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…

  • Schwarzenegger on Incognito
    Schwarzenegger on Incognito

    What a wonderful shot of caffeine it was to find my childhood hero lauding my book in the New York Times.

  • 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.

  • Love Italo Calvino? Me too. Listen to a BBC Radio documentary.
    Love Italo Calvino? Me too. Listen to a BBC Radio documentary.

    I hosted a BBC radio documentary to explore the imagination of one of Italy's foremost writers, Italo Calvino.

Newsflashes

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

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!

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