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.
"A popularizer of impressive gusto...[Eagleman] aims, grandly, to do for the study of the mind what Copernicus did for the study of the stars."
- New York Observer
"David Eagleman offers startling lessons.... His method in both Sum and his new book, Incognito, is to ask us to cast off our lazy, commonplace assumptions."
- The Guardian
"David Eagleman may be the best combination of scientist and fiction-writer alive."
- Stewart Brand
"What Eagleman seems to be calling for is a new Enlightenment."
- Sunday Herald
"[A] neuroscientist and polymath."
- Wall Street Journal
"Eagleman has a talent for testing the untestable, for taking seemingly sophomoric notions and using them to nail down the slippery stuff of consciousness."
- The New Yorker
"David Eagleman is the kind of guy who really does make being a neuroscientist look like fun."
- New York Times