Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

ieet news

Why we should create artificial offspring: meaning and the collective afterlife
(Jun 15, 2017)

The iCub Robot - Image courtesy of Jiuguang Wang

That’s the title of a new article I have coming out. It argues that the creation of artificial offspring could add meaning to our lives and that it might consequently be worth committing to the project of doing so. It’s going to be published in the journal Science and Engineering Ethics. The official version will be out in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can read the abstract below and download a pre-publication version at the links provided.

Stefan L Sorgner Visionary of the Month
(Jun 15, 2017)

The Air Berlin Magazine which has a print run of 165000 copies per issue presents three visionaries per issue. This months visionaries section is dedicated to the topic of computer-machine-interaction, and IEET Fellow Prof. Dr. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner was portrayed as a visionary in this month’s edition of the journal which is freely available on board of all Air Berlin planes as well as via the following link. The text is written both in German as well as in English:

IEET Fellow Prof. Dr. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner Becomes Visiting Professor (Jun 1, 2017)

Informatica Journal - Call for Special Issue on Superintelligence (Apr 28, 2017)


ieet articles

David Brin On Voter Fraud, Immigration, and Economic Disparity
by David Brin
Jun 22, 2017 • (2) CommentsPermalink

== The New “Voter Fraud” Commission ==

As usual, Democrats are right to complain… and they are doing it all wrong.

President Trump declared a commission aimed at justifying his unfounded voter fraud claims.  (“Millions cast illegal ballots, giving Hillary Clinton her huge popular vote margin.”) But instead of appointing a blue-ribbon, bipartisan committee of nationally respected sages, the commission will be spearheaded by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, often tied to white nationalists.

Marc Roux Sauver le symbole
by Marc Roux
Jun 20, 2017 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Nous pouvons nous accorder avec certains critiques du transhumanisme pour dire que la convergence NBIC met en question notre rapport au langage et aux symboles. Or, il est probable qu’ils contribuent à ce qui fait émerger l’humain. Une pensée transhumaniste peut-elle relever ce défi ? Le symbolisme s’évanouira-t-il dans nos machines computationnelles ?

David Brin Don’t Impeach! Plus appraising GOP proposed legislation—and why is he really in Saudi Arabia?
by David Brin
Jun 18, 2017 • (2) CommentsPermalink

I had prepped a missive appraising GOP legislative proposals… but it seems we must always lead with the latest, daily crises. With some Republicans already murmuring about impeachment and getting all moony-eyed toward the notion of “President Pence,” let me repeat what I’ve said for a year now.

Didier Coeurnelle 1er mai technoprogressiste pour une vie en bonne santé beaucoup plus longue
by Didier Coeurnelle
Jun 13, 2017 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Depuis le 1er mai 2016, l’espérance de vie en bonne santé a augmenté de près d’un trimestre dans le monde. La durée moyenne de la vie des hommes et des femmes en Belgique est maintenant de plus de 80 ans. Elle est d’environ 70 ans dans le monde. Des millions de citoyens qui seraient… [lire la suite]

Ilia Stambler Frequently Asked Questions on the Ethics of Lifespan and Healthspan Extension
by Ilia Stambler
Jun 8, 2017 • (2) CommentsPermalink

The mission of healthy life extension, or healthy longevity promotion, raises a broad variety of questions and tasks, relating to science and technology, individual and communal ethics, and public policy, especially health and science policy. Despite the wide variety, the related questions may be classified into three groups. The first group of questions concerns the feasibility of the accomplishment of life extension. Is it theoretically and technologically possible? What are our grounds for optimism? What are the means to ensure that the life extension will be healthy life extension? The second group concerns the desirability of the accomplishment of life extension for the individual and the society, provided it will become some day possible through scientific intervention.

Alexandre Maurer Non, l’Intelligence Artificielle n’est pas « purement logique »
by Alexandre Maurer
Jun 6, 2017 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Dans les conférences et débats autour sur l’Intelligence Artificielle (IA), il y a une affirmation qui revient souvent :

« L’intelligence artificielle est fondamentalement différente de l’intelligence humaine, car elle est purement logico-mathématique, alors que l’intelligence humaine est faite d’intuition, d’imagination, etc. »

William Sims Bainbridge A Process of Transformation
by William Sims Bainbridge
Jun 4, 2017 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Whether by coincidence or some mysterious cosmic force, May 2017 saw the publication of two books I wrote about the tension and possible partnership between religion and science.  The first was a science fiction novel titled Revival, and the second, a science research monograph titled Dynamic Secularization.  Both were written from the perspective of the radical revolution caused by information technology and computer science, and both postulated that we stand at a turning point in history.  Both also conceptualized human culture as a chaotic yet meaningful ecology of competing hopes, dreams, and actions.  Here I shall share the logic of Revival, saving the passion of Dynamic Secularization for a later time.

Johan Nygren Laws, when “hosted” in human brains, as memetic infections
by Johan Nygren
Jun 2, 2017 • (0) CommentsPermalink

“Before Pasteur popularized the notion that bacteria cause disease, healthcare was effectively a disease vector, and we will come to look at centralized legal systems as vectors for what we have called diseases of the mind.“

David Brin What’s new in science & tech?
by David Brin
May 31, 2017 • (1) CommentsPermalink

Okay, let’s turn to the side of civilization that is doing best. Doing spectacularly well in fact, despite a relentless campaign to undermine science. Just today—as I type this, in fact—I am in a conference call as a member of the advisory council of The Planetary Society, hearing reports about how TPS - under Bill Nye’s charismatic leadership - has seen a turnaround, with increasing membership and a social media following that has crested above a million! Why? Because people are noticing how many wondrous accomplishments are pouring forth from the universe.

Terence Ericson Les révolutions biotech : 1/ CRISPR-Cas9 (partie 2/2)
by Terence Ericson
May 29, 2017 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Pour retrouver le précédent article de la série sur la technique CRISPR-Cas9, cliquez ici.

David Brin Will we continue an Enlightenment Civilization… or return to Feudalism?
by David Brin
May 27, 2017 • (1) CommentsPermalink

Seventy years of Pax Americana and a rising enlightenment civilization, based on science and fact and at least somewhat-mature argument, were never easy to maintain. Another seventy and we’d likely stabilize into something truly amazing and grownup—perhaps able to solve the Fermi Paradox, by heading out into the galaxy.

Johan Nygren A redefinition of mental illness as “law-integration disorder”, and the case for universal basic income
by Johan Nygren
May 25, 2017 • (2) CommentsPermalink

The inability for a brain to integrate with a legal system has falsely been defined as mental disorder, when the symptoms that are observed are in fact caused by an inability to integrate the executive (ego) function with a legal system that exerts a physical force onto the subject.

Marcelo Rinesi Don’t worry about opaque algorithms; you already don’t know what anything is doing, or why
by Marcelo Rinesi
May 24, 2017 • (2) CommentsPermalink

Machine learning algorithms are opaque, difficult to audit, unconstrained by ethics , and there’s always the possibility they’ll do the unthinkable when facing the unexpected. But that’s true of most our society’s code base, and, in a way, they are the most secure part of it, because we haven’t talked ourselves yet into a false sense of security about them.

Steven Parton Let the Masses Live In VR–A Socioeconomic Exploration
by Steven Parton
May 24, 2017 • (1) CommentsPermalink

As technology continues its exponential gains and catapults us into the realms of augmented and virtual reality, a chasm is forming between those who are looking to live unplugged as they cultivate a life of digital detoxing and those who are anxiously awaiting the moment they can live a majority of their life exploring alternate realities from the comfort of their own home.

Terence Ericson Les révolutions biotech : 1/ CRISPR-Cas9 (partie 1/2)
by Terence Ericson
May 23, 2017 • (0) CommentsPermalink

“Les révolutions biotech” est une suite d’articles qui souhaitent redécouvrir les grandes découvertes du domaine des biotechnologies et étudier leurs avancées à l’heure actuelle.

John Danaher Building a Postwork Utopia
by John Danaher
May 18, 2017 • (0) CommentsPermalink

I have a new paper. It appears as a chapter in the book Surviving the Machine Age, which is edited by Kevin LaGrandeur and James Hughes. The book is, I believe, unique in how it brings together several different perspectives on what should and will happen to society in an era of rampant technological unemployment. It’s a little bit pricy, but I would recommend it for purchase by university libraries and the like.

John G. Messerly Comey’s Firing: Do We Live in a Kleptocracy?
by John G. Messerly
May 17, 2017 • (2) CommentsPermalink

Every time I sit down to write about something I want to write about—like how to find meaning in a secular age, or ponder the imminent birth of my new granddaughter—I find my reverie interrupted by the political turmoil surrounding me.

Marcelo Rinesi The insidious not-so-badness of technological underemployment, and why more education and better technology won’t help
by Marcelo Rinesi
May 16, 2017 • (1) CommentsPermalink

Mass technological unemployment is seen by some as a looming concern, but there are signs we’re already living in an era of mass technological underemployment. It’s not just an intermediate phase: its politics are toxic, it increases inequality, and it’s very difficult to get out of.


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

ieet books

Philosophy’s Future: The Problem of Philosophical Progress
by Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick eds.

Conversations with the Future: 21 Visions for the 21st Century
by Nikola Danaylov

Surviving the Machine Age: Intelligent Technology and the Transformation of Human Work
by Kevin LaGrandeur and James Hughes eds.

Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World
by David Brin

ieet events

Sorgner in Bonn
June 27 , 2017
Bonn, Germany

The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.

ieet multimedia

Wellman and Rajan on the Ethics of Automated Trading
Guest image
John Danaher

Mark Coeckelbergh on Robots and the Tragedy of Automation
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John Danaher

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Douglas Rushkoff

Future Express | The Replication Crisis and Challenges to Progress
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Review the Future

You Matter! Your Choices Make A Difference
(Apr 13, 2017)

Politics and Futurism
(Apr 12, 2017)

What is the PostHuman?
(Apr 10, 2017)


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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