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What Do Technoprogressives Believe in 2017?
J. Hughes   Feb 18, 2017   Ethical Technology  

In December and January we surveyed the IEET audience about a wide range of topics, and 455 of you responded. This was a follow up to a 2013 survey we conducted (for instance “Who are the Technoprogressives?“Who are the IEET’s audience?”). As we continue to focus the IEET on building the emerging technoprogressive ideological current, we are again looking at what the self-described technoprogressives believe.

In 2013 46% of you identified as technoprogressives. In this survey that increased to 54%.

The technoprogressives tended to be younger and were more likely to be LGBT.

Age of Technoprogressives and Other Ideological Groups in 2017 Survey

The most popular additional ideological identities of the technoprogressives were anti-racist (35%), progressive (33%), upwinger/advocate of a future politics (32%) and democratic socialist (25%).

All the ideological labels can in turn be broadly grouped. More than half of the technoprogressives identified with one or more of the New Left terms (anti-racist, Green, feminist, etc.) and almost half identified with “democratic socialist” or one of the other Radical Left labels (socialist internationalist, libertarian socialist, etc.).

Comparing these broad groups to 2013, the technoprogressives today are a little more Radical Left and “Upwinger”, and a lot less “US Democrat” or “liberal.”

Looking at the agree-disagree statements we were also able to identify the statements that the technoprogressives were most likely to agree with. The top fourteen statements form a self-diagnostic for whether people are technoprogressive or not. Ninety percent of the self-described technoprogressives agreed with ten or more of the fourteen statements, and seventy percent agreed with twelve or more of the statements:

Technoprogressive Self-Diagnostic

Social Justice and Democracy
Everyone should be provided a basic level of medical insurance by the government.
Wealth concentration at the top is a great social concern.
The rise of fascism and right-wing populism are a threat to the future of liberal democracy.

Human Enhancement
People have a right to use technology to extend their mental and physical (including reproductive) capacities and to improve their control over their lives.
It would be a good thing if people could become many times more intelligent than they currently are.
It would be a good thing if people could live in good health for hundreds of years or longer.

We have a better chance of turning technology to our advantage if we embrace it than if we try to ban or prohibit it.
Inheritable genetic engineering of humans will not always be dangerous and shouldn’t be banned.

Tech Unemployment
There will be a global decline in the proportion of the populations in paid employment in the coming decades as a result of automation and other technological innovations.

Personhood Ethics
My ethical code advocates the well-being of all sentient beings, whether in artificial intellects, humans, posthumans, or nonhuman animals.

Research on the efficacy and safety of modifying the climate (geoengineering) should be done in case we need to mitigate rapid climate change.
Scientists should develop genetically modified crops that produce more food with less water, fertilizer and pesticides.

Individual Rights
Women should have the right to terminate their pregnancies.
People should be allowed to experiment with recreational drugs so long as they don’t harm others.

James Hughes Ph.D., the Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, is a bioethicist and sociologist who serves as the Associate Provost for Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning for the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is author of Citizen Cyborg and is working on a second book tentatively titled Cyborg Buddha. From 1999-2011 he produced the syndicated weekly radio program, Changesurfer Radio. (Subscribe to the J. Hughes RSS feed)

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