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Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 BioPolitics and the Technoprogressive Agenda: Yes We Can! James J. Hughes Ph.D. Executive.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 BioPolitics and the Technoprogressive Agenda: Yes We Can! James J. Hughes Ph.D. Executive."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 BioPolitics and the Technoprogressive Agenda: Yes We Can! James J. Hughes Ph.D. Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies Public Policy Studies, Trinity College, Hartford CT

2 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 The Enlightenment Origins of secularism, secular humanism and modern bioethics in 17 th and 18 th century Descartes, Locke, Pascal, Bayle, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Condorcet, Rousseau

3 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Principles of the Enlightenment 1. Autonomy of reason from faith and authority 2. Human perfectibility and social progress 3. Empirical optimism: sapere aude! 4. Legitimacy of government based on free association 5. Tolerance of diversity, freedom of thought 6. Ethical universalism – beyond nationalism, racism, sexism

4 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies th Century Politics Progressives Conservatives Conservatives Progressives Populists Libertarians New Right Social Democrats Cultural Politics Economic Politics Populists Libertarians New Right Social Democrats

5 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Emerging Technologies Tech that will radically change the human brain: Psychopharmacology Genetic engineering Nanotechnology Artificial intelligence Cognitive science The accelerating convergence of all these “for improving human performance”

6 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Human Enhancement Curing disabilities Health Longevity Intelligence Emotional control Heightened senses Spiritual experience

7 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Why Human Enhancement? Status Quo Bias Would it be better to have…. Shorter lives? More disabilities? Less intelligence? Less memory? Less happiness?

8 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Biopolitical Battlefronts Who is a citizen with a right to life?: abortion, stem cells, great ape rights, brain death, chimeras Control of Reproduction: contraception, abortion, fertility treatments, genetic testing, germline gene therapies, cloning Fixing Disabilities to “Human Enhancement”: cochlear implants, prosthetics, eye and brain chips, gene therapies, cosmetic procedures Extending Life: from treatments for aging-related diseases, to anti-aging drugs and therapies Control of the Brain: Ritalin and Prozac, psychoactive drugs, brain chips

9 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies st Century Politics Economic Politics Biopolitics Progressive Conservative Progressive Conservative Cultural Politics Bioconservatism Transhumanism

10 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 From Bioethics to Biopolitics Public health and universal insurance Access to contraception Rights to refuse treatment, confinement Roe v. Wade Stem cells

11 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 BioConservatives Religious Right CS Lewis The Abolition of Man Deep Ecologists, Romantic Luddites Aldous Huxley Brave New World Jeremy Rifkin Algeny Left-wing/Feminist Critics of Biotech Gena Corea The Mother Machine Center for Genetics and Society Pro-Disability Extremists Not Dead Yet

12 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies : BioPolitical Landmark Leon Kass appointed Chair of President’s Council on Bioethics Fukuyama’s Our Posthuman Future (2002) Greg Stock’s Redesigning Humans (2002) Christian Right’s Manifesto on Biotechnology and Human Dignity (2002) Vatican’s "Human Persons Created in the Image of God“ (2002) Bill McKibben Enough (2003) PCB’s Beyond Therapy (2003) Leon Kass Chair, President’s Council on Bioethics

13 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Christian Right BioCon Network Millions of dollars poured into “conservative bioethics” Center for Bioethics and Culture (Jennifer Lahl, Nigel Cameron, Prison Ministries, etc.) Trinity International University/Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity Discovery Institute (Wesley J. Smith) Ethics & Public Policy Center’s BAD (Eric Cohen, New Atlantis) American Enterprise Institute (Leon Kass, J.Q. Wilson) National Catholic Bioethics Center (John Haas) Hudson Institute (Michael Fumento)

14 Progressive Pushback Progressive Bioethics Network Caplan, McGee, Charo, et al. Women’s Bioethics Network Appigniani Bioethics Center Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies Center for American Progress Pinker “The Stupidity of Human Dignity” New Republic Jonathan Moreno to head transition bioethics planning Stephen Pinker

15 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 What is Transhumanism? An intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of transcending the limitations of the human body through applied reason especially by using technology to eliminate aging and enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

16 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 “Trans-humanism” and “Transhuman-ism” Julian Huxley first director of UNESCO "Transhumanism“ "the human species can transcend itself." “FM-2030” (FM Esfandiary) popularized term “transhuman” in the 1970s

17 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Growing H+ Movement (World Transhumanist Association) transhumanism.org 30 chapters, 5500 members Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies ieet.org

18 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Diversity of H+ From the March 2005 survey of WTA members Atheist, Agnostic, Secular humanist 63% Spiritual, Buddhist, Protestant, Religious humanist, Catholic, Pagan, Unitarian- Universalist, Hindu etc. 25% Other 13%

19 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Technoprogressivism Core Ideas: Equality and solidarity, as well as liberty Tech needs regulation and universal access “Technoprogressives” Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies ieet.org

20 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Biopolitical Coalitions H+ Coalition BioCon Coalition A-Technoprogressives B-Libertarian transhumanists Economic Politics Biopolitics Progressive Conservative C A Progressive Conservative B D Cultural Politics Bioconservatism Transhumanism C-Left bioconservatives D-Right bioconservatives

21 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 TranshumanistsBioConservatives Personhood, cyborg citizenship Human-Racism (or Deep ecology) Humanism, reason, individual liberty, progress Sacred taboos, “the natural”, yuck factor, romanticism Risks are manageableRisks are unknowable; Punishment for hubris inevitable; Tech should be banned Central Biopolitical Disputes

22 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Beyond Human-racism… Human-racism = Humanness as basis of rights-bearing Humans have souls or crypto-spiritual “human dignity” Fetus to cremation Embryonic citizens?

23 Boundaries of Humanness Animal-Human: Chimeras & “uplifted” animals Perinatal: Totipotent cells and artificial wombs Perideath: Brain repair Machine-Human: AGI & neuro-prosthetics Human-Posthuman: ?

24 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Human Nature and the Embryo "The uniqueness of human nature is at stake. Human dignity is indivisible… every human being is possessed of an equal dignity …at every stage of life…" James Dobson

25 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Five Moral Intuitions Liberals: Harm/care Fairness/reciprocity Conservatives Ingroup loyalty Respect for authority Purity/sanctity Jonathan Haidt

26 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 In-betweens are Dirty Purity and Danger Why aren’t pigs kosher? Cloven hoofs but don’t chew cud Mary Douglas

27 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Uncanny Valley Masahiro Mori’s robots

28 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Race-Mixing Panic

29 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Rights Based on Racial Identity? Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (UNESCO, 1998) “The human genome underlies the fundamental unity of all members of the human family, as well as the recognition of their inherent dignity and diversity.” Sorry – no rights! Is hairlessness one of the human traits necessary for citizenship?

30 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 “They” Want Your Jobs

31 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Inevitability of Race War? "The posthuman will come to see us (the garden variety human) as an inferior subspecies without human rights to be enslaved or slaughtered preemptively. It is this potential for genocide based on genetic difference, that I have termed "genetic genocide," that makes species-altering genetic engineering a potential weapon of mass destruction." (Annas, 2001)

32 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Violent Defenders of Human Nature “Human nature has in the past put certain limits on the development of societies. But … technology is developing ways of modifying human beings…. Getting rid of industrial society … will remove the capacity of … control over human nature" - the “Unabomber Manifesto”

33 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 …to Personhood Persons: “conscious beings, aware of themselves, with intents and purposes over time” You can be human and not persons: fetus, braindead You can be a person and not human: great apes, AI, posthumans

34 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 H+ = Radical Human Rights Personhood, not race, gender or species, defines citizenship Citizens have a right to control own bodies, brains & reproduction Goal of governance should be to help each person fulfill her potential John Locke

35 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Technological Self-Determination The right to know how safe and effective technologies are The right to use technology to control our own bodies and minds The right of equal access to technological empowerment

36 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Legitimate Risk Concerns: Safety, Efficacy, Equity Ensure technology is safe and effective Make tech accessible to all

37 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Yuck Factor Stops Critical Thinking Bioconservative risk estimates are grounded in yuck factor so that tech bans seem only logical policy

38 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 Max Mehlman: Wondergenes Global ban on genetic enhancement for equality reasons Mandatory, global gene testing “like Gattaca” April 2006: NIH gives Mehlman $770,000 to develop gene enhancement research policies Maxwell Mehlman

39 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 Christian Right Goes to Town Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, and Baptist Press:

40 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 Transhumanist Conspiracy Family Research Council: “NIH Slush Fund for Transhumanism” Concerned Women of America: “…shocked by NIH backing of transhumanist ideology.”

41 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 Mehlman an “H+ Leader”

42 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 Obstacles to Development 1. Fundamental disagreements about “the natural” and “the human” 2. Pragmatic concerns about safety, access and effects on society 3. Existing institutional constraints on their development The latter two can be addressed

43 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 Enhancement Agenda Cultural Political Regulatory Innovation Safety Promote technological citizenship Facilitate HET innovation AccessEstablish rights of the person to tech empowerment Promote access to HETs

44 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Secure the “Longevity Dividend” A “Manhattan project” to slow aging Aubrey de Grey Jay Olshansky

45 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2008 Pursue Universal Access Defend & expand universal health care Expand access in the developing world Anti-retroviral drugs

46 Copyright Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2005 For more information Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies ieet.org Me:


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