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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Newsflashes

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.

McGovern Award for excellence in Communication

David was honored to receive the 2014 John J. McGovern Award for Excellence in Biomedical Education from the American Medical Writers' Assocation. Noted past recipients include authors Oliver Sacks and Abraham Verghese.

Sum named Book of the Year by New Scientist

Sum was the only book of fiction in New Scientist magazine's selection of Best Books of 2009.

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