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

  • The Mystery of Expertise
    The Mystery of Expertise

    To the extent that consciousness is useful, it is useful in small quantities, and for very particular kinds of tasks. It's easy to understand why you would not want to be consciously aware of the intricacies of your muscle movement, but this can be less intuitive when applied to your perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs, which are also final products of…

  • British musician Jarvis Cocker reads from Sum
    British musician Jarvis Cocker reads from Sum

    Hear British rocker Jarvis Cocker read the short story "Descent of Species" from Sum.

  • Perception on TNT
    Perception on TNT

    I am the scientific advisor for the TNT television drama, Perception, starring Eric McCormack and Rachael Leigh Cook. Learn more about the show.

  • Eagleman and Eno perform Sum
    Eagleman and Eno perform Sum

    Brian Eno and I have twice performed a musical version of Sum, once at the Sydney Opera House, and once at the Brighton Dome. Learn more.

Newsflashes

Sum on Radiolab

Listen to David discussing Sum -- and actor Jeffrey Tambor reading stories from the book -- on WNYC's Radiolab.

SUM at the Royal Opera House

ROHSUM has been turned into an opera at the Royal Opera House in London (Composer: Max Richter, Director: Wayne McGregor). The London Evening Standard hails the opera as "immersive, meditative and sweetly fascinating". Read about the background of the collaboration in Wired.

New York Times bestseller

IncognitoA 26 week New York Times bestseller, Incognito was named a Best Book of the Year by both Amazon and Goodreads. For a taste of the book, see a review in the Wall Street Journal, listen to a conversation on NPR's Fresh Air, or watch a video dialog with Wired Magazine. Reading Incognito now? We'd love to hear feedback!

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