Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies


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Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Overview of technopolitics


whats new at ieet

Digitalisierung der Gefühle?

The Obligatory Mind Uploading Blockchain Crossover

Religion, transhumanisme et quête de transcendance

MENSCH & MASCHINE

New papers on Moral Enhancement and Brain-Based Lie Detection

Tesla (or Google) and the risk of massively distributed physical terrorist attacks


ieet books

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

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

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

Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World
David Brin





JET

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

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life


PUBLICATIONS

Journal of Evolution and Technology - Books by IEET Authors


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 Books by IEET Fellows and Staff



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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.


Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now  (2012)
by Douglas Rushkoff

Publishers Weekly: Whether or not readers are familiar with the concept of presentism—the theory that society is more focused on the immediacy of the moment in front of them (actually more specifically on the moment that just passed) than the moment before or, perhaps more importantly, the future—they’ve certainly felt the increasing pressure of keeping up with various methods of communication, be it texting, Web surfing, live interactions, or a litany of other media for staying “connected.” Using Alvin Toffler’s concept of “future shock” as a jumping-off point, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff (Cyberia; Get Back in the Box; Media Virus; etc.) deftly weaves in a number of disparate concepts (the Home Shopping Network, zombies, Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, Internet mashups, hipsters’ approximation of historical ephemera as irony, etc.) to examine the challenge of keeping up with technological advances as well as their ensuing impact on culture and human relations in a world that’s always “on.” By highlighting five areas (the rise of moronic reality TV; our need to be omnipresent; the need to compress time in order to achieve our goals; the compulsion to connect unrelated concepts in an effort to make better sense of them; and a gnawing sense of one’s obsolescence), Rushkoff gives readers a healthy dose of perspective, insight, and critical analysis that’s sure to get minds spinning and tongues wagging.


Time of Punishment  (2012)
by Marcelo Rinesi

Marcelo is a writer of science micro fiction. Please enjoy this collection of twenty-five of his SF short-shorts.


Nexus  (2012)
by Ramez Naam

Mankind gets an upgrade. In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it. When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.


A Crisis of Faith: Atheism, Emerging Technologies and the Future of Humanity  (2012)
by Phil Torres

A Crisis of Faith puts forth one of the most comprehensive and accessible arguments for the claim that theism is false and faith-based belief is foolish. Drawing from many disparate fields, including epistemology, evolutionary biology, textual criticism, the philosophy of mind and (what the author refers to as) secular eschatology, Crisis attacks the theistic position from multiple angles. In doing so, this book not only delineates established arguments against God’s existence, but explores topics that no other atheists have yet considered - for instance, how might cognitive enhancements foment the further secularization of society? Phil Torres puts together an overwhelmingly convincing case that religion ought to become a thing of the past: it’s bad epistemology and, in a world marked by radical advances in genetics, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, it greatly increases the likelihood of disaster. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the philosophical foundations of atheism and the many practical reasons it ought to be accepted.


Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization  (2012)
by Parag Khanna & Ayesha Khanna

What human civilization needs more than anything is not greater IQ or EQ, but TQ: technology quotient. In their manifesto Hybrid Reality, husband-and-wife team Ayesha & Parag Khanna explores the frontier of the information revolution: The Hybrid Age.

In this era of disruptive technologies, accelerating change, and deep anxiety about the future, the Khannas explain how the “balance of innovation” has superseded the military “balance of power” as a measure of national potential, and provide a global tour of how the smartest countries, cities, and companies are harnessing new technologies to gain an edge. Each of us also needs better TQ to adapt to a future in which robots are normal social actors in our lives, healthcare becomes a vehicle for physical enhancement, academic pedigree dissolves in a global skills market, and virtual currencies enable tax-free transactions.

Whether the future is a dystopian global class struggle over technology or a Pax Technologica of transparency, access and equity will depend on spreading TQ above all else.


Existence  (2012)
by David Brin

Billions of planets may be ripe for life, even intelligence. So where is Everybody? Do civilizations make the same fatal mistakes, over and over? Might we be the first to cross the mine-field, evading every trap to learn the secret of Existence?

Astronaut Gerald Livingstone grabs a crystal lump of floating space debris. Little does he suspect it’s an alien artifact, sent across the vast, interstellar gulf, bearing a message.

“Join us!”—it proclaims. What does the enticing invitation mean? To enroll in a great federation of free races?

Only then, what of rumors that this starry messenger may not be the first? Have other crystals fallen from the sky, across 9,000 years? Some have offered welcome. Others… a warning!

This masterwork of science fiction combines hard-science speculation and fast-paced action with the deeply thoughtful ideas and haunting imagery that David Brin (best-selling author of Earth and The Postman) is known for in more than twenty languages.


Manna: Two Visions of Humanity’s Future  (2012)
by Marshall Brain

In the not too distant future, robots will begin taking human jobs in places like retail stores, fast food restaurants, construction sites and transportation. The key technology that will fuel the transition is inexpensive computer vision systems, and the number of human jobs at risk numbers in the tens of millions. More than half of the jobs in the United States could be eliminated.  With half of the jobs eliminated by robots, what happens to all the people who are out of work? The book Manna explores the possibilities and shows two contrasting outcomes, one filled with great hope and the other quite dreadful.  Join Marshall Brain, founder of HowStuffWorks.com, for a skillful step-by-step walk through the robotic transition, the collapse of the human job market that results and an surprising look at humanity’s future in a post-robotic world. Then consider our options. Which vision of the future will society choose to follow?


The Astrobiological Landscape: Philosophical Foundations of the Study of Cosmic Life  (2012)
by Milan M. Cirkovic

Astrobiology is an expanding, interdisciplinary field investigating the origin, evolution and future of life in the universe. Tackling many of the foundational debates of the subject, from discussions of cosmological evolution to detailed reviews of common concepts such as the ‘Rare Earth’ hypothesis, this volume is the first systematic survey of the philosophical aspects and conundrums in the study of cosmic life. The author’s exploration of the increasing number of cross-over problems highlights the relationship between astrobiology and cosmology and presents some of the challenges of multidisciplinary study. Modern physical theories dealing with the multiverse add a further dimension to the debate. With a selection of beautifully presented illustrations and a strong emphasis on constructing a unified methodology across disciplines, this book will appeal to graduate students and specialists who seek to rectify the fragmented nature of current astrobiological endeavour, as well as curious astrophysicists, biologists and SETI enthusiasts.


Smart Mice, Not-So-Smart People: An Interesting and Amusing Guide to Bioethics  (2012)
by Arthur Caplan

Art Caplan provides a practical, easily grasped guide to today’s controversial high tech medical issues at a time when scientific discovery is outpacing existing policy and yesterday’s paradigms. His provocative and amusing essays range from cloning to engineering ourselves. His essay on brain enhancement brings it home when he frames the morality in the context of sending his son, Zach, to private school concluding that people want to optimize their brains.


From Transgender to Transhuman: A Manifesto On the Freedom Of Form  (2012)
by Martine Rothblatt

Will technology stop at transgenderism? If a century or so of technology has demolished millennia of absolute sexual duality, what might another few decades of exponentially growing technology do? Sex lies at the heart of biology, and yet in transcending biology technology gave us an explosion of sexual identities. So, as technology continues to transcend biology, what next can we expect beyond the apartheid of sex? An explosion of human identities? The answer, in a word, is transhumanism.


Freedom of Religion and the Secular State  (2012)
by Russell Blackford

Focusing on the intersection of religion, law, and politics in contemporary liberal democracies, Blackford considers the concept of the secular state, revising and updating enlightenment views for the present day. Freedom of Religion and the Secular State offers a comprehensive analysis, with a global focus, of the subject of religious freedom from a legal as well as historical and philosophical viewpoint. It makes an original contribution to current debates about freedom of religion, and addresses a whole range of hot-button issues that involve the relationship between religion and the state, including the teaching of evolution in schools, what to do about the burqa, and so on.


The Olympics: The Basics  (2012)
by Andy Miah and Beatriz Garcia

The Olympics: The Basics is an accessible, contemporary introduction to the Olympic movement and Games. Chapters explain how the Olympics transcend sports, engaging us with a range of contemporary philosophical, social, cultural and political matters, including:

  peace development and diplomacy
  management and economics
  corruption, terror and activism
  the rise of human enhancement
  ethics and environmentalism.

This book explores the controversy and the legacy of the Olympics, drawing attention to the deeper values of Olympism, as the Olympic movement’s most valuable intellectual property. This engaging, lively, and often challenging book, is essential reading for newcomers to Olympic studies and offers new insights for Olympic scholars.


Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics  (2011)
by Patrick Lin

IEET Fellow Patrick Lin has co-edited a new volume, Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics with thirty essays on different aspects on robot ethics, including contributions by IEET Executive Director James Hughes and IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach. Robots today serve in many roles, from entertainer to educator to executioner. As robotics technology advances, ethical concerns become more pressing: Should robots be programmed to follow a code of ethics, if this is even possible? Are there risks in forming emotional bonds with robots? How might society—and ethics—change with robotics? This volume is the first book to bring together prominent scholars and experts from both science and the humanities to explore these and other questions in this emerging field. Starting with an overview of the issues and relevant ethical theories, the topics flow naturally from the possibility of programming robot ethics to the ethical use of military robots in war to legal and policy questions, including liability and privacy concerns. The contributors then turn to human-robot emotional relationships, examining the ethical implications of robots as sexual partners, caregivers, and servants. Finally, they explore the possibility that robots, whether biological-computational hybrids or pure machines, should be given rights or moral consideration. Ethics is often slow to catch up with technological developments. This authoritative and accessible volume fills a gap in both scholarly literature and policy discussion, offering an impressive collection of expert analyses of the most crucial topics in this increasingly important field.


The Fatou Entries  (2011)
by Marcelo Rinesi

A collection of short stories.


Program or Be Programmed  (2011)
by Douglas Rushkoff

The debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves and the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: It’s here; it’s everywhere. The real question is, do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it? “Choose the former,” writes Rushkoff, “and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make.” In ten chapters, composed of ten “commands” accompanied by original illustrations from comic artist Leland Purvis, Rushkoff provides cyber enthusiasts and technophobes alike with the guidelines to navigate this new universe.  In this spirited, accessible poetics of new media, Rushkoff picks up where Marshall McLuhan left off, helping readers come to recognize programming as the new literacy of the digital age––and as a template through which to see beyond social conventions and power structures that have vexed us for centuries. This is a friendly little book with a big and actionable message.


Invent Utopia Now, Transhumanist Suggestions for the Pre-Singularity Era  (2011)
by Hank Pellissier

Invent Utopia Now - transhumanist suggestions for the pre-Singularity era is unique: it’s a startling, controversial collection of essays by pundit/provocateur Hank Pellissier promotes his hedonist-transhumanist-egalitarian vision of the future. The articles - backed with substantial data and optimistic imagination - examine numerous bio-ethical and politically flammable topics: sexbots, in-vitro meat, Israel, parent licenses, women-only leadership, public nudity, artificial wombs and cryonics.


Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain  (2011)
by David Eagleman

If the conscious mind—the part you consider to be you—is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing?  In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries: Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do you hear your name being mentioned in a conversation that you didn’t think you were listening to? What do Ulysses and the credit crunch have in common? Why did Thomas Edison electrocute an elephant in 1916? Why are people whose names begin with J more likely to marry other people whose names begin with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? And how is it possible to get angry at yourself—who, exactly, is mad at whom? Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.


The Ontociders  (2011)
by Marcelo Rinesi

An SF novella.


The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World  (2010)
by William Sims Bainbridge

World of Warcraft is more than a game. There is no ultimate goal, no winning hand, no princess to be rescued. WoW contains more than 5,000 possible quests, games within the game, and encompasses hundreds of separate parallel realms (computer servers, each of which can handle 4,000 players simultaneously). WoW is an immersive virtual world in which characters must cope in a dangerous environment, assume identities, struggle to understand and communicate, learn to use technology, and compete for dwindling resources. Beyond the fantasy and science fiction details, as many have noted, it’s not entirely unlike today’s world. In The Warcraft Civilization, sociologist William Sims Bainbridge goes further, arguing that WoW can be seen not only as an allegory of today but also as a virtual prototype of tomorrow, of a real human future in which tribe-like groups will engage in combat over declining natural resources, build temporary alliances on the basis of mutual self-interest, and seek a set of values that transcend the need for war.

Bainbridge explored the complex Warcraft universe firsthand, spending more than 2,300 hours there, deploying twenty-two characters of all ten races, all ten classes, and numerous professions. Each chapter begins with one character’s narrative, then goes on to explore a major social issue—such as religion, learning, cooperation, economy, or identity—through the lens of that character’s experience.

What makes WoW an especially good place to look for insights about Western civilization, Bainbridge says, is that it bridges past and future. It is founded on Western cultural tradition, yet aimed toward the virtual worlds we could create in times to come.


Online Multiplayer Games  (2010)
by William Sims Bainbridge

This lecture introduces fundamental principles of online multiplayer games, primarily massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), suitable for students and faculty interested both in designing games and in doing research on them. The general focus is human-centered computing, which includes many human-computer interaction issues and emphasizes social computing, but also, looks at how the design of socio-economic interactions extends our traditional notions of computer programming to cover human beings as well as machines. In addition, it demonstrates a range of social science research methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative, that could be used by students for term papers, or by their professors for publications. In addition to drawing upon a rich literature about these games, this lecture is based on thousands of hours of first-hand research experience inside many classic examples, including World of Warcraft, The Matrix Online, Anarchy Online, Tabula Rasa, Entropia Universe, Dark Age of Camelot, Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, Tale in the Desert, EVE Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Pirates of the Burning Sea, and the non-game virtual world Second Life. Among the topics covered are historical-cultural origins of leading games, technical constraints that shape the experience, rolecoding and social control, player personality and motivation, relationships with avatars and characters, virtual professions and economies, social relations inside games, and the implications for the external society.


Mutare o perire. La sfida del transumanesimo (Change or Perish. The Challenge of Transhumanism)  (2010)
by Riccardo Campa

Change or Perish is the first monograph on transhumanism published in Italy. Written by one of the leading exponents of transhumanism in the world, the book analyzes both the new converging technologies revolutionizing human life and the social movement supporting this trend. The bioconservative movement opposing the use of these technologies is also analyzed in detail. Self-directed evolution, anti-aging therapies, radical life extension, human enhancement, human-machine and human-animal hybrids, cloning, cryonic suspension, stem cells research, robotics, artificial intelligence, mind uploading, and the singularity are just some of the topics addressed by the author. All these technologies and phenomena – already existing or just predicted – are examined in their political, social, historical and philosophical dimensions. In the last chapters, moving from a descriptive perspective to a normative one, the author argues in favor of posthuman transformation, and especially for the necessity to permit the widest possible access to all technologies leading to posthuman transformation.


Online Worlds: Convergence of the Real and the Virtual  (2009)
by William Sims Bainbridge

Virtual worlds are persistent online computer-generated environments where people can interact, whether for work or play, in a manner comparable to the real world. The most popular current example is World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online game with eleven million subscribers. However, other virtual worlds, notably Second Life, are not games at all but internet-based collaboration contexts in which people can create virtual objects, simulated architecture, and working groups.

This book brings together an international team of highly accomplished authors to examine the phenomena of virtual worlds, using a range of theories and methodologies to discover the principles that are making virtual worlds increasingly popular, and which are establishing them as a major sector of human-centered computing.


Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back  (2009)
by Douglas Rushkoff

A captivating book that reveals how corporations have come to dominate all aspects of life—including our inner lives—and what to do about it. Something has gone terribly wrong. Unquestionably, but seemingly inexplicably, we now live in a world where the market has infiltrated every area of our lives. In Life Incorporated, brilliant and charismatic cultural theorist Douglas Rushkoff argues that we no longer know who we are, or what we want. Everything, especially authenticity, is branded. Real community and real intimacy have broken down, replaced by market-tested cures for everything from weight, to conception, to poverty, to food, to finding a mate. The market, and its operating system, Corporatism, is no longer something people build and control. Rather, it builds and controls us.

Rushkoff, in tracing the roots of corporatism from the Renaissance to today, reveals the way it supplanted social interaction and local commerce and came to be regarded as a preexisting condition of our world, from the history of public relations to the relentless gentrification of America’s urban neighborhoods. And he shows us how to fight back: how to de-corporatize ourselves, disengage from branded expectations, think locally, and return to the real world of human activity. As Rushkoff puts it, “Micro-decisions are what matter.”


50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists  (2009)
by eds. Udo Schuklenk and Russell Blackford

Udo Schuklenk is a German-Australian philosopher. He has written or edited five books and published over one hundred articles in peer reviewed journals and books. His latest books are the co-edited volumes The Power of Pills and The Bioethics Reader. He is the Joint Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Bioethics and currently the Ontario Research Chair in Bioethics at Queen’s University in Canada. His current research focuses on ethical and policy issues in drug research and development. Russell Blackford is a freelance writer, critic, and editor, based in Melbourne, Australia. He teaches part-time in the School of Philosophy and Bioethics at Monash University, where he specialises mainly in philosophical bioethics and legal/political philosophy. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Evolution and Technology, an on-line peer reviewed journal devoted to rigorous consideration of future prospects for the human species or its possible descendants.


Hacking the Earth  (2009)
by Jamais Cascio

What do we do if our best efforts to limit the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere fall short? According to a growing number of environmental scientists, we may be forced to try an experiment in global climate management: geoengineering. Geoengineering would be risky, likely to provoke international tension, and certain to have unexpected consequences. It may also be inevitable. Environmental futurist Jamais Cascio explores the implications of geoengineering in this collection of thought-provoking essays. Is our civilization ready to take on the task of re-engineering the planet?


Human Enhancement  (2009)
by Edited by Julian Savulescu and Nick Bostrom

ISBN: 978-0-19-929972-0 - Publisher: Oxford University Press (22 January 2009)

New essays on the human enhancement debate from some of the world’s leading ethicists, including Nick Bostrom, Julian Savulescu, Norman Daniels, Eric Jeungst, Michael Sandel, Frances Kamm, John Harris, Erik Parens, Arthur L. Caplan, Dan W. Brock, Peter Singer, Daniel Wikler, and Anders Sandberg.
       


Science Fiction and Philosophy  (2008)
by Susan Schneider

Science fiction is more than mere entertainment. Historian H. Bruce Franklin defines it as ‘the literature which, growing with science and technology, evaluates it and relates it meaningfully to the rest of human existence’. “Science Fiction and Philosophy” explores timely philosophical issues such as the nature of persons and their minds, puzzles about virtual reality, transhumanism, whether time travel is possible, the nature of artificial intelligence, and topics in neuroethics. This thought-provoking volume is suitable for students and general readers and at the same time examines new and more advanced topics of interest to seasoned philosophers and scientists.


Unnatural Selection: The Challenges of Engineering Tomorrow’s People  (2008)
by Eds. Peter Healey and Steve Rayner

Based on a conference entitled “Tomorrow’s People: the Challenges of Technologies for Life Extension and Enhancement” which was organized by the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and held in Oxford in 2006.

4 Personality Enhancement and Transfer - Bill Bainbridge

6 Beyond Human Nature - James Hughes

11 Postponing Ageing: Re-identifying the Experts? - Aubrey de Grey

17 Brain Boosters - Nick Bostrom and Anders Sandberg


Human Futures: Art in the Age of Uncertainty  (2008)
by Andy Miah (Editor)

In recent years, the long-term future of humanity has become of particular concern to various governance bodies and scholarly institutions. This is due to the many biological transgressions that have begun to occur through emerging technologies, such as genetic modification, cloning, stem cell research and much more. These transgressions call into question the foundations of social order, thus creating a complex, multifaceted imperative for humanity as a whole to foresee.This innovative book, stimulated by material from FACT’s Human Futures programme and informed by inquiry into the future of humanity, combines scholarly essays, images, interviews, design products, artistic artefacts, original quotations and creative writing. Together, these works present contributions from key thinkers, authors and artists, whose work actively interrogates the expectations and actualities of human futures as they emerge within the social sphere. “Human Futures” portrays how the visual and textual culture of technological innovation is made and remade through bioculturally diverse forms of consumption. Issues addressed in the book include: the convergence of the NBIC (nano-, bio-, info-, cogno-) sciences; the ethics and aesthetics of human enhancement; the future of biological migration and transgressions; the emergence of systems and synthetic biology; the prospect of emotional and networked intelligence and ecosystem responsibility.While debates about these themes are often visible in discrete areas of scientific inquiry or artistic endeavour, this book brings together these disparate studies to explore moments of their interaction. The result is an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in the clash of art, technology and bioethics and its impact on humanity today and ‘tomorrow’.This is a provocative examination of some of the most contentious moral and philosophical issues of our day. It includes a diverse range of original essays about the future of humanity. It includes contributions from leading scholars including Nigel S. Cameron (Director of the Center on Nanotechnology and Society and Associate Dean at Chicago-Kent College of Law in the Illinois Institute of Technology), Professor Sandra Kemp (Royal College of Art, London), Steve Fuller (University of Warwick), and Professor George J. Annas (Boston University School of Public Health, School of Medicine, and School of Law).


Global Catastrophic Risks  (2008)
by eds. Nick Bostrom and Milan M. Cirkovic

A global catastrophic risk is one with the potential to wreak death and destruction on a global scale. In human history, wars and plagues have done so on more than one occasion, and misguided ideologies and totalitarian regimes have darkened an entire era or a region. Advances in technology are adding dangers of a new kind. It could happen again.

In Global Catastrophic Risks 26 leading experts look at the gravest risks facing humanity in the 21st century, including natural catastrophes, nuclear war, terrorism, global warming, biological weapons, totalitarianism, advanced nanotechnology, general artificial intelligence, and social collapse. The book also addresses over-arching issues - policy responses and methods for predicting and managing catastrophes.

Sir Martin J. Rees: Foreword Nick Bostrom and Milan M. Cirkovic: Introduction Background Fred C. Adams: Long-term astrophysical processes Christopher Wills: Evolution theory and the future of humanity James J. Hughes: Millenial tendencies in responses to apocalyptic threats Eliezer Yudkowsky: Cognitive biases potentially affecting judgememnt of global risks Milan M. Cirkovic: Observation selection effects: the Fermi paradox, the Doomsday argument and the simulation argument Yacov Y. Haimes: Systems-based risk analysis Peter Taylor: Catastrophes and insurance Richard A. Posner: Public policy toward catastrophe Risks from Nature Michael R. Rampino: Supervolcanism and other geophysical processes of catastrophic import William Napier: Hazards from comets and asteroids Arnon Dar: Influence of supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, solar flares, and cosmic rays on the terrestrial environment Risks from Unintended Consequences David Frame and Myles Allen: Climate change and global risk Edwin Dennis Kilbourne: Plagues and pandemics: past, present, and future Eliezer Yudkowski: Artificial Intelligence as a positive and negative factor in global risk Frank Wilczek: Big troubles, imagined and real Robin Hanson: Catastrophe, social collapse, and and human extinction Joseph Cirincione: The continuing threat of nuclear war William Potter and Gary Ackerman: Catastrophic nuclear terrorism: a preventable peril Ali Nouri and Christopher F. Chyba: Biotechnology and biosecurity Chris Phoenix and Mike Treder: Nanotechnology as global catastrophic risk Bryan Caplan: The totalitarian threat


The Medicalization of Cyberspace  (2007)
by Andy Miah

Examines the link between health and identity, and cybercultural identity. The medicalization of many aspects of social life, from childbirth to diet to housing, has become more and more apparent at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The involvement of ‘cyberspace’ in this new medicalized world is significant; as medical advice and medication is now easily available on the Internet, e-communities of sufferers and users abound. However the relationship between health, medicalization, cyberculture, the body and identity has been little explored. This book explores these complex social interactions and addresses topical issues, looking at specific aspects such as reproductive rights and technologies, gender and sexuality, cyber identity and non-humanness.


Etica della scienza pura  (2007)
by Riccardo Campa

Etica della scienza pura è un poderoso volume di circa 600 pagine che ripercorre la storia del pensiero occidentale alla ricerca dei presupposti etici dell’impresa scientifica. Lo studio parte dal pensiero antico, precisamente dai racconti biblici e dalla filosofia greca, per arrivare alle ultime frontiere dell’ingegneria genetica e del transumanesimo. Durante il percorso, vengono analizzate le idee di molti scienziati e filosofi, tra i quali Socrate, Platone, Aristotele, Agostino, R. Bacone, Leonardo, Copernico, Bruno, Galileo, Campanella, Cartesio, F. Bacone, Diderot, Voltaire, La Mettrie, Condorcet, Saint-Simon, Comte, J. S. Mill, Spencer, Cattaneo, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Enriques, Bachelard, Popper, Durkheim, Weber, Merton, Barnes, Dolby, Feyerabend, Prelli, Mitroff, Lyotard, Monod, Sztompka e Bunge.


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