Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Technoprogressive think tank
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.png
Founder(s)Nick Bostrom,
James Hughes[1]
Established2004; 18 years ago (2004)[2]
MissionTo promote ideas on how technology can be used to "increase freedom, happiness, and human flourishing in democratic societies."[2]
ExecutiveJames Hughes[3]
Faculty25 Fellows,
13 Affiliate Scholars[3]
StaffSteven Umbrello,
Marcelo Rinesi
Transhumanism h+.svg
Concepts in Transhumanism
  • Emerging technologies
  • Hypothetical technologies
  • Innovation
  • Science fiction
  • Techno-utopia
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Post-scarcity economy
  • Technological change
Subsets of Transhumanism
Political ideologies
  • v
  • t
  • e

The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) is a technoprogressive think tank that seeks to "promote ideas about how technological progress can increase freedom, happiness, and human flourishing in democratic societies."[4][5][6] It was incorporated in the United States in 2004, as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, by philosopher Nick Bostrom and bioethicist James Hughes.[4][7]

The think tank aims to influence the development of public policies that distribute the benefits and reduce the risks of technological change.[8] It has been described as "[a]mong the more important groups" in the transhumanist movement,[9] and as being among the transhumanist groups that "play a strong role in the academic arena".[10]

The IEET works with Humanity Plus (also founded and chaired by Bostrom and Hughes, and previously known as the World Transhumanist Association),[7] an international non-governmental organization with a similar mission but with an activist rather than academic approach.[11] A number of technoprogressive thinkers are offered positions as IEET Fellows.[12] Individuals who have accepted such appointments with the IEET support the institute's mission, but they have expressed a wide range of views about emerging technologies and not all identify themselves as transhumanists. In early October 2012, Kris Notaro became the managing director of the IEET after the previous Managing Director Hank Pellissier stepped down. In April 2016, Steven Umbrello became the managing director of the IEET.[13] Marcelo Rinesi is the IEET's Chief Technology Officer.[14]



The Institute publishes, the Journal of Ethics and Emerging Technologies (JEET),[15] formerly the Journal of Evolution and Technology (JET), a peer-reviewed academic journal.[16] JET was established in 1998 as the Journal of Transhumanism and obtained its current title in 2004.[17] The editor-in-chief is Mark Walker. It covers futurological research into long-term developments in science, technology, and philosophy that "many mainstream journals shun as too speculative, radical, or interdisciplinary."[18] The institute also maintains a technology and ethics blog that is supported by various writers.[19]


In 2006, the IEET launched the following activities:[20]

  1. Securing the Future: Identification and advocacy for global solutions to threats to the future of civilization.
  2. Rights of the Person: Campaign to deepen and broaden the concept of human rights.
  3. Longer, Better Lives: Case for longer healthier lives, addressing objections to life extension, challenge ageist and ableist attitudes that discourage the full utilization of health technology.
  4. Envisioning the Future: Collection of images of posthumanity and non-human intelligence, positive, negative and neutral, e.g., in science fiction and popular culture; engagement with cultural critics, artists, writers, and filmmakers in exploring the lessons to be derived from these.

The institute has since shifted its research away from these programs and towards research on the policy implications of human enhancement and other emerging technologies.[21] It has since partnered with the Applied Ethics Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston to focus on two specific programs:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work, Democracy, and Conflict
  2. Cyborgs and Human Enhancement


In late May 2006, the IEET held the Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference at the Stanford University Law School in Stanford, California.[22] The IEET along with other progressive organizations hosted a conference in December 2013 at Yale University on giving various species "personhood" rights.[23][24][25][26][27] Fellows of the Institute represent the Institute at various conferences and events, including the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[28] In 2014, the IEET lead and/or co-sponsored five conferences[29] including: Eros Evolving: The Future of Love, Sex, Marriage and Beauty conference[30] in April in Piedmont, California, and the Global Existential Risks and Radical Futures conference in June in Piedmont, California.[31]


Wesley J. Smith, an American conservative lawyer and advocate of intelligent design, wrote that the institute has one of the most active transhumanist websites, and the writers write on the "nonsense of uploading minds into computers and fashioning a post humanity."[32] Smith also criticized the results of the institute's online poll that indicated the majority of Institute's readers are atheist or agnostic.[32] According to Smith, this was evidence that transhumanism is a religion and a desperate attempt to find purpose in a nihilistic and materialistic world.[32] The institute's advocacy project to raise the status of animals to the legal status of personhood also drew criticism from Smith because he claimed humans are exceptional and raising the status of animals may lower the status of humans.[33]

Katarina Felsted and Scott D. Wright wrote that although the IEET considers itself technoprogressive some of its views can be described as strong transhumanism or a "radical version of post ageing," and one particular criticism of both moderate and strong transhumanism is that moral arbitrariness undermine both forms of transhumanism.[5]


  1. ^ "Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET)". Harvard Law School. Retrieved March 7, 2016. Founded in 2004 by philosopher Nick Bostrom and bioethicist James Hughes, the IEET is an organization that seeks to understand the impact of emerging technologies on individuals and societies. One of the main topics that the organization covers is the debate over human enhancement.
  2. ^ a b About, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, (Retrieved Dec. 30, 2014).
  3. ^ a b Staff, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, (Retrieved Jan. 9, 2015).
  4. ^ a b "About the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  5. ^ a b Felsted, Katarina; Wright, Scott D. (2014). Toward Post Ageing: Technology in an Ageing Society. Springer. p. 109. ISBN 9783319090511.
  6. ^ Joseph R. Herkert, "Ethical Challenges of Emerging Technologies", in Gary E. Marchant, Braden R. Allenby, Joseph R. Herkert, eds., The Growing Gap Between Emerging Technologies and Legal-Ethical Oversight (2011), p. 38.
  7. ^ a b Tamar Sharon, Human Nature in an Age of Biotechnology: The Case for Mediated Posthumanism (2013), p. 26.
  8. ^ Bailey, Ronald (2006-06-02). "The Right to Human Enhancement: And also uplifting animals and the rapture of the nerds". Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ Robert Geraci, Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality (2010), p. 85.
  10. ^ Max More, Natasha Vita-More, The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future (2013), pt. II.
  11. ^ "Ethics and Policy Concerns in the Transhuman Transition". h+ Media. July 29, 2014.
  12. ^ "Staff of the IEET". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  13. ^ "Steven Umbrello". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  14. ^ "Marcelo Rinesi". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  15. ^ "Journal of Ethics and Emerging Technologies". Retrieved 2021-05-07.
  16. ^ "Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies: Publications". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  17. ^ Blackford, Russel (September 18, 2014). "Transhumanism and The Journal of Evolution and Technology". Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  18. ^ Programs and Activities, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, (Retrieved Dec. 30, 2014).
  19. ^ "Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies – Medium". Medium. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  20. ^ "Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies - Programs and Activities".
  21. ^ Pearlman, Alex. "Philosophy". IEET. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  22. ^ "Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies - Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights".
  23. ^ Dvorsky, George (December 10, 2013). "Experts Gather at Yale to Discuss Whether Animals Are People". Gizmodo. G/O Media. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  24. ^ Personhood Beyond the Human Conference, Kurzweil, (Retrieved Dec 30, 2014).
  25. ^ Conference: Personhood Beyond the Human, Figure / Ground, (Retrieved Dec. 30, 2014).
  26. ^ Personhood Beyond the Human, (Retrieved Dec. 30, 2014).
  27. ^ "Michael Mountain, Personhood Beyond the Human, Nonhuman Rights Project, (April 16, 2013)". Archived from the original on December 31, 2014.
  28. ^ Events, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, (Retrieved Dec. 30, 2014).
  29. ^ "Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies - Programs and Activities". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  30. ^ "EROS EVOLVING - the future of love, sex, marriage and beauty". Eventbrite. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  31. ^ "Brin, Baum, Pellissier @ Global Existential Risks and Radical Futures". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  32. ^ a b c Smith, Wesley (June 6, 2012). "Transhumanism is Religion for Atheists". National Review. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  33. ^ Smith, Wesley (February 13, 2011). "Transhumanist Launch Campaign for Animal Personhood". National Review. Retrieved February 27, 2015.

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