhancements. Specifically, it discusses procedural obstacles to approving experimental medical research for human enhancements, the likely commercialization of human enhancements that would ensue from their development, and the need to develop experimental medical interventions via animal models.

Mike Treder: Nano Motors
(May 1, 2008)
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/treder20080501/
Products put together by a nanofactory (see here for some fun examples) can be expected to be far more powerful and sophisticated than today’s best-built products.

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MULTIMEDIA

G4TV: Cobra Commander in ‘08: The Transhuman Choice (05/09) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/cobra08/

Changesurfer Radio: 21st Century Kids (05/04) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/csr20080503/

________________________________

ETHICS & TECH IN THE NEWS

FROM IEET-NEWS LIST

Identifying the best embryos to implant
http://www.mailbucket.org/ieet-news-6389262.html

PopMech: 10 High-Tech Health Breakthroughs http://www.mailbucket.org/ieet-news-6372187.html

Cowan: A defense of prematal screening
http://www.mailbucket.org/ieet-news-6359447.html

Charles Perrow: Reducing disaster vulnerability http://www.mailbucket.org/ieet-news-6357936.html

FW: Apollo Update: Climate change legislation, Newark Summit http://www.mailbucket.org/ieet-news-6326720.html

Pinker on Theocon Bioethics and the stupidity of “human dignity”
http://www.mailbucket.org/ieet-news-6320478.html

Canada launches asteroid tracking satellite http://www.mailbucket.org/ieet-news-6304750.html

Where Is My Uterine Replicator?
http://www.mailbucket.org/ieet-news-6304741.html

Will democracy make you happy?
http://www.mailbucket.org/ieet-news-6293592.html


FROM TRANS-SPIRIT LIST

Are some sane people super-happy without ever getting dperessed?
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Trans-Spirit/message/1312

Differences in Executive Function 99% Genetic, Inherited
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Trans-Spirit/message/1311

World Database of Happiness
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Trans-Spirit/message/1310

NYT: Brooks: The Neural Buddhists
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Trans-Spirit/message/1309

Neuromagick
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Trans-Spirit/message/1307


________________________________

IEET SPEAKER EVENTS

Treder, Cascio @ SciVestor Disruptive Technologies Conference New York City
2008 May 22-22
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/sdtc08/

Hughes, Bainbridge @ The Future of Religions/Religions of the Future Second Life
2008 Jun 4-5
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/slrel08/

Hughes @ World Humanist Congress
Washington, DC
2008 Jun 6-8
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/hughes20080606/

Aubrey @ Bioengineering Approaches to Aging UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA
2008 Jun 27-29
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/uabba08/

Hughes, Bostrom, Treder @ Global Catastrophic Risks Conference Oxford University, Oxford, UK
2008 Jul 17-20
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/gcr20080717/

Treder @ World Future Society
Washington, DC
2008 Jul 26-28
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/trederwfs2008/

Treder @ Basque Country Program on Globalization San Sebastian, Spain
2008 Sep 3-5
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/treder20080903/

IEET SEMINAR: Preventing Extinction
Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA
2008 Nov 14-14
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/ieet20081114/

ALL EVENTS

Treder, Cascio @ SciVestor Disruptive Technologies Conference New York City
2008 May 22-22
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/sdtc08/

Reproductive Ethics
Cape Town, South Africa
2008 May 26-28
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/repro08sa/

Hughes, Bainbridge @ The Future of Religions/Religions of the Future Second Life
2008 Jun 4-5
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/slrel08/

Hughes @ World Humanist Congress
Washington, DC
2008 Jun 6-8
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/hughes20080606/

Neural Interfaces Conference
Cleveland
2008 Jun 15-18
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/neural_interfaces_conference/

Ethics, Technology and Identity
Delft, Netherlands
2008 Jun 18-20
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/eti2008/

Online Deliberation and Advanced Computing Berkeley, CA USA
2008 Jun 26-29
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/ocadel/

Aubrey @ Bioengineering Approaches to Aging UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA
2008 Jun 27-29
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/uabba08/

Visions of the Human in Cyberculture, Cyberspace and Science Fiction Oxford UK
2008 Jul 1-3
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/humancyb08/

Hughes, Bostrom, Treder @ Global Catastrophic Risks Conference Oxford University, Oxford, UK
2008 Jul 17-20
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/gcr20080717/

EuroScience Open Forum
Barcelona, Spain
2008 Jul 18-22
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/esof2008/

Treder @ World Future Society
Washington, DC
2008 Jul 26-28
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/trederwfs2008/

International Philosophical Congress
Seoul, South Korea
2008 Jul 30-5
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/ipcxii/

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Montreal, Canada
2008 Aug 2-7
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/augaltcom2008/

Governing Emerging Technologies
Big Sky, MT
2008 Aug 17-22
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/20080817gordon/

Treder @ Basque Country Program on Globalization San Sebastian, Spain
2008 Sep 3-5
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/treder20080903/

9th World Congress of Bioethics
Rijeka and Opatija, Croatia
2008 Sep 3-8
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/9wcbioethics/

Science in the 21st Century
Waterloo, Ontario Canada
2008 Sep 8-12
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/sci21c08/

International Congress of AI & Nano
Bogotá, Colombia
2008 Sep 25-26
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/incainano08/

Psychiatry and Freedom
Dallas, Texas USA
2008 Oct 6-8
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/psychfree08/

World Academy of Art And Science
Hyderbad, India
2008 Oct 16-20
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/waas2008/

Singularity Summit 2008
San Jose, CA
2008 Oct 17-18
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/singsum2008/

Bioethics Futurism - Am Soc for Bioethics and Humanities Cleveland, OH, USA
2008 Oct 23-26
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/asbh2008/

H+ & Religion session at American Academy of Religion
Chicago, IL USA
2008 Nov 1-3
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/aarh08/

Philosophy and Engineering
London, England.
2008 Nov 10-12
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/philosophy_and_engineering/

Neuroethics Society meeting
Washington, DC
2008 Nov 13-14
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/ns2008/

IEET SEMINAR: Preventing Extinction
Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA
2008 Nov 14-14
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/ieet20081114/

Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Portland, Oregon
2009 Apr 1-5
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/anthcon09/

First World Congress on Positive Psychology Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
2009 Jun 18-21
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pospsycon2009/


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Contact:
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies http://ieet.org/ Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes Williams 229B, Trinity College 300 Summit St.
Hartford CT 06106 USA
Email: director @ ieet.org
Phone: 860-428-1837

________________________________

Emergence encourages submissions for publication. Please send submissions to: director@ieet.org. Submissions will be reviewed by the IEET staff, and final determinations regarding publication are at the sole discretion of the IEET.

 




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