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Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Edward O. Wilson’s Dull Paradise

Transhumanism Needs to Establish a Meaning to Life

The Lima Accord on Climate Change – A New Hope for Health?

Anti-Koch: The Fight For Green Energy is a Fight for the 99 Percent

Fairness on the Public Airwaves

10 Reasons Popular Versions of Christian Heaven Would be Hell


ieet books

How “God” Works: A Logical Inquiry on Faith
Author
Marshall Brain

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Martine Rothblatt

A Taxonomy and Metaphysics of Mind-Uploading
Keith Wiley

A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century
Ilia Stambler


comments

CygnusX1 on 'Transhumanism Needs to Establish a Meaning to Life' (Jan 31, 2015)

CygnusX1 on 'Can We Avoid a Surveillance State Dystopia?' (Jan 30, 2015)

instamatic on 'If There Are Gods, They Are Evil' (Jan 29, 2015)

Lincoln Cannon on 'The End of Religion Misrecognized' (Jan 29, 2015)

Pastor_Alex on 'If There Are Gods, They Are Evil' (Jan 29, 2015)

kddubb on 'The End of Religion Misrecognized' (Jan 29, 2015)

CygnusX1 on 'Cosmic Evolution and the Meaning of Life' (Jan 29, 2015)







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JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Bad luck and cancer – did the media get it wrong?
Jan 3, 2015
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The End of Religion: Technology and the Future
Jan 24, 2015
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(5) Comments

#2 Editor’s Choice Award: 2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?
Jan 9, 2015
(6496) Hits
(0) Comments

#3 Editor’s Choice Award: Why and How Should We Build a Basic Income for Every Citizen?
Jan 5, 2015
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RSS feedETHICAL TECHNOLOGY

Marcelo Rinesi

And Call it Justice (Science Fiction)

by Marcelo Rinesi

In a Texas left empty by global warming, the last outlaw and the last lawman face each other over a crime that might be too big for justice.

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George Dvorsky

How Humanity Will Conquer Space Without Rockets

by George Dvorsky

Getting out of Earth’s gravity well is hard. Conventional rockets are expensive, wasteful, and as we’re frequently reminded, very dangerous. Thankfully, there are alternative ways of getting ourselves and all our stuff off this rock. Here’s how we’ll get from Earth to space in the future.

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Ilia Stambler

Longevity in the Ancient Middle East and the Islamic Tradition

by Ilia Stambler

The Middle East has often been perceived as a constantly belligerent area, where human life has been held cheap, since the time of despots and tribal wars well to the present. Yet, in fact, the Middle East would be more appropriately seen as a cradle of civilization, where many ideas of human development had their roots, where many technological and scientific concepts were first formulated, and where the goals of preserving and extending human life, even ideas of radically extended longevity, have been pronounced among the earliest.

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Melanie Swan

Blockchains as an Equality Technology

by Melanie Swan

The advent of blockchain technology has prompted the questioning of many concepts that have been taken for granted for years such as money, currency, markets, economics, politics, citizenship, governance, authority, and self-determination.

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Review the Future: What is Technoprogressivism?

Review the Future

In this episode, we talk with Trinity College professor and Institute for Ethics in Emerging Technology (IEET) founder Dr. James Hughes about the political term Technoprogressive and the recent Technoprogressive Declaration he helped develop (and we here at RTF have signed). Hughes contextualizes the movement as a new, techno-optimistic wing of the traditional Enlightenment liberal project, and portrays Technoprogressivism as the left wing counterpart to the noisy Libertarian wing of the futurist movement. We talk about the position of the technoprogressive movement on a host of issues, including universal basic income, longevity enhancement, and how to promote a techno-optimistic viewpoint specifically within the American Left, which has developed a sometimes-justified suspicion of technological solutions to problems.

Podcast: Play in new window | Please Click Here if the Above Audio Does not Play in your Browswer

Relevant Links

 

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Amon Twyman

The Transhumanist Party Wants You!

by Amon Twyman

Developments with the new Transhumanist Party (TP) in Europe have been very rapid in the last few days. A couple of days after Christmas, the only TP to exist was in the USA. Now, only two weeks later, there are groups working toward registered parties in seven European countries, an emerging umbrella organisation for the European parties, and another group in Australia for good measure. You can find details of all these groups at http://transhumanistparty.eu.

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The Dynamic Future of Neuroscience

TEDxJacksonville

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. In her TEDxJacksonville talk, she vividly depicts the incalculable value of memory and movement, and the devastating biological effects of these diseases on the brain. She also details recent advances in computing technology that may help elucidate treatment targets for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. “We are now building revolutionary computer simulations of neurons,” she explains, “so we can have better insight into the molecular behaviors of neural cells so we can see a play-by-play of the interworking of neurons rather than static pictures frozen in time.”

Dr. Spring Behrouz is a self-confessed neuroscience nerd who is passionate about finding meaningful solutions for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Richard Eskow

Populism Rises – And The ‘Center’ Strikes Back

by Richard Eskow

“Americans don’t want angry, defensive figures running for president,” Democratic operative Will Marshall told McClatchy’s David Lightman this week. But who, precisely, is angry and defensive? As the pushback to Wall Street’s influence on government grows stronger, it is the banking industry’s supporters who sound enraged. And as economic populism gains traction in Democratic circles, it is corporate Democrats like Marshall who find themselves increasingly on the defensive.

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Brain/Mind Discoveries and Mysteries

UBC

As part of a feature story, Synapse of Discovery, produced for ubc.ca, Co-Directors of the Djavad Mowfaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC were asked what they thought about the future of brain research, what mystery they most want to know the brain, and how the centre for brain health is leading the way in research on brain health. Explore their answers in this series:

An Old Dichotomy:

The Race Against Brain Disease

Improving the Health of our Brains

The Golden Age of Neuroscience

Unlocking the Mystery of the Brain

Message from the Co-Directors of The Centre For Brain Health:

Our civilization is in a period of remarkable growth in understanding the brain. Advances in neuroscience will impact society in ways that we are only now beginning to see. Discoveries in genetics, imaging, proteomics, and epidemiology are coming together to provide a profound understanding of brain function, structure, and connectivity. These discoveries, many from neuroscientists based at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, offer unprecedented insights into how brain disruption is caused in neurological and psychiatric diseases and provide hope for innovative therapies in the future. Fueled by these advances and the tremendous societal need for new treatments, the field of brain research is attracting interest from both scientists and the public alike.

The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health integrates patient care with research in psychiatry, neurology and rehabilitation, all under one roof, and will incorporate rehabilitation and a healthy aging program. The building has been designed to facilitate the “water cooler effect” on a large scale. By bringing together experts from different disciplines and having them work in close proximity with one another, we facilitate opportunities for knowledge exchange, professional development, and developing new collaborative approaches to brain research. In this new collaborative space, we will be better poised to move research from the bedside to the bench and back again, in order to understand disease and translate research into better patient care and therapies. It also offers an extraordinary milieu for trainees from a broad range of disciplines to come together and focus on fundamental, clinical and translational neuroscience

The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health builds on the success of researchers, clinicians, and students at the Brain Research Centre who have made many remarkable advances over the years. By enhancing existing strengths in basic, clinical, and translational research and education, the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health will establish itself as a world leading institution for brain health research and treatment, right here in British Columbia.

Brian A. MacVicar, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS
Co-director, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

A. Jon Stoessl, CM, MD, FRCPC, FAAN, FCAHS
Co-director, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

 

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Ayesha Khanna

Disciplining the Sharing Economy

by Ayesha Khanna

The increasing ability of people to exchange goods, services, and labor directly, via online platforms, is transforming how modern economies operate. But to ensure that the rise of the “sharing economy” works efficiently and improves conditions for all parties, some regulation is needed.

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John G. Messerly

Does Religion Give Meaning to Life?

by John G. Messerly

Some defend the idea that the meaning of life depends on religion. In the next few days I will summarize what a few of these thinkers have to say. My brief responses are in [brackets.] For more thorough replies see my recent book.

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John Danaher

Longer Lives and the Alleged Tedium of Immortality

by John Danaher

Back in 1973, Bernard Williams published an article about the desirability of immortality. The article was entitled “The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality”. The article used the story of Elina Makropulos — from Janacek’s opera The Makropulos Affair — to argue that immortality would not be desirable. According to the story, Elina Makropulos is given the elixir of life by her father. The elixir allows Elina to live for three hundred years at her current biological age. After this period has elapsed, she has to choose whether to take the elixir again and live for another three hundred. She takes it once, lives her three hundred years, and then chooses to die rather than live another three hundred. Why? Because she has become bored with her existence.

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Panel Discussion on Brain, Mind, Neuroscience, and Computer Science (1hr 20min)

computingresearch

Matthew Botvinick is Professor of Psychology at Princeton University

Naomi Feldman is an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics and Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland with a focus in computational psycholinguistics.

Konrad Kording is an Associate Professor at Northwestern University, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiology, and Applied Mathematics, Research scientist and CI Chair, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Rajesh P. N. Rao is a professor of Computer Science & Engineering at University of Washington

Dr. Stefan Schaal Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California, and a Founding Director of the Max-Planck-Insitute for Intelligent Systems in Tuebingen, Germany.

CRA’s mission is to enhance innovation by joining with industry, government and academia to strengthen research and advanced education in computing. CRA executes this mission by leading the computing research community, informing policymakers and the public, and facilitating the development of strong, diverse talent in the field.

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Valerie Tarico

Who Aborts the Most Fertilized Eggs? Families Like the Duggars

by Valerie Tarico

A woman who values fertilized eggs or who believes her deity does should use the most highly effective contraceptive available. Most fertilized eggs spontaneously abort during the first weeks of life. Estimates of death before implantation range as high as 80 percent and bottom out around 45.

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Rick Searle

#2 Editor’s Choice Award: 2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots?

by Rick Searle

Looked at in a certain light, Adrian Hon’s History of the Future in 100 Objects can be seen as giving us a window into a fictionalized version of an intermediate technological stage we may be entering. It is the period when the gains in artificial intelligence are clearly happening, but they have yet to completely replace human intelligence. The question if it AI ever will actually replace us is not of interest to me here. It certainly won’t be tomorrow, and technological prediction beyond a certain limited horizon is a fool’s game.

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People Fly A Brain-Controlled Helicopter

BuzzFeedBlue

A brain–computer interface (BCI), sometimes called a mind-machine interface (MMI), direct neural interface (DNI), synthetic telepathy interface (STI) or brain–machine interface (BMI), is a direct communication pathway between the brain and an external device. BCIs are often directed at assisting, augmenting, or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions.

Research on BCIs began in the 1970s at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) under a grant from the National Science Foundation, followed by a contract from DARPA.[1][2] The papers published after this research also mark the first appearance of the expression brain–computer interface in scientific literature.

The field of BCI research and development has since focused primarily on neuroprosthetics applications that aim at restoring damaged hearing, sight and movement. Thanks to the remarkable cortical plasticity of the brain, signals from implanted prostheses can, after adaptation, be handled by the brain like natural sensor or effector channels.[3] Following years of animal experimentation, the first neuroprosthetic devices implanted in humans appeared in the mid-1990s.

The history of brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) starts with Hans Berger’s discovery of the electrical activity of the human brain and the development of electroencephalography (EEG). In 1924 Berger was the first to record human brain activity by means of EEG. Berger was able to identify oscillatory activity in the brain by analyzing EEG traces. One wave he identified was the alpha wave (8–13 Hz), also known as Berger’s wave.

Berger’s first recording device was very rudimentary. He inserted silver wires under the scalps of his patients. These were later replaced by silver foils attached to the patients’ head by rubber bandages. Berger connected these sensors to a Lippmann capillary electrometer, with disappointing results. More sophisticated measuring devices, such as the Siemens double-coil recording galvanometer, which displayed electric voltages as small as one ten thousandth of a volt, led to success.

Berger analyzed the interrelation of alternations in his EEG wave diagrams with brain diseases. EEGs permitted completely new possibilities for the research of human brain activities.

-wikipedia

 

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Richard Eskow

Time To Get Real On Jobs, Wages And Growth

by Richard Eskow

If Democrats don’t make the right choice now, they may not have the chance to make economic policy – not for a long time to come. There’s been a lot of economic recovery talk lately, but most people will probably tell you that things still aren’t that great. Most Americans – 99 percent of them or so – are still struggling. Economic inequality is soaring, social mobility is declining, earnings at most income levels are stagnant or falling, and the percentage of working-age Americans who are actually working is at a record low.

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John Danaher

Enhancement and authenticity: Is it all about being true to our selves?

by John Danaher

I’ve met Erik Parens twice; he seems like a thoroughly nice fellow. I say this because I’ve just been reading his latest book Shaping Our Selves: On Technology, Flourishing and a Habit of Thinking, and it is noticeable how much of his personality shines through in the book. Indeed, the book opens with a revealing memoir of Parens’s personal life and experiences in bioethics, specifically in the enhancement debate. What’s more, Parens’s frustrations with the limiting and binary nature of much philosophical debate is apparent throughout his book.

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piero scaruffi

The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

by piero scaruffi

The "transactional" interpretation of Quantum Mechanics was devised by John Cramer in 1986 to provide a complete and consistent interpretation of Quantum Mechanics without introducing new elements.The story begins in 1925 when, de facto, Heisenberg made a metaphysical revolution by surrendering the concept of reality in favor of the concept of observables: we can't know what really exists, we can only know what we can observe. Kastner points out that Heisenberg's metaphysical move was essential to discovering a theory that turned out to correctly predict observation.

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Ayesha Khanna

Inspire children to study technology

by Ayesha Khanna

Across the world, including here in Australia, schools are witnessing a decline in senior high school students choosing to study science and mathematics. Without significant investment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineeering and Math) education, Australia will lose innovation competitiveness, believes Ayesha Khanna, CEO of Technology Quotient and Editorial Director of Look Ahead, a series on innovation trends published by The Economist Group and GE. Here, she stresses that it’s high time to make science and technology relevant and appealing for children.

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Arthur Caplan

Bioethicist: Why Connecticut Teen Can’t Say No to Chemo

by Arthur Caplan

A 17-year-old girl, listed in court papers only as Cassandra C., is in protective custody at a Connecticut hospital where she is being forced to undergo chemotherapy treatment that she says she does not want. Americans strongly value the right to refuse medical care.

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Dreaming as Virtual Reality (1hr)

ISPA - Instituto Universitário

John Allan Hobson (born June 3, 1933) is an American psychiatrist and dream researcher. He is known for his research on rapid eye movement sleep. He is Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Organic psychosis, formerly known as organic brain syndrome, refers to a wide group of psychological and behavioral abnormalities thought to be secondary to a disturbance in brain structure or function, although the specific cause is unknown. These abnormalities in brain function may be temporary or permanent. An organic cause is suspected when there is no indication of a clearly defined psychiatric or “inorganic” cause such as a mood disorder. However, as more is understood about derangement in the brain chemistry underlying psychiatric disorders, the distinction between organic and inorganic processes has become increasingly unclear.

Now the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision) has broken up the diagnoses that once fell under the diagnostic category organic mental disorder into three categories: delirium, dementia, and amnestic and other cognitive disorders; mental disorders due to a general medical condition; and substance-related disorders. This change was made because the descriptive word organic gives the false impression that conditions that are not organic have no biological explanation. An example of a mental disorder due to a general medical condition is major depression caused by hypothyroidism. An example of substance-related disorder is psychosis secondary to drug abuse.

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The Emergence of Ordinary Objects

Rotman Institute of Philosophy

Jessica Wilson, University of Toronto on The Emergence of Ordinary Objects. Jessica M. Wilson is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, Scarborough and Regular Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on metaphysics, especially on the metaphysics of science and mind, the epistemologies of skepticism, a priori deliberation, and necessity. Wilson was awarded the Lebowitz Prize for excellence in philosophical thought by Phi Beta Kappa in conjunction with the American Philosophical Association. She is known for introducing the ‘proper subset strategy’ for linking higher-level entities to their realizers through sets of causal powers, and for her defense of the idea that ordinary metaphysical relations are well-suited to characterize metaphysical dependencies.

 

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Shots of Awe: CINEMA: Painting in Time

Shots of Awe

Jason Silva is a media artist, futurist, philosopher, keynote speaker and TV personality.

He is the creator of Shots of Awe, a short film series of “trailers for the mind” that serve as philosophical espresso shots exploring innovation, technology creativity, futurism and the metaphysics of the imagination.
Shots of Awe has received more than 13 million views. He is also the Emmy nominated host of National Geographic Channel’s hit TV series Brain Games, airing in over 100 countries.

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Morality for a Godless Generation

TEDx Talks

The number of atheists is rising, particularly among millenials. For many of these individuals, they are faced with a challenge of doing good without god. Tyler Alterman describes his experience with atheism and effective altruism, and how we can use reason to do good better.

Tyler is a J.K. Watson Fellow, Goldsmith Scholar, and recent graduate of CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College. Once a CUNY BA major in cognitive science and communications design, he has since combined these passions to help create campaigns raising over $300K with nonprofit DonorsChoose.org, co-author an upcoming book on environmental psychology with Columbia’s Earth Institute for Environmental Sustainability, and design public health messaging under the president of Yale. As part of his honors thesis, Tyler co-founded The Think Tank, a science education nonprofit at the University of Chicago. As a member of Leverage Research in the Bay Area, Tyler now works as a crusader and movement builder for Effective Altruism.

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Glenn McGee

Teaching Bitcoin

by Glenn McGee

I read about the development of a new course at NYU on Bitcoin, and a light went on: this is the experiential education opportunity of the decade. Maybe. For a little while. Cautionary tale or emerging new currency or digital fluke…I’m not sure. But what I do know is that this is an opportunity to engage students in an active way in the analysis of an emerging phenomenon that follows in so many different ways from other, fascinating parts of the global economy, high-technology society, and digital subculture.

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Zoltan Istvan

Transhumanism Grew Rapidly in 2014

by Zoltan Istvan

The transhumanism movement is starting to appear everywhere It was a great year for transhumanism. The concept of transhumanism and the movement appeared everywhere, from features in mainstream media to international conferences to Hollywood blockbuster movies. I’m especially pleased by how much the word transhumanism appeared in the press and on television.

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Giulio Prisco

Cosmism in “Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity”

by Giulio Prisco

Legendary cyberculture icon (and iconoclast) R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell have written a delicious funcyclopedia of the Singularity, transhumanism, and radical futurism, just published on January 1. The book includes a short chapter dedicated to my favorite interpretation of these things – Cosmism – with a short and accurate high-level summary.

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A transhumanist manifesto for the UK?

Transhumanist Party Manifesto

This online video conference meeting (Streamed live on Dec 30, 2014) is a chance to review ideas for a possible “Transhumanist Manifesto” for the UK general election in May 2015.

The next United Kingdom general election will be the election to the 56th Parliament of the United Kingdom, to be held in 2015. The terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (as amended by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013) mandate dissolution of the present 55th Parliament on 30 March 2015 and that the election will be held on 7 May 2015, unless the House of Commons votes for an earlier date. There are local elections scheduled to take place on the same day across most of England, with the notable exception of London. There are no additional elections scheduled to take place in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, apart from any forthcoming local by-elections.

As of 5 Jan, 2015:
See Revisions Here

Transhumanist Party Manifesto

Draft (still needs review and wordsmithing). v0.40, 3.10pm, 6th January 2015

 


 

Transhumanism is the viewpoint that human society should embrace, wisely, thoughtfully, and compassionately, the radical transformational potential of technology.

The Transhumanist Party calls for:

  1. Moonshot projects to take full advantage of accelerating technology.

In more detail, we call for:

  1. Economic and personal liberation via the longevity dividend from regenerative medicine

  2. An inclusive new social contract in the light of technological disruption

  3. A proactionary regulatory system to fast-track innovative breakthroughs

  4. Reform of democratic processes with new digital tools

  5. Education transformed in readiness for a radically different future

  6. A transhumanist rights agenda for the coming transhumanist age

  7. An affirmative new perspective on existential risks.

Each point is explained in more detail in the Transhumanist Party Manifesto (below).

 


 

Transhumanist Party Manifesto

1. Moonshot projects to take full advantage of accelerating technology

Accelerating technological progress has the potential to transform lives in the next ten years more profoundly than in any preceding ten year period in history.Radical technological changes are coming sooner than people think, in technology fields such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, renewable energy, regenerative medicine, brain sciences, big data analytics, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Together, these technologies will change society in unexpected ways, disrupting familiar patterns of industry, lifestyle, and thinking.These changes include the potential for tremendous benefits for both the individual and society, as well as the potential for tremendous risk.

Current policymakers rarely tackle the angle of convergent disruptive technologies, which means they react to each new disruption with surprise, after it appears, rather than anticipating it with informed policy and strategy.

Politicians of all parties urgently need to:

  • Think through the consequences of these changes in advance
  • Take part in a wide public discussion and exploration of these forthcoming changes
  • Adjust public policy in order to favour positive outcomes
  • Support Apollo-like “moonshot projects” to take full advantage of accelerating technology - projects with the uplifting vision and scale of the 1960s Apollo program.

These moonshot projects can:

  • Enable humans to transcend (overcome) many of the deeply debilitating, oppressive, and risky aspects of our lives
  • Allow everyone a much wider range of personal autonomy, choice, experience, and fulfilment
  • Facilitate dramatically improved international relations, social harmony, and a sustainable new cooperation with nature and the environment.

The policies in this manifesto are designed to expedite these positive transformations whilst avoiding adverse consequences.

2. Economic and personal liberation via the longevity dividend from regenerative medicine

Given adequate resources, human longevity could be enormously extended using technologies which are already broadly understood. Prolonging healthy lifespan would clearly benefit the very large number of citizens concerned, and it would also benefit society by preserving and deepening the experience and wisdom available to solve our various social problems.

Transhumanists aspire to indefinite healthy life extension. Rejuvenation therapies can and should be developed and progressively made available to all citizens. The resulting “longevity dividend” will have large social and economic benefits, as well as personal ones. We do not believe it would impose a dangerous pressure on resources. We call for a new moonshot project with the specific goal of ameliorating the degenerative aging process and significantly extending healthy human lifespan.

A practical suggestion is that 20% of the public research funding that currently goes to specific diseases should be reassigned, instead, to researching solutions to aging. In line with the analysis of e.g. SENS, the “ending aging” angle is likely to provide promising lines of research and solutions to many diseases, such as senile dementia (including Alzheimer’s), cancer, heart disease, motor neurone disease, respiratory diseases, and stroke.

3. An inclusive new social contract in the light of technological disruption

Emerging technologies – in particular automation – are likely to impose significant strains on the current economic model. It is far from clear how this will play out, nor what are the best strategies for response. Society and its leaders need to consider and discuss these changes, and draw up plans to deal with different outcome scenarios.

Transhumanists anticipate that accelerating technological unemployment may cause growing social disruption and increased social inequality and alienation. A new social contract is needed, involving appropriate social, educational, and economic support for those who are left with no viable option of 'earning a living' due to unprecedented technological change.

A form of “negative income tax” (as proposed by Milton Friedman) or a “basic income guarantee” could provide the basis for this new social contract. Some observers feel it may take an Apollo-scale program to fully design and implement these changes in our social welfare systems. However, political parties around the world have developed promising models, backed up by significant research, for how universal basic income might be implemented in a cost-effective manner. The transhumanist party wishes to act on the best of these insights.

A practical suggestion is to repeat the 1970s Canadian “Minincome” guaranteed income experiment in several different locations, over longer periods than the initial experiments, and to monitor the outcome. Further references can be found here and here.

4. A proactionary regulatory system to fast-track innovative breakthroughs

The so-called “precautionary principle” preferred by some risk-averse policy makers is often self-defeating: seeking to avoid all risks can itself pose many risks. The precautionary principle frequently hinders intelligent innovation. The “proactionary principle” is a better stance, in which risks are assessed and managed in a balanced way, rather than always avoided. Any bias in favour of the status quo should be challenged, with an eye on better futures that can be created.

Transhumanists observe that many potentially revolutionary therapies are under research, but current drug development has become increasingly slow and expensive (as summarised by “Eroom's law”). Translational research is doing badly, in part due to current drug regulations which are increasingly out of step with public opinion, actual usage, and technology.In practical terms, the Transhumanist Party recommends:

  • Streamlining regulatory approval for new medicines, in line with recommendations by e.g. CASMI in the UK
  • Removing any arbitrary legal distinction between “therapies for ill-health” and “therapies for enhancement”.

5. Reform of democratic processes with new digital tools

The underpinnings of a prosperous, democratic, open society include digital rights, trusted, safe identities, and the ability to communicate freely. Transhumanists wish to:

  • Accelerate the development and deployment of tools ensuring personal privacy and improved cyber-security

  • Extend governmental open data initiatives

  • Champion the adoption of “Democracy 2.0” online digital tools to improve knowledge-sharing, fact-checking, and collective decision-making

  • Increase the usefulness and effectiveness of online petitions

  • Restrict the undue influence which finance can have over the electoral and legislative process.

Government policy should be based on evidence rather than ideology:

  • Insights from the emerging field of cognitive biases should be adapted into decision-making processes

  • New committees and organisations should be designed according to debiasing knowledge, so they are less likely to suffer groupthink

  • AI systems should be increasingly used to support smart decision making.

All laws restricting free-speech based on the concept of “personal offence” should be revoked.

Smarter forms of international cooperation should reduce costs from duplicated efforts, resulting in significant savings for the transformational moonshot projects described in this manifesto.

6. Education transformed in readiness for a radically different future

A greater proportion of time spent in education and training (whether formal or informal) should be future-focused, exploring

  • Which future scenarios are technically feasible, and which are fantasies

  • Which future scenarios are desirable, once their “future shock” has been accepted

  • What actions can be taken to accelerate the desirable outcomes, and avoid the undesirable ones

  • How to achieve an interdisciplinary understanding of future scenarios

  • How resilience can be promoted, rather than society just having a focus on efficiency

  • How creativity can be promoted, rather than society just having a focus on consumption

  • The intelligent management of risk.

Lifelong training and education should become the norm, with people of all ages learning new skills as the need becomes apparent in the new age of automation. Educational curricula need to be able to adapt rapidly.

We would mandate that each university and educational establishment makes an increasing proportion of its material freely accessible online every year.

Education should take greater advantage of MOOCs, and the possibility for people having their knowledge certified without enrolling in a traditional college. MOOCs can be usefully complemented with location based learning labs ("makerspaces") absorbing some of existing library empty space, preserving the "open knowledge" of libraries and expanding it into "open education and learning". The Transhumanist Party anticipates a time where, apart from lab work, the whole of tertiary education will be delivered online.

We urge revisions in patent and copyright laws to discourage hoarding of intellectual property:

  • Reduce the time periods of validity of patents in certain industry areas

  • Make it much less likely that companies can be granted “obvious” patents that give them a throat-choke on subsequent development in an industry area

  • Explore the feasibility of alternative and complementary schemes for facilitating open innovation, such as reputation economies or prize funds.

7. A transhumanist rights agenda for the coming transhumanist age

Transhumanists wish to:

  • Hasten the adoption of synthetic (in-vitro) meat, and the abolition of cruelty to farm animals

  • Explore the gradual applicability of selected human rights to sentient beings, such as primates, that demonstrate relevant mental life, and also advanced AIs, that need such rights to function in their respective purpose.

Transhumanists champion the concept of morphological freedom:

  • The rights of all people, including sexual and gender minorities, to bodily self-determination

  • Free access to modern reproductive technologies, including genetic screening, for all prospective parents

  • Making it easier for people, if they so choose, to enter a state of cryonic suspension as their bodies come close to clinical death.

Transhumanists envision support a radical future for consciousness:

  • Enhanced mental cooperation as minds become more interconnected via brain-to-computer interfaces and other foreseeable brain/mind technologies, which will enable the ability to share qualia at rapid speeds.

8. An affirmative new perspective on existential risks

Some emerging technologies – in particular artificial general intelligence and nanotechnology - are so powerful as to produce changes more dramatic than anything since the agricultural revolution. The outcomes could be extraordinarily positive for humanity, or they could threaten our very existence.

Existing technologies are already posing potential existential risks to the well-being of humanity: consider nuclear weapons, and the risks of accelerated climate change (triggered, according to scientific consensus, by unchecked emissions of greenhouse gases).

Transhumanists believe, without being complacent, that sustained human innovation can mitigate all these risks, once they are fully understood. We call for significant resources to be applied to working out how to ensure that the outcomes are positive.

The wise management of these existential risks is likely to involve innovations in technology (e.g. the development and production of cleaner energy sources), economics (e.g. a carbon tax to redress the market failure of unpenalized negative externalities), and politics (e.g. the collaborative creation and enforcement of binding treaties). The end outcome will be the successful harnessing of technologies, both old and new, for the radical enhancement of humanity.

 


 

Next steps

To support the Transhumanist Party:

 


 

About this document

(This section will be removed from the public version of the document.)

To be added to the set of people with the ability to add comments to this document, please contact the lead editor, David Wood.

(In that case, you’ll also see the comments that other reviewers have added.)

When finished, this document will represent the views of the UK Transhumanist Party (name to be confirmed). It contains an agenda of policy recommendations that politicians will be urged to support during the campaigning for the UK General Election held on 7th May 2015.

Significant parts of this document may be useful to Transhumanist Parties in other countries.

Relevant online links:

See here for an archive of the previous text of this document.

To see comments that have been resolved (e.g. proposed textual changes), click on the Comments button at the top right. (This requires that you are logged in with a Google account that has been granted access to comment on this document.)

Contributors to this document (or previous versions) include: Julian Snape, Alexander Karran, Dirk Bruere, Anders Sandberg, Amon Twyman, Calum Chace, Johan Paulsson, Nikola Sivacki, Peter Morgan, Ilia Stambler, David Pearce, Kris Notaro, Tero Keski-Valkama, Ben Goertzel, Natasha Vita-More, Michael Hrenka


In the general election, voting will take place in all parliamentary constituencies of the United Kingdom to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to seats in the House of Commons, the lower house of the Parliament.

This will be the 55th general election for the United Kingdom since 1801 (earlier elections took place for parliaments in Great Britain and Ireland), though the resultant Parliament will be the 56th, as the first Parliament came about after the co-option of members from the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland.

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Why we should give everyone a basic income

TEDx Talks

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Rutger Bregman (1988) studied at Utrecht University and the University of California in Los Angeles, majoring in History. In September 2013 Bregman joined the online journalism platform De Correspondent. His article on basic income was nominated for the European Press Prize and was published by The Washington Post.

In September 2013 Bregman joined the online journalism platform ‘De Correspondent’. His article on basic income was nominated for the European Press Prize and was subsequently also published by the American newspaper The Washington Post. In September 2014 his newest book ‘Gratis geld voor iedereen En nog vijf grote ideeën die de wereld kunnen veranderen’ came out.

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