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Meet The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (Video)

Roblimo posted about 2 years ago | from the debate-is-not-the-same-as-arguing dept.

Your Rights Online 37

Discussions about ethics and technology are perennial Slashdot staples. But if you want to frequent a site that is about ethics and technology and almost nothing else, with a strong science fiction bent to it, you might want to check out the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET.org) website. Here to introduce us to IEET and tell us what it's about, we have IEET Managing Director Hank Pellissier in a remote video interview we made through Skype.

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gut reaction.. (1)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#41588221)

as experience seems to suggest... the goal is the opposite of what is projected..

Not trying to be a troll, it just so much anymore the end result of claims is the opposite.

Re:gut reaction.. (3, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#41588357)

as experience seems to suggest... the goal is the opposite of what is projected..

Not trying to be a troll, it just so much anymore the end result of claims is the opposite.

Given the fuzzy nature of philosophy and ethics, the goal of this institute is most likely to employ philosophers and ethicists.

Actually solving any problems will be left as an exercise to the readers.

Gut heave (4, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#41588661)

Actually solving any problems will be left as an exercise to the readers.

Having suffered through all 12 minutes and 45 seconds of this rambling and pointless Skype video call, I suspect that actually solving any problems is like expecting a result from soft-willy masturbation by a eunuch.
Dear new owners of slashdot, please relegate stuff like this to somewhere else. It's not even close to being "news for nerds".

Re:Gut heave (2)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#41589445)

As we would say in the days of C: ++

ethics is tough... especially with technology (0, Troll)

noh8rz9 (2716595) | about 2 years ago | (#41588241)

As an ethics professor, I can tell you that the emergent ethics field is rife with landmines - the full scope of impact of a new technology is often hazy, but the ethical response to it is often ingrained before the circumstances fully become clear. Examples abound. The most apparent example is the evaporation of privacy first by ubiquitous data aggregators such as google, then by voluntary actions such as facebook. But other examples exist too. Organ creation from stem cells, evaluation of in-the-womb DNA, and now infinite replication via 3d printers. I wish I could tell you there was a right or wrong response, but if I could, then it wouldn't be an ethical quandry!

Re:ethics is tough... especially with technology (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 years ago | (#41588329)

What a cake job. There is no right or wrong answer, everything is just a quandry.

Re:ethics is tough... especially with technology (2)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 2 years ago | (#41588417)

Seems like an exercise in mental masturbation to me. Does it get frustrating teaching a subject that can hold no meaningful answers? For some subset of the population, technology abuse X is unethical. For another subset, technology use X is innovative and empowering, even life-changing. For the rest of the population, it's not given much thought at all.
 

Re:ethics is tough... especially with technology (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 2 years ago | (#41589215)

Does it get frustrating teaching a subject that can hold no meaningful answers?

There are no easy answers, but I assure you that the conclusions we are able to derive are truly meaningful. Or would you say Aristotle's work does not carry meaning? In answer to your second comment (or your first comment, if viewed in order of presentation), my work is incredibly rewarding. I am lucky to have found an occupation that fills me with passion. Judging by the tone of your comment, I can surmise that you have failed to do the same.

Re:ethics is tough... especially with technology (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 2 years ago | (#41595853)

Nope, I love what I do. I'm not sure why you'd make that assumption based on the tone of my comment. I'm glad that you enjoy your occupation as well, and thanks for taking the time to answer.

Re:ethics is tough... especially with technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41588559)

Of course there's a right or wrong response.

Copying (including 3D) is not unethical; the rent-seekers just want you to believe it is, so that you'll feel guilted into paying.

Creating organs from your own stem cells is not unethical. That's what stem cells are for. Killing someone else for their stem cells is more iffy.

Evaluating in the womb is not unethical. Proceeding to kill it if you don't like its features is certainly selfish and at least somewhat unethical.

And yes, I'm posting AC despite your sig plea. Oh well.

Re:ethics is tough... especially with technology (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41589177)

How about growing organs from stem cells... to serve with some fava beans and a nice chianti?

Re:ethics is tough... especially with technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591621)

>Proceeding to kill [a fetus] if you don't like its features is certainly selfish and at least somewhat unethical.

It's not really unethical: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evictionism
"This theory is built upon the earlier work of philosopher Murray Rothbard[1] who wrote that "no being has a right to live, unbidden, as a parasite within or upon some person's body"

Dear $CORP_SLASHDOT_OVERLORD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41588379)

We really don't like the slashdot original content, nor do we particularly care for video. Please relegate it to idle if you must post it at all.

(Seriously, look at your own stats. How many people actually watch this/read the slashcloud articles? compared to every other article?)

Re:Dear $CORP_SLASHDOT_OVERLORD (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41589667)

It would be interesting to see how many users are SlashBIcurious...

for those.. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41588469)

who want to decide what others should do with their technology rather than those who would actually use technology to change the world.

I pushed pause at "transhumanism" - what a load of CROCKSHIT. why is it that 99.999% of those signing under it are people who can't do anything - but still live in delusional dream that _others_ will invent technology for them to be gods with superhuman abilities. "i'm gonna be immortal lollololo" - well, I got news for you, not gonna happen.

slashdot maybe 15 years old but why the fuck post this shit? is this a joke? is this ethics of fantasy writing? WHAT THE FUCK! LEFTIST PROGRESSIVE!?? anarcho-libertararian-capitalist-feminists whhhhhaatt the fuck? who the fuck thinks it's worthwhile to argue about if it would be cool to live 500 years vs. 1000 years? building a dyson sphere? YEAH! let's discuss that! let's NOT discuss anything technological that could have an effect on people today. like, fuck discussing technology of getting clean water and education(information) to people when you can smell your own farts and dream of being an immortal starchild bitch building a sphere to cover the sun.

you know what this institute is all about? discussing non-existing shit. that's it. you could just as well start a fucking jedi-university or hogwashwarts local chapter.

(I'd start Angry slashdot reader vidblog if I wasn't so lazy and rather spend my time doing something worthwhile)

Re:for those.. (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41589299)

I kind of have to agree with Mr. or Ms. gl4ss here. Even when I was young and considered myself a full part of what other people called the geek crowd, I found debates over warp drive versus hyperspace (or whatever) to be complete wastes of time. Futurism can really be quite a masturbatory activity, especially when you look at past predictions and realize just how dismal futurism's track record really is.

On the other hand, starting an institute like this, if you can get people to buy into it, seems an easy scam^H^H^H^H job. Are they hiring? I actually do bleeding edge R&D, but I'm looking for early retirement. Some goofy think tank job might be just the thing to bring in retirement income.

Not sure how it scores one much tail, though. Are there a lot of transhumanism groupies?

fuck discussing technology of getting clean water and education(information) to people

A lot of those problems are political, not technological, requiring a large number of, um, regime changes.

Re:for those.. (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about 2 years ago | (#41589375)

[for those] who want to decide what others should do with their technology rather than those who would actually use technology to change the world.

The problem is not all technological change is for the better. I can't imagine the families of civilians being killed by unmanned drones feel particularly good about it just because the tech is new. What's the harm in discussing something?

YEAH! let's discuss that! let's NOT discuss anything technological that could have an effect on people today

This might surprise you, but discussing one thing doesn't preclude discussing something else at the same time. The Internet has more than enough space.

Shit, take a valium or something.

Somewhat relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41589589)

Sure, futurology isn't very important today, but in the future, it will be [youtube.com] .

Re:for those.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591083)

who want to decide what others should do with their technology

The vibe I get is not that they want to tell others what to do with their technology, but that they want technology to improve life on Earth in a science-fiction kind of way.

you know what this institute is all about? discussing non-existing shit. that's it.

Everything that comes into existence at one time did not exist. Often the transition from non-existence to existence begins when people start talking about it.

Aaron Swartz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41588529)

If you need ethics researchers I hear Aaron Swartz is available.

IEET, aka (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41588535)

133t

12:45 of a talking head???? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#41588745)

TLDW;

Facebook mashup on /. (1)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | about 2 years ago | (#41588801)

Arghhh...

I'm out of here!

WTMFTA? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 years ago | (#41589037)

Where's the m*****f****** transcript at? (For the 99% of us who don't have time to watch a video.)

Required reading, Modesitt's Forever Hero trilogy (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 2 years ago | (#41589149)

which actually has such an institute as a plot point:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Forever_Hero [wikipedia.org]

William

Re:Required reading, Modesitt's Forever Hero trilo (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#41589459)

More amusing than the video, at least.

From the site (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41589431)

Rights of Non-Human Persons - The IEET is committed to the idea that some non-human animals meet the criteria of legal personhood and thus are deserving of specific rights and protections.

This stuff? Seriously? Can't people just be kind to kittens and puppies? More humane farming? Sure. Why not. But legal personhood? Someone watching to much My Little Pony? Learn the difference between sentience and sapience. The mere perception of individual experience does not grant the ability to reason or judge- two things which are vital for participation in a civilized legal framework.

Yeah, I just pretty much relegated most of the human race to a sub-sapient classification, but, well, what can ya do? ;-)

Under our Securing the Future research program we are assembling interdisciplinary teams of natural scientists, social scientists, humanists, historians, engineers, and futurists to work in goal-oriented projects aimed at proactively mitigating existential risks to humanity and to the biosphere.

Ooo! Ooo! Buzzword bingo!

Research Grants - The IEET is soliciting funds for a grants programs to support the research of IEET Fellows and interns on the ethical and policy issues of human enhancement and other emerging technologies.

Ah! There we go.

Re:From the site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591449)

>More humane farming? Sure. Why not. But legal personhood... Learn the difference between sentience and sapience

Animal rights are an important issue that can't be dismissed so glibly.

Note that human infants are not self-aware. So what's wrong with chopping up an infant and eating it for dinner? Why can't we farm infants?
Usually it's argued that those infants are POTENTIAL human beings. You should wait until they are grown up, when you can ask whether they consent to being chopped up.

But in the future, it will be the same with a farm animal. It is potentially human: with a "transcendence implant" it could be bestowed with intelligence and sapience, too.

Animal rights are one of the thorniest aspects of ethics. I'm speculating, but in the future, probably we will eat test tube-grown meat and people who butcher animals could be seen in a similar way to those who murder infants.

Re:From the site (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41591671)

Note that human infants are not self-aware. So what's wrong with chopping up an infant and eating it for dinner? Why can't we farm infants?

You really need someone to answer that for you? Seriously?

And we're talking animals today. You uplift dolphins or chimps or ponies to sapience, yes, obviously that changes things. Heck, I'd welcome it. Living along side another sapient species would be great.

Re:From the site (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41593841)

and with magic a piece of rock is sentient and a legal person.

it would be the chip that is sentient, not the body the chip moves..

Re:From the site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41594227)

This stuff? Seriously? Can't people just be kind to kittens and puppies? More humane farming? Sure. Why not. But legal personhood? Someone watching to much My Little Pony? Learn the difference between sentience and sapience. The mere perception of individual experience does not grant the ability to reason or judge- two things which are vital for participation in a civilized legal framework.

What if they are talking about dolphins or dogs etc? Are those sapient to you? More than the majority of the human race that you classified as sub-sapient?

Re:From the site (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41597091)

What if they are talking about dolphins or dogs etc? Are those sapient to you?

Sapient? No. Sentient? Yes.

More than the majority of the human race that you classified as sub-sapient?

That was a joke.

If you want to do something immoral (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#41589441)

hire an ethicist. The field exists to hack standing ideologies and find a means to formally comply with restrictions while circumventing the purpose of them.

Geez everybody the hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591013)

I'm not a fan of what I've just read (the transcript), but you people are really too angry about this. If nothing else, futurism can be a fun past time. Why so serious?

As for philosophy, let's say ethics is where the slightly less talented people get streamed in philosophy. Why? Because people can work with (and against) their gut reactions. Abstract thought is not available to everyone. Unfortunately this means ethics are full of people who probably should be doing some other kind of productive work in society. This misallocation of human resources is due to departmental pressures, so don't be too hard on philosophy itself. I share the cynicism about grant writing and funding, but many of you are working under grants at university, or slaving away for mega corporations, or starving, so where is your pure path to success? Not trying to defend the guy, but sheesh, relax.

The ethics of future technologies is not an uninteresting area of research. If you can imagine a technology, you can imagine what some of its impacts may be. That's not useless. Actually it may become absolutely necessary, in the same way counter-terrorism agencies use creative thinkers to invent novel attacks so they can be mitigated in advance. Shouldn't we try to think through the consequences of our technologies? The world has not experienced a nuclear holocaust, but it sure as hell is useful to think about it. If the possibility had not dawned on us, the world would likely be dead right now. ("Hey, what does this shiny red button do?")

Applying more creative thinking about technology is not at all a bad thing, imo.

That's all I'm going to say.

Democracy: the God that Failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591289)

There are a lot of references to democracy on the website. For example "Democracy provides the other kinds of control, through civil liberties and electoral participation" and "That mastery requires progressive democratization".

I think with that emphasis on democracy, they are starting out behind the eight ball. Research by Austrian School economists, built up over decades, has shown that democracy is unethical. This line of research usually leads to anarchocapitalism. For example, here is a work by professor Hoppe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy:_The_God_That_Failed

I don't see how a competent ethicist could choose to remain ignorant of this body of thought. Asking around mises.org would be a good way to learn more. Also, to give you an idea of the extensive history of this body of thought, see here (though this is both scholarly research and fictional literature): http://praxeology.net/anarcres.htm

I think it's a big mistake to assume that democracy is an ethical or even a reallistic assumption when considering the post-human era..

Orion's arm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591389)

I wanted to share this website: http://www.orionsarm.com/

It is a huge body of collaborative fiction based on transhumanism (posthumanism really).

I'm guessing it is a fantastic resource for stimulating the mind and helping to work out ethical problems.

Slashdot, your video player sucks eggs. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#41600505)

Come on, guys. Go borrow FlowPlayer from some porno site or something. Something that actually works, anyway.
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