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

  • Will Self
    Will Self

    The author Will Self and I appeared on stage together to discuss life, death, and what makes good writing.

  • 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…

  • Remembering a trail blazer - Francis Crick
    Remembering a trail blazer - Francis Crick

    Francis Crick, one of the premier biologists of the 20th century, passed away July 28, 2004, in San Diego. On his 88th birthday last June, I brought him chocolates and spent the day with him in his home in La Jolla.

  • Q & A in New Scientist magazine
    Q & A in New Scientist magazine

    Read a Q&A with David in New Scientist to find out his latest ideas and advice to young scientists.

Newsflashes

The secret life of the lab

Want to know more about the inner workings of a neuroscience lab? Watch a video profile of David and his students on NOVA Science Now.
Nova Science Now

Sum on Radiolab

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

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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