David appointed Fellow with Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

What is posthumanism? Think bionics on crack. Posthumanism asks what happens when our technologies allow humans to enhance intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities beyond what biology can give us. What happens when we can eliminate aging? How about downloading consciousness into a computer to live forever in the Matrix? What are the pros, cons, and ethics of these just-around-the-corner technologies?

The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies is built around these questions, and I'm pleased to report that I've been appointed a Fellow with the IEET. This organization works to ensure that the developments in biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence improve the common good. The mission is to use technological progress as a catalyst for positive human development so long as the technologies are safe and equitably distributed.

Here are some questions of the addressed by the IEET:

  • Which technologies, especially new ones, are likely to have the greatest impact on human beings and human societies in the 21st century?

  • What ethical issues do those technologies and their applications raise for humans, our civilization, and our world?

  • How much can we extrapolate from the past and how much accelerating change should we anticipate?

  • What sort of policy positions can be recommended to promote the best possible outcomes for individuals and societies?

Check out the pages of the IEET. I'll be interested to know your thoughts on these issues.

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From the Blog

  • Why I am a Possibilian
    Why I am a Possibilian

    Our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism, and yet we know too much to commit to a particular religion. A third position, agnosticism, is often an uninteresting stance in which a person simply questions whether his traditional religious story is true or not true. I call myself a possibilian. Find out why.

  • Emily Blunt reads "The Cast" from Sum
    Emily Blunt reads "The Cast" from Sum

     Hear actress Emily Blunt read the story "The Cast" from Sum.

  • Breivik's Brain
    Breivik's Brain

    What could explain Anders Breivik's shooting attack in Oslo, Norway? While this is debated from the angles of politics, religion, and sociology, I want to ask this from the viewpoint of neurobiology.

  • The Neuroscience of Engagement
    The Neuroscience of Engagement

    Why don't we do what we know we should?  Here's a talk I gave at Stanford Medical School telling why, and what to do about it.

Newsflashes

Guggenheim Fellowship

David has been named a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. He will use the fellowship opportunity to pursue the genetics and neuroimaging of synesthesia.

Synesthesia book wins the Montaigne Medal

Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia has been awarded the Montaigne Medal, Eric Hoffer Award for Books.
synesthesia

How the Internet will save civilization

David's iPad app "Why the Net Matters, or Six Ways to Avert the Collapse of Civilization" was recently called a "superbook" by the New York Times Magazine. For a taste of the argument, read David's article in WIRED or watch a video of his talk at the Long Now Foundation. Don't have an iPad? The manuscript is now available as an eBook.

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Coming in 2014