Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Search the IEET Subscribe and Contribute to:

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

ieet books

The Second Intelligent Species
by Marshall Brain

Anticipating Tomorrow’s Politics
by Ed. David Wood

Post- and Transhumanism: An Introduction
by Robert Ranisch and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner eds.

How “God” Works: A Logical Inquiry on Faith
by Marshall Brain

ieet events

Hughes, LaGrandeur @ Posthumanism and Society
May 9 , 2015

Goertzel @ Exponential Future Symposium
May 9 , 2015
Hong Kong

Sorgner @ Posthuman Studies and the Arts
May 18 , 2015
London, UK

Sorgner, Schneider on “Transhumanism and Immortality”
May 20 , 2015
Hull, UK

Wallach, Hughes, Vita-More, Smart, Lin, Darling @ Governance of Emerging Technologies
May 26 -28, 2015
Scottsdale, AZ USA

Sorgner @ International Festival of Philosophy
May 31 , 2015
Cologne, Germany

Brin @ Augmented World
June 8 -10, 2015
Santa Clara, CA USA

Danaher @ Clinical Neuroethics: Bench to Bedside
June 17 -19, 2015
Paris, France

Ramez Naam on “Enhancing Humans, Advancing Humanity”
July 22 , 2015
San Francisco, CA USA

Vita-More, Rothblatt, Hughes @ Juniata H+ Conference
July 26 -31, 2015
Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA USA

Sorgner @ International Conference on the Integration of Science, Technology and Society
August 3 -7, 2015
Daejeon, S. Korea

Hughes, Sorgner @ Beyond Humanism Conf: From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?
September 15 -18, 2015
Seoul, S. Korea

ieet news

Technoprogressives Not Enthusiastic about Party-Building
(Apr 21, 2015)

We asked “How should technoprogressives enter electoral politics?” One hundred and one of you responded. Only 15% thought technoprogressives should focus on building “Transhumanist parties,” and another 5% thought we should focus on building “Technoprogressive parties.”

IEET Launching Annual Fundraiser
(Mar 18, 2015)

The IEET just turned ten years old, and we are astonished with what we’ve been able to accomplish in the last decade.

IEET Audience Divided on Left-Right Political Cognitive Biases (Mar 15, 2015)

IEET Audience Skeptical of Taxing Bitcoin Income (Feb 22, 2015)

ieet articles

An introduction to tomorrow’s politics
by David Wood
May 2, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Chapter 1 of the Transpolitica book “Anticipating tomorrow’s politics.”

The Fallacy of Favoring Gradual Replacement Mind Uploading Over Scan-and-Copy
by Keith B. Wiley
May 2, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Mind uploading speculation and debate often concludes that a procedure described as gradual in-place replacement preserves personal identity while a procedure described as destructive scan-and-copy produces some other identity in the target substrate such that personal identity is lost along with the biological brain. This paper demonstrates a chain of reasoning that establishes metaphysical equivalence between these two methods in terms of preserving personal identity.

Avengers: Age of Ultron - a review with minor spoilers
by Russell Blackford
May 2, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Read on if you don’t mind some relatively minor spoilers about Avengers: Age of Ultron. I won’t be giving away any big surprises or major plot points, but nor can I promise to reveal nothing new about the content of the movie. So, the choice is yours!

Solar + Wind, More Than the Sum of Their Parts
by Ramez Naam
May 2, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

David Roberts has an amazing first post in his new job at Vox, on why a solar future is inevitable.

When Enhancement Isn’t
by Kyle Munkittrick
May 2, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Enhancement is weird. It seems objectively obvious what is better and what isn’t. But then context goes and screws everything up.

Homo in Machina: Ethics of the AI Soul
by Steven Umbrello
Apr 27, 2015 • (5) CommentsPermalink

Picard: “What are you doing now?”

Commander Data: “I am taking part in a legal hearing to determine my rights and status. Am I a person or am I property?”

The Age of Transhumanist Politics Has Begun: Will It Change Traditional Concepts of Left and Right?
by Roland Benedikter
Apr 27, 2015 • (5) CommentsPermalink

The founding of the Transhumanist Party of the United States, the intensifying of the U.S. BRAIN-Initiative and the start of Google’s project “Ending death” were important milestones in the year 2014, and potential further steps towards “transhumanist” politics. The most significant development was that the radical international technology community became a concrete political force, not by chance starting its global political initiative in the U.S. According to political scientist and sociologist Roland Benedikter, research scholar at the University of California at Santa Barbara, “transhumanist” politics has momentous growth potential but with uncertain outcomes. The coming years will probably see a dialogue between humanism and transhumanism in—and about—most crucial fields of human endeavor, with strong political implications that will challenge, and could change the traditional concepts, identities and strategies of Left and Right.

Life: Inevitable or Accident?
by Rick Searle
Apr 26, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Here’s the question: does the existence of life in the universe reflect something deep and fundamental or is it merely an accident and epiphenomenon? There’s an interesting new theory coming out of the field of biophysics that claims the cosmos is indeed built for life, and not just merely in the sense found in the so-called “anthropic principle” which states that just by being here we can assume that all of nature’s fundamental values must be friendly for complex organisms such as ourselves that are able to ask such questions. The new theory makes the claim that not just life, but life of ever growing complexity and intelligence is not just likely, but the inevitable result of the laws of nature.

The Vision Thing
by Rene Milan
Apr 25, 2015 • (1) CommentsPermalink

A brief review of existing visions for alternative political systems.

The Problem of Personal Identity in Two Pages
by John G. Messerly
Apr 25, 2015 • (2) CommentsPermalink

The problem – Is a person the kind of thing that can die on earth and be alive somewhere else? To understand this consider a thought experiment. If we make a perfect copy of you—complete with your thoughts and memories—is that copy really you or just a duplicate? (If you think the copy is you, then the waking up in heaven scenario is not problematic; if you think it’s just a copy, then the thing that wakes up in heaven isn’t you.)

How Evolution Gave Us Mathematics
by Gregory Benford
Apr 23, 2015 • (1) CommentsPermalink

THIS IS MY RESPONSE TO THE EDGE QUESTION OF A FEW YEARS BACK: WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? MY ANSWER:    The intrinsic beauty and elegance of  mathematics allows it to describe nature. Many believe this seeming axiom, that beauty leads to descriptive power. Our experience seems to show this, mostly from the successes of physics. There is some truth to it, but also some illusion.

The Ethics of Robot Sex: Interview on Robot Overlordz Podcast
by John Danaher
Apr 23, 2015 • (3) CommentsPermalink

I had the good fortune to be asked back on to the Robot Overlordz podcast this week. I am the guest on episode #163 during which I chat with the hosts (Mike Johnston and Matt Bolton) about the ethical, legal and social implications of sex robots. We also talk about related issues from the world of AI and futurism.

Is novelty in nanomaterials overrated when it comes to risk?
by Andrew Maynard
Apr 23, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

Novelty and nanotechnology are deeply intertwined. The search for nanostructure-enabled materials has driven research funding in nanotechnology for well over a decade now; the exploitation of novel properties has underpinned the commercialization of nanomaterials; and concerns over potential risks has stimulated widespread studies into what makes these materials harmful. Yet ‘novelty’ is an ephemeral quality, and despite its close association with nanotechnology, it may be an unreliable guide to ensuring the long-term safety of materials that emerge from the field. If this is the case, do we need to find alternative approaches to developing advanced materials and products that are safe by design?

A New York Judge Has Granted Legal Person Rights To Chimpanzees (Updated)
by George Dvorsky
Apr 23, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

For the first time in U.S. history, a supreme court has granted a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of two lab chimpanzees, effectively recognizing them as legal persons. While the future of the chimps has not yet been decided, it’s a huge step forward in establishing personhood status for highly sapient animals.

Germ-Line (inheritable) human “improvement” via genetic engineering? The “Heinlein Solut
by David Brin
Apr 22, 2015 • (1) CommentsPermalink

This fascinating (if long) essay - Engineering the Perfect Baby (from Technology Review) - explores the scientific and moral ramifications of “germ cell genetic engineering” or the changing of genomes in ways that can be inherited and passed-down, parent to naturally conceived child.

The Epistemic Costs of Superintelligence: Bostrom’s Treacherous Turn and Sceptical Theism
by John Danaher
Apr 21, 2015 • (4) CommentsPermalink

An advanced artificial intelligence (a “superintelligence”) could pose a significant existential risk to humanity. Several research institutes have been set-up to address those risks. And there is an increasing number of academic publications analysing and evaluating their seriousness. Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies represents the apotheosis of this trend. In this article, I argue that in defending the credibility of AI risk, Bostrom makes an epistemic move that is analogous to one made by so-called sceptical theists in the debate about the existence of God. And while this analogy is interesting in its own right, what is more interesting is its potential implication. It has been repeatedly argued that sceptical theism has devastating effects on our beliefs and practices. Could it be that AI-doomsaying has similar effects? I argue that it could. Specifically, and somewhat paradoxically, I argue that it could lead to either a reductio of the doomsayers position, or an important and additional reason to join their cause. I use this paradox to suggest that the modal standards for argument in the superintelligence debate need to be addressed.

Do Killer Robots Violate Human Rights?
by Patrick Lin
Apr 21, 2015 • (1) CommentsPermalink

When machines are anthropomorphized, we risk applying a human standard that should not apply to mere tools.

Should libertarians hate the internet? A Nozickian Argument against Social Networks
by John Danaher
Apr 16, 2015 • (0) CommentsPermalink

My title is needlessly provocative, and may ultimately disappoint, but bear with me a moment. I’ve recently been reading Andrew Keen’s book The Internet is not the Answer. It is an interesting, occasionally insightful, but all too often hyperbolic, personalised and repetitive critique of the internet age. I recommend it, albeit in small doses. But this is a digression. I do not wish to give a full review here. Instead, I wish to dwell on one idea that struck me while I read it.



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

Radical Change Lies Ahead
Guest image
David Wood

What happens when our computers get smarter than we are?
Guest image
Nick Bostrom

Does death make life worth living?
Guest image
John Messerly

Review of EX MACHINA
Guest image
Jon Perry

Gray Matters
(Apr 25, 2015)

The Dawn of Killer Robots
(Apr 25, 2015)

The Outsourcing Illusion: Why Tempting Technology Can Lead to Dangerous Delegation
(Apr 25, 2015)


instamatic on 'Homo in Machina: Ethics of the AI Soul' (May 4, 2015)

Tina Forsee on 'Homo in Machina: Ethics of the AI Soul' (May 3, 2015)

Tina Forsee on 'Homo in Machina: Ethics of the AI Soul' (May 3, 2015)

jasoncstone on 'Proposal for International Zones' (May 3, 2015)

instamatic on 'The Age of Transhumanist Politics Has Begun: Will It Change Traditional Concepts of Left and Right?' (Apr 30, 2015)

Giulio Prisco on 'The Age of Transhumanist Politics Has Begun: Will It Change Traditional Concepts of Left and Right?' (Apr 30, 2015)

StevenUmbrello on 'Homo in Machina: Ethics of the AI Soul' (Apr 29, 2015)


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

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List


RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @     phone: 860-297-2376