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03/23/2011 - 6:45am

Douglass Rushkoff spoke to Googlers in Mountain View on November 10

03/22/2011 - 2:36pm

(Co-authored with IEET Fellow Ben Goertzel) There is currently no good reason to believe that once a human-level AGI capable of understanding its own design is achieved, an intelligence explosion will fail to ensue.  A thousand years of new science and technology could arrive in one year. An intelligence explosion of such magnitude would bring us into a domain that our current science, technology and conceptual framework are not equipped to deal with; so prediction beyond this stage is best done once the intelligence explosion has already progressed significantly.

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03/22/2011 - 2:05pm

The short answer: Superhero movies are far more inclined to make us fearful of transhumanism.

The long answer: Think about the superhero movies that you enjoyed or really got into. Now think about how that hero became a hero. The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spider-Man, and even Hellboy are the result of science gone awry. Iron Man and Batman are the result of exceptional, unfathomable wealth, talent, and dedication being impossibly found in a single human being. Super-Man and Thor aren’t even human beings. The Watchmen are a team of crazy people allied with a deity. The X-Men are mutants whose continued evolution is both unexplained and terrifying, resulting in a genetic race war. The overall message is simple: The odds of anyone becoming super are next to nil, the odds of you becoming super are worse than zero, and the human cost of becoming super is horrific and unavoidable....

03/22/2011 - 2:01pm

A common objection I get to the suggestion that nonhuman persons should be granted human-level rights is the concern that these animals could never properly express their citizenship or take part in the social contract. I’ve actually had people ask me if it’s my intention to give bonobos a credit card and the right to vote.

No, no, no — that’s not what this is all about. The rights I’m talking about have to do with protections. Nonhuman animals, like humans, should be immune from undue confinement, abuse, experimentation, illicit trafficking, and the threat of unnatural death. And I’m inclined to leave it at that for now....

03/22/2011 - 1:45pm

A short documentary about neuroscientist Robert White, who experimented on maintaining heads without bodies.

03/22/2011 - 12:49am

This is the first of a 3-part series on the ethics of profit.

Profit is often the subject of criticism. The film, “The Corporation”, has as its main target not corporations per se, but the profit motive in particular. Michael Moore appears in the film, saying that while some corporations do good things, “The problem comes in, in the profit motivation here, because these people, there’s no such thing as enough.”...

03/21/2011 - 3:22pm
Dr. J. chats with Charles Kenny about his book Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding—And How We Can Improve the World Even More. They talk about how the spread of ideas and institutions, such as democracy and political rights, and of cheap technologies, such as vaccines and bed nets, are improving the quality of life of the world’s poor. Charles Kenny is a senior economist on leave from the World Bank, and a joint fellow at the New America Foundation and the Center for Global Development. He writes a weekly column for Foreign Policy called “The Optimist.”
03/21/2011 - 3:22pm
Dr. J. chats with Charles Kenny about his book Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding—And How We Can Improve the World Even More. They talk about how the spread of ideas and institutions, such as democracy and political rights, and of cheap technologies, such as vaccines and bed nets, are improving the quality of life of the world’s poor. Charles Kenny is a senior economist on leave from the World Bank, and a joint fellow at the New America Foundation and the Center for Global Development. He writes a weekly column for Foreign Policy called “The Optimist.”

Soraj Hongladarom (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand) has edited a new book on genomics and bioethics.

Among other areas the book takes a look at views in underdeveloped countries on the human genome as intellectual property.

 - Chapter 9: Ole Döring (HGI-Charité Berlin, Germany) in Philosophical Exploration of the Concept of ‘Property’ in Genetics and Databanking, p. 130-140 gives three reasons against commercial use of genetic information: 

Genomics and Bioethics


       - DNA is too personal to be commodified;        - DNA is familial - we share DNA with our family       - commercialization of DNA risks exploiting the disadvantaged. - Chapter 10:  Jakkrit Kuanpoth (University of Wollongong, Australia) in Biotechnological Patents and Morality: a Critical Review from a Developing Country, p. 141-151 l takes a look at how Thailand has used exceptions for patents of living organisms, except for microbial organisms, as allowed for developing countries in the TRIPS agreement (World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights).  Patents on human beings; animal varieties; plant varieties; and medical (and surgical) treatments are discussed.
   
 - Chapter 11:.  Eduardo Rodriguez (University of Chile, Chile); and Fernando Lolas (Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization, Chile) in Social Issues Related To Gene Patenting in Latin America: a Bioethical Reflection, Pages 152-170, discuss bioethics approaches to intellectual property rights versus access in human gene patenting; introduction of genetically-engineered salmon and other animal species;  and biopiracy of plant resources including those involved in the traditional knowledge of indigenous populations.
   
 - Chapter 12. Theofransus Litaay (Satya Wacana Christian University, Indonesia) Dyah Prananingrum (Satya Wacana Christian University, Indonesia) and Yakub Krisanto (Satya Wacana Christian University, Indonesia) in Indonesian Legal Perspectives on Biotechnology and Intellectual Property Rights, Pages 171-183 focus on laws, regulations and policies on biotechnology in that country.  Concerns include biodiversity, biosafety and biopiracy. Indonesian patent law is modelled on European patents in excluding patents that contradict public order or morality.

 - Chapter 13. Brigitte Jansen (BioEthicsLaw e.V., Germany & University of Madras, India) in Human Biobanks: Selected Examples from and beyond  Europe, Pages 184-198, writes of the situation for the genome project, biobanks and genetic testing  in India. Ownership and privacy of biobank materials by the donors are concerns, but not yet dealt with by the law. Estonia, Israel and Macedonia are also discussed.

Hongladarom, Soraj. Genomics and Bioethics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Technologies and Advancements. Hershey, New York: Medical Information Science Reference, ©2011. 307 p.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-883-4
ISBN13: 978-1-61692-883-4
ISBN10: 1-61692-883-2
EISBN13: 978-1-61692-885-8

03/21/2011 - 2:22pm
Peter Singer argues that what has happened to Joseph Maraachli should teach us what to do - and what not to do - if we are really serious about saving human lives.If Priests for Life were really serious about saving lives, instead of "rescuing" Joseph so he can live another few months lying in bed, unable to experience the normal joys of childhood, let alone become an adult, they could have used the money they have raised to save 150 lives - most of them children who would have gone on to live healthy, happy lives for 50 years or more. . . .  We can obsess over Joseph and Terri - or we can make an honest effort to save the lives of countless children whose names we may never know. It is our choice.