Technology can liberate human potential from the constraints of nature, while democracy can liberate human potential from the constraints of society. But technology also can be used to intensify oppression and inequality. Democracy also can be used to discourage the advance of knowledge, science, and prosperity. In order to fulfill the Enlightenment‘s promise of a brighter future, technoprogressives advocate uniting technological innovation with the struggle for a more democratic world.
Technology can only empower when it is safe, widely accessible, and when its use is accountable. Technological innovation requires an open society that respects the right to free inquiry, and that provides democratic support for education, basic research, and the legal and regulatory environment that nurtures innovation. Technological enablement is a precondition for equal opportunity and presumes that individuals can exercise control over their own bodies, brains, and reproduction. Technological enablement presumes both the right to use technologies and the economic ability to access technologies.
Technoprogressive Declaration (adopted by technoprogressive caucus at Transvision 2014, Paris Nov 21, 2014)
The world is unacceptably unequal and dangerous. Emerging technologies could make things dramatically better or worse. Unfortunately too few people yet understand the dimensions of both the threats and rewards that humanity faces. It is time for technoprogressives, transhumanists and futurists to step up our political engagement and attempt to influence the course of events.
Our core commitment is that both technological progress and democracy are required for the ongoing emancipation of humanity from its constraints. Partisans of the promises of the Enlightenment, we have many cousins in other movements for freedom and social justice. We must build solidarity with these movements, even as we intervene to point to the radical possibilities of technologies that they often ignore. With our fellow futurists and transhumanists we must intervene to insist that technologies are well-regulated and made universally accessible in strong and just societies. Technology could exacerbate inequality and catastrophic risks in the coming decades, or especially if democratized and well-regulated, ensure longer, healthy and more enabled lives for growing numbers of people, and a stronger and more secure civilization.
Beginning with our shared commitment to individual self-determination we can build solidarity with
- Organizations defending workers and the unemployed, as technology transforms work and the economy
- The movement for reproductive rights, around access to contraception, abortion, assisted reproduction and genomic choice
- The movement for drug law reform around the defense of cognitive liberty
- The disability rights movement around access to assistive and curative technologies
- Sexual and gender minorities around the right to bodily self-determination
- Digital rights movements around new freedoms and means of expression and organization
We call for dramatically expanded governmental research into anti-aging therapies, and universal access to those therapies as they are developed in order to make much longer and healthier lives accessible to everybody. We believe that there is no distinction between “therapies” and “enhancement.” The regulation of drugs and devices needs reform to speed their approval.
As artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies increasingly destroy more jobs than they create, and senior citizens live longer, we must join in calling for a radical reform of the economic system. All persons should be liberated from the necessity of the toil of work. Every human being should be guaranteed an income, healthcare, and life-long access to education.
We must join in working for the expansion of rights to all persons, human or not.
We must join with movements working to reduce existential risks, educating them about emerging threats they don’t yet take seriously, and proposing ways that emerging technologies can help reduce those risks. Transnational cooperation can meet the man-made and natural threats that we face.
It is time for technoprogressives to step forward and work together for a brighter future.