A Transhumanist Explores a New Type of Community – Zoltan Istvan Interviews Amon Twyman

In this interview from Psychology Today (entitled A Transhumanist Explores a New Type of Community), Dr. Amon Twyman discusses the Zero State community, the WAVE Network, and transhumanism with Zoltan Istvan.  


 

Dr. Amon Twyman – Photo by Joanna Twyman

Source: Joanna Twyman

Rapid advances in technology are paving the way for new ideas about the future, including those of the communities we live in. I had a chance to catch up with transhumanist, Zero State founder, andcognitive scientist Dr. Amon Twyman, who is a leader of one such community that is exloring new directions for the betterment of humanity.

Q. Dr. Twyman, What is Zero State?

A. Zero State(link is external) (ZS) is a community that grew out of the transhumanist movement back in 2011. It’s now part of a broad coalition of groups and movements that we call WAVE(link is external), referring to a coming wave of radical technological and social change. The basic ZS idea is to create networks of people and resources which could evolve into a distributed, virtual State. Right now there are only a few thousand ZSers (albeit well connected to much larger networks), but in a hypothetical full-blown Zero State there would be tens of millions or more, all supporting each other and being part of a single nation no matter where they live in the world. Our motto is “positive social change through technology.”

Q. How does transhumanism(link is external) relate to ZS?

A. Our core principles and ideas are deliberately compatible with transhumanism. That comes naturally, as ZS grew out of transhumanism and our most active “citizens” tend to self-identify as Transhumanists. That said, it’s important to stress that people don’t have to be transhumanists to join ZS. More generally, we consider ourselves to be a “Social Futurist” community, which is to say that we believe technological breakthroughs don’t happen in a social vacuum. There are social, economic, and political issues which not only stubbornly continue to exist in the face of techno-optimism, but which are sometimes greatly exacerbated by technological change. In short, we believe that technology should be applied to improving the human condition on both physiological and societal levels.

Zero State logo

Source: Dr. Amon Twyman

 

Q. How can ZS help the world?

A. In the first instance, we are focused on helping ZS’ citizens, or more accurately, helping them to help each other. An increasing number of people are finding themselves in need of help of one type or another these days, and we would like to demonstrate that mutual support is made more achievable than ever before thanks to the power of cutting-edge technologies. We tend to focus on bringing together people and ways to access current technologies such as meshnets, cryptocurrency, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, while exploring ideas such as longevity, super-intelligence & wellbeing, accelerating change, and direct democratic action to circumvent obsolete political institutions. Beyond working to help our own people, we actively work to support the wider network of like-minded groups and believe that compassionately, intelligently applied technology has the potential to improve the lives of everybody in the world.

Q. How did you come to be the founder of ZS?

A. My background is in a combination of psychological research (consciousness anddecision making, Artificial Intelligence) and digital & performing arts. Although I’d read my fair share of science fiction as a kid, I decided I was a transhumanist while studying at university, after reading “Mind Children” by Hans Moravec. Over time, my various interests in art, science, transhumanism, and contemporary social/political issues coalesced into a coherent worldview, and I eventually decided to form an organization to pursue these ideas. The result, Zero State, was heavily informed by my experience as a co-founder of the UK Transhumanist Association, which has since evolved into Humanity+ UK. I started building WAVE, the broader network ZS is part of, two years later. That was once we’d had time to realize that there was a bigger picture emerging; a large number of like-minded groups forming to address a vast array of specific issues with a common outlook. That common outlook is characterized by technological savvy, distaste for old thinking and limits, and a keen awareness of social issues.

A. What does the future hold for ZS?

Q. ZS-affiliated project groups continue to work on developing tools for our members. A lot of these projects are collaborative and many have a distinctly transhumanist flavor, such as experimentation with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (using electrical charge to help concentration—work being done in collaboration with Dirk Bruere and Andrew Vladimirov). Some of the projects seem more like simple fun than serious experimentation at first glance—such as the ZSers building Minecraft environments in which to test their AI software—but that’s half the point; For people to do something useful and have fun at the same time. Our most vigorous efforts are currently going into WAVE, expanding the wider, networked context in which ZS operates, doing what we can to help out like-minded groups. We’ve been establishing connections with large networks, such as The Zeitgeist Movement and an emerging coalition of online transhumanist organizations. We live in extremely exciting times, with lots of rapid change both good and bad, and it looks like Zero State will soon get its chance to help people help each other in that brave new world. If you believe in the promise of technology, the importance of social justice, and the power of community building then feel free to jump in and join the fun!

Zoltan Istvan is an award-winning journalist, philosopher, and activist. You can find him on Twitter(link is external)Google+(link is external)Facebook(link is external), and LinkedIn(link is external). Zoltan is also the author of the recently published #1 Philosophical bestseller novel The Transhumanist Wager(link is external). Available in ebook or paperback, the controversial novel is a revolutionary reading experience. You can check it out here(link is external).


This interview can also be found here.

 

“Transhumanism, Religion, and Atheism” by Zoltan Istvan

This video (“Transhumanism, Religion, and Atheism” by Zoltan Istvan) features Zoltan Istvan discussing his views on transhumanism and religion.  I can say he’s going to have a tough time in the elections by even mentioning that he is an atheist.  It’s too bad that this topic still sways the general election vote, but there you have it.


Runtime: 22:03


This video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXOXBYr2Z7I

Video Info:

Published on May 29, 2014

At the Transhuman Visions conference on religion and Transhumanism, fourteen speakers from different faiths and positions (Islam, Raelism, Lutheran, Mormon, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Buddhist, Wicca, Urantia, Terasem, Atheism, Agnosticism) discussed the similarities and differences between religion and Transhumanism.

Interview with Transhumanist Zoltan Istvan

Here is an interview from Reason.tv with Zoltan Istvan called What If You Could Live for 10,000 years? Q&A with Transhumanist Zoltan Istvan.  

Zoltan is the transhumanist party’s candidate for US presidency in 2016.  Even though I am not a religious person, I like how Zoltan reconciles transhumanism with religion*.  The interview also covers various other transhumanist ideas and themes.  I still don’t think this will be our next president, but I’m curious to see where his campaign leads us.  At very least, I’m hoping Zoltan’s campaign will bring the transhumanist debate to the forefront of our cultural awareness.

*Personally, I often wonder how many religious people there would be if the concept of hell had never been fabricated (because, really, how evil would you have to be to even allow a hell to exist in the first place?).  

Runtime: 9:58

This video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Pi52PNL_c0

Video Info:

Published on Feb 6, 2015

“I’m not saying let’s live forever,” says Zoltan Istvan, transhumanist author, philosopher, and political candidate. “I think what we want is the choice to be able to live indefinitely. That might be 10,000 years; that might only be 170 years.”

Istvan devoted his life to transhumanism after nearly stepping on an old landmine while reporting for National Geographic channel in Vietnam’s demilitarized zone.

“I’d say the number one goal of transhumanism is trying to conquer death,” says Istvan.

Reason TV’s Zach Weissmueller interviewed Istvan about real-world life-extension technology ranging from robotic hearts to cryogenic stasis, Istvan’s plan to run for president under the banner of the Transhumanist party, the overlap between the LGBT movement and transhumanism, and the role that governments play in both aiding and impeding transhumanist goals.

Approximately 10 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Justin Monticello and Paul Detrick. Music by Anix Gleo and nthnl.

Visit http://reason.com/reasontv for downloadable versions of this interview, and subscribe to Reason TV’s YouTube channel for daily content like this.

Bitcoin Pioneer Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof on Bitnation and M+ (H+ Magazine)

This is an article from H+ Magazine called Interview: Bitcoin Pioneer Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof on Bitnation and M+.  In it, Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof discusses transhumanism her brain child, BitNation.

Interview: Bitcoin Pioneer Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof on Bitnation and M+

Q1 Susanne, h+ Magazine readers may not be familiar with you or your background. Can you give us a brief history of you, a summary of your background with bitcoin and transhumanism and a short intro to what you are currently doing?

1522929_10151799161606417_1370639217_oI grew up in Sweden, my parents where Polish and French immigrants. My father was stateless for many years, which made me question the point of the nation state construct altogether. My passion was politics, and I wanted to make the world more borderless. I started writing about competing non-geographic nations at the age of 20. However, I thought the best way to change things was to work ‘within the system’. Hence to that end, I started working as a contractor for the most powerful government I could find, the US Government. I spent nearly 7 years working as a contractor in various conflict zones, from Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Egypt and Libya — assisting with building and overthrowing governments. However, as time went by, I believed less and less in what the government did, and I started sympathizing more and more with the ‘ungoverned’ societies.  The civil war in Libya was quite a wake up call. When I first came to the rebel controlled territories there was de-facto no government at all (the rebel council were about 10 guys hiding out in a basement, and their sole job was to speak with foreign media to gain recognition for the territories), but yet — everything worked amazingly well. Volunteers were doing everything from trash collection to traffic policing, neighborhood watch and cell tower engineering. But as layers of government got added, security deteriorated.

Around the same time a friend of mine was conducting a study in villages in Southern Afghanistan and South Sudan, measuring the difference between villages with the same socioeconomic and ethnic composition, but different amounts of points of social interaction — like wells, schools, etc. As one would intuitively assume — the study showed that villages with many points of interactions were less prone to violence, than those with few, because even if people – different tribes and ethnicities didn’t get along – just the fact of having to interact on a day to day level over simple things like ‘who should clean the well?’ reduced the level of violence. Fostering collaboration on small, seemingly insignificant tasks also been a common strategy in diplomacy between countries hostile towards each other. Hence, I thought, if we assume this theory to be correct, then wouldn’t Facebook be the biggest experiment for peace in the world ever? The fact of liking someone’s Instagram of their lunch, regardless of political or geographical differences? That would make sense.

10288784_10152094338981417_9031971903898307065_nHence, I went through a brief period of great self-doubt, where I thought what I had done for most of my 20’s was pretty much either not very significant in terms of impact, or even at times straight out harmful — while Zuckerberg, through a computer in a dorm, had done more of a positive impact than I could ever have dreamt of. I felt depressed, because I didn’t know how to impact things without working with the government, but I started spending more time around tech people, travelling to San Francisco, hanging out with the Burning Man crowd, going to libertarian meetups, etc. I had a feeling that the answer where somewhere in the technology sphere. Then, enter Bitcoin. The day I discovered Bitcoin my worldview changed forever — I realized that it was possible to not ‘change things from the inside’ but to actually totally reinvent something, and compete heads on with the current paradigm. It wasn’t impossible. Bitcoin did, and succeeded with it. That inspired me to leave my work as a contractor, and follow my initial dream of creating virtual competing nations. I travelled the world while writing about it, went to various anarchist communities and crypto startups, and then it suddenly dawned on me: why write about it? The blockchain technology — as a distributed public ledger — have all the functions I need to actually start it, without very much investment at all. Hence, I started Bitnation.

I got into Transhumanism through Biohacking. I operated in a magnet in one of my fingers, to see what it would be like. I posted the photos of the operation on Facebook which got me a lot of attention from the Transhumanist community, so I started to look deeper into all things connected with Transhumanism, and really fell in love with the field. I guess being able to to control your destiny, through cryonics, downloading brains, modifying the body, etc is the ultimate frontier for liberty, once the violent global oligopoly on governance is gone. Immortality!

10590444_10152283179491417_4185145039086534748_n-1Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 6.59.49 AMQ2 Tell me about Bitnation some more and explain to h+ Magazine readers what it is about. Let’s say I want to start my own transhumanist nation.Can Bitnation help me? I’m also interested in the notion of services that use the blockchain technology but are not properly involved with bitcoin per se. Can you comment?

If you break Bitnation down to its very essence, it can be described as a peer-to-peer platform with a set of Do-It-Yourself governance (D)Apps (like the Apple app store, as an example), backed by encrypted communication, ID and reputation, and dispute resolution.

Bitnation is the first ever Virtual Nation which provides actual governance services. Many of those services are based on the Bitcoin blockchain technology – a decentralized public ledger – which we use for all kind of records. From insurance, to dispute resolution, to family contracts like wills and marriages, to education, and more. Later on we’ll also add non-technology powered services, like security and diplomacy.

There are many metaprotocols on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, that can be used for things like crypto token creation, timestamping, etc. This year – 2015 – I expect smart contracts to really take off. These sounds like simple tools, but they offer such an extraordinary broad range of applications that it’s nothing short of breathtaking.

Everything Bitnation do is open source, and we encourage people to fork it, and create their own nation. If you would want to start your own transhumanist nation, the easiest way to get us onboard rather than just forking the idea straight out, would be to either work with us for a while, and see what you could make different, to better adapt it to your community, or engage us as partners to help you set it up. Forks are both inevitable, and healthy. I, personally, set out on this path, because I wanted to see a world of thousands or millions of competing borderless governance providers, competing through offering better services, rather than through the threat of violence within imaginary lines called borders. But someone had to be the first to do it, to demonstrate the virtual nation model in practice, and clear the path for others – just like Bitcoin did for cryptocurrency — so that’s what I did.

Q3 Bitcoin has a long history in the transhumanist world and some of the early adopters were transhumanists and the idea of “cryp” was a frequent topic on theExtropian Email List. Hal Finney was recently cryopreserved and was one of the first owners of bitcoins. as well as an Extropian. Ralph Merkle invented some of the core mathematics (Merkle trees) used in bitcoin and is a transhumanist who also has done a lot of work in nanotechnology. What’s the connection from your perspective between transhumanism and cryptocurrencies? Cryp was envisioned as an anonymous and untraceable method of payment, but bitcoin hasn’t quite gotten us there. What’s next for truly anonymous and untraceable crypto currencies?

Many questions to answer here at once!

From my perspective the similarity between the two is twofold: 1. that technology empowers superior innovative solutions than an outdated dinosaur of a centralized administrative structure, and b. that technology inherently defeats things as borders, because it connects people throughout time and space, irrelevant of where they were born, or what laws an irrelevant piece of paper (like a passport) claims they’re subject to. In essence, transhumanism, as well as Bitcoin, recognise that we’re much more than our physical flesh and blood, but that we’re also sensitive, thinking, feeling individuals who may or may not operate within forced upon (geographical) frameworks. That our mind and spirit stands above, and defeats, arbitrary lines in the sand — to a great extent via the beauty of the ever evolving technology freed from bureaucratic red tape.

Anonymity is important now, as we’re in the strange middle ground between the nation state world, and the post nation state world, where many visionaries still need to keep a low profile. Over time, however, identity and reputation will be more important. Though, lets keep in mind that for various reasons, it will remain essential for a person to be able to have multiple identities at the same time (like if being haunted by a homicidal ex husband or living a double life as gay/ hetero or human/ cyborg) etc. But at the same time, limiting Cybil attacks will also be crucial.

Another area where crypto meets transhumanism seems to be Basic Income. We have a Bitnation 3rd Party DApp, called basicincome.co developed by the Swedish prodigy Johan Nyberg, using p2p cryptoledgers to create a voluntary basic income system. Zoltan Istvan recently wrote about Transhumanism in VICE where Bitnation was quoted.

Q4 You recent joined the Advisory Board of Människa+, the Swedish chapter Humanity+. What’s happening with transhumanism in Sweden right now and the M+ group in particular? What next?

skc3a4rmavbild-2014-04-23-kl-20-42-16Sweden has always been a playground for new technologies, because – for better or for worse – it’s a fairly small and homogenous population —- meaning that if a concept catches on, pretty much everyone will adapt it rapidly. Swedes are also, generally speaking, very tech-savvy people who loves emerging ideas. Hence, because of rapid adoption rates, and Swedes natural love for everything seemingly empirically rational and scientific, I believe Sweden is ideally suited to be one of the leading geographical areas for transhumanism.

Q5 I notice that you are one of the few transhumanists that seems to understand Africa. Humanity+ board member Ben Goertzel also maintains an office in Ethiopia. And I think Africa is going to play a huge role in the future of transhumanism. Africa was first to widely adopt digital payments systems outside of mainstream banking with M-PESA and now seems hot on bitcoin. What’s the future of bitcoin in Africa and beyond? What is your view on the future of Africa and Africa’s role in creating the global future?

I don’t feel like I understand Africa particularly well. I spent roughly a year in North Africa (Egypt and Libya, throughout the Arab Spring), and some time now in West Africa, Ghana – which is an entirely different animal. Frankly, the more time I spend around here, the less I understand it. I do think, through cell phone adaption, remittance payments from abroad, and the natural ease of using digital money m-pesa style, Bitcoin will have quick adaption rates here, as you mentioned in your question. Frontier markets like this is also where it’s most needed of course — we’re speaking of billions of unbanked people who can’t access normal banking systems, etc.

Students for Liberty, Ghana

For Bitnation, that’s huge – naturally. Billions of people who need our services really bad, because their local governments are to slow, to corrupt, and too expensive to deal with. Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the last frontiers of development (with perhaps the exception of places like Afghanistan and North Korea, etc). While we can expect steep rises in productivity, GDP, etc — it’s also very clear that there’s a very long way to go over here. For instance, in Ghana (which is by no means one of the poorest countries in this region) only 40% of the population have toilets (and the definition of toilets also includes holes in the ground) – just to illustrate average middle class living conditions. While they’re definitively leap frogging on some technological levels, the average life expectancy, life quality (like electricity, running water, etc) remains extremely low — and that will take much longer to fix. So while it’s overall getting better, don’t expect it to be the next ‘tiger economies’ any time soon — apart from a few expectations like Kenya, Nigeria, etc of course.

 

 

Q6 2015 may be noted as the year transhumanism became political. With a lot of activity around the Transhumanist Parties in the EU and UK recently. What’s your view on transhumanism and politics generally? How can Bitnation help transhumanists who are politically active? How can or should the TP interact with the Pirate Party, Green Party, etc.?

First of all, from my personal perspective, technology change politics much quicker than politics change politics. Point in case: it’s more efficient to create a better alternative, like Bitcoin, who just outcompetes the old bad system, rather than to get a job at the FED, and try to change politics from the inside.

If people really do want to interact with the dinosaur political system however, I suppose it can be useful, in a Ron Paul type of way; where they use political channels as platform to spread ideas. It has some merit to it. Concerning what parties to engage with, I’ll always vouch for the pirate party – they’re willing to break norms, and think forward. The green party really varies from one country to another. While I do believe in the importance of preserving the environment, I would never engage with the Green Parties I’ve seen so far, because in my view they’re old left-wing reactionaries who mainly want to back-peddle development. I may be wrong, but that’s what I’ve seen so far. Libertarian parties are sort of an oxymoron, if you come from the anarchist spectrum of it. I don’t personally vote, because I believe it’s immoral to show consent to a geographical monopoly on violence through participating in its illusion of ‘it’s all okay, because we can vote every now and then on who will be our front slave master’. But hey, each to their own.

Learn more http://bitnation.co

 

This article can also be found on the H+ Magazine website here.

The Transhumanist Future of Sex by Zoltan Istvan

This is an article by Zoltan Istvan called The Transhumanist Future of Sex.  Hm… Transhumanism and sex; if there were more articles like this, maybe more people would know about the singularity…

The Transhumanist Future of Sex

October 20, 2014 // 10:50 AM EST

Zoltan Istvan is a futurist, journalist, and author of the novel The Transhumanist Wager. He writes an occasional column for Motherboard in which he ruminates on the future beyond natural human ability.

The internet is rife with chatter about the transhumanist age we are entering, where radical science and technology are already changing the way we live. Everything fromrobotic hearts to personal drones to mind-reading headsets are here. The new tech coming in just a few years will touch nearly every aspect of our lives, including one of the most personal ones: sex.

Mammals use sex as a means to generate offspring, to experience pleasure, and for bonding with partners. Throughout the last few centuries, humans have embraced tools, drugs, and even surgical operations in an attempt to improve sex.

To date, the list of transhumanist-themed tools and apparatuses our species has created for sex is practically endless. Perhaps the best known one is the condom, where descriptions of their use and composition begin to appear in 16th century writings. The writings of 16th century physician Gabriele Falloppio includes one of the  first documented references to condoms, and describes them as linen sheaths soaked in a chemical solution. Today, the condom is one of the leading life extension tools in the world, due to the protection it offers from disease, such as HIV.

Over 300,000 Americans underwent breast augmentation via plastic surgery, which typically aims to enhance sex appeal, in 2011. In the last century, one of the most sensationalized applications for sex is Viagra, whose name is almost as recognizableas Coca-Cola or Rolls Royce. Along with other options like Levitra and Cialis, erection drugs have helped return sexual health to millions of men (and their partners) around the world.

Today, sex—and technology for sex—is all around us, 24/7. The internet provides a continual stream of pornography, for better or worse, to millions of users everyday. A Forbes article citing neuroscientist Ogi Ogas says that between July 2009 and July 2010, 13 percent of web searches were for erotic content. It’s not just computers, though. Many people routinely use their cell phones for sexting. And the sex toy industry is a multi-billion dollar business, with thousands of workers and engineers dedicated to it.

Yet, whatever has happened so far in the history of sex is not going to be nearly as exciting or bizarre as what’s coming next. Whether by drugs, technology, or surgery, the future of sex is set to explode. Look for virtual sex and foreplay to become commonplace, where partners are linked into brain wave headsets and virtual reality goggles.

Some will take it further, and use full body haptic suits—a friend of mine called it the future hump suit—to experience full sexual immersion. Virtual worlds and Second Lives will keep people experiencing sexual acts they might not feel comfortable doing in real life—all without the risk of pregnancy or STDs.

I recently was asked by my wife what I wanted for Christmas. I replied: I want an exoskeleton suit. They’re going to be all the rage soon.

Image: Steve Jurvetson/Wikimedia

Indeed, exoskeleton technology is significantly improving every year. Panasonic is getting ready to sell the first mass-produced robotic exoskeleton for just under $5,000. They are still crude, but in 5-10 years time, they are likely to make us faster runners, stronger climbers, and better athletes. I surmise an entire sporting and recreational culture will develop around them, similar to motorcycles and ATVs. Can you imagine the growing discipline of Parkour in one? Eventually, exoskeleton suits will look like the ones in the blockbuster movie Elysium starring Matt Damon.

But what about sex? Will they help? Yes! Potentially, a lot. Especially for disabled, obese, or unfit persons. Harvard is working on a soft exoskeleton suit. Someday soon, we will strap on exoskeleton suits and put ourselves in sexual positions once only possible for Bikram yoga experts—and then go at it. And we won’t be tiring very easily, either, not with the suits doing much of the work.

Almost as strange is the new internal skeletal stuff being developed, which combines structures inside your body to external artificial limbs. In a recent article forExtremeTech, engineer and neuroscientist John Hewitt writes:

In order to wield any artificial limb with full strength and confidence we are going to need to plug it in properly, so that it becomes a real part of our musculoskeletal system. Researchers at the Royal National Orthopedic hospital have now created an implant that does just that by interfacing a leg prosthesis directly to your endoskeleton.

We’ve already seen penile implants and surgical modifications of sexual organs. But this new musculosketelal technology is much more revolutionary. If scientists can connect internal human parts to external bionic parts, (and they’re already connecting robotic arms to the nervous system) then the age of the cyborg is truly here. Surely biohackers will remove body parts and limbs in an attempt to become a stronger, more agile entity.

If scientists can replicate that feeling through firing signals from an implanted chip or a brain wave headset, then it might even be the end of sex altogether.

With those acquisitions will come cyborg sex—something that is sure to be an upgrade to the usual romp. Don’t forget, those robotic fingers on those artificial limbs will soon have sensors that can detect some things, like heat and sweat, far more specifically than biological fingers. In time, every sense of ours will be improved and updated with technology that simply outmatches our biology.

How will this and all the other technologies affect sex for over seven billion people in the future? Probably dramatically—especially when it is combined with microchip implants. Erogenous zones and orgasms are simply the product of chemicals firing in the brain. If scientists can replicate that feeling by firing signals from an implanted chip or a brain wave headset, then it might even be the end of sex altogether. We’d turn on and off endless orgasms with our cell phone (or buzz our partners at will if they’ll allow us).

Hopefully it will be better than this.

Implants are becoming more commonplace. Recently, Dr. Theodore Schwartz and a New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center team put a cranial implant into an epileptic sufferer to help stop attacks. Other brain implant surgeries are now occurring to fight Alzheimer’s, a disease which affects over five million Americans. It’s not that big of a leap to imagine someone figuring out how to stimulate the sexual pleasure areas in the brain with an implant.

If all this seems crazy, then check out this WiFi-enabled vibrator called Vibease which will become available next month, according to its website. People can leave them in all day long, and enjoy for up to three hours of use whenever they want to. That might make you wonder about a lot of things in the future. Did your date really enjoy the spaghetti you made, or was something else going on?

The human species has come a long way in developing its sexual mores. Thankfully, many societies are philosophically and psychologically freer than ever to enjoy all that sex can be. But technologically, we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg for all for all that is coming, regardless of tastes and desires. Transhumanism has long centered on technologies that grant better health and extended longevity to people, but we shouldn’t forget that it will also make some of our most cherished experiences—like sex—a lot more fun in the future.

 

This article can also be found on the Motherboard website at http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-transhumanist-future-of-sex

The video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jae38H1_j-E

Video Info:

Published on May 1, 2014

A Transhumanist President in 2016? Yeah, we’ll see…

A transhumanist president in 2016?  As much as I would like to see a technologically aware president in the near future, I highly doubt 2016 will be the year (2020 will almost certainly be a different story, though).  Still, what better way to bring awareness to the public than having a singularitarian run for president?  I’ve read up on Zoltan Istvan a little, but I’ll have to dig in a bit more before I decide if I’m going to cast my vote his way.  Although, if it’s between him and a religious conservative, you know who I’m going to choose!

An interview with Zoltan Istvan, leader of the Transhumanist Party and 2016 presidential contender

A cyberpunk/transhumanist, kinda

ExtremeTech has never been particularly interested in politics. That being said, as the focus of politics and politicians inexorably shifts towards technology, we might just jump in the water for a dip.

Many might imagine that concerns of a more socio-political nature — like who is able to accrue what particular powers or possessions, and from whom — would persist independently of technological influence. Others, like the Transhumanist Party founder Zoltan Istvan, might offer that socio-political issues already are, at heart, technological issues. Now seizing the day, and a rapidly expanding number of like-minded transhumanists, Istvan has announced that he will be a contender in the 2016 US presidential race.

IstvanIf you haven’t heard of transhumanism, or you’re not quite sure what it means, I suggest you readour introductory story about transhumanismbefore diving into the rest of this story. In short, though, transhumanism (sometimes referred to as H+) is about improving or transforming the human condition through technology. Brain implants, genetic engineering, bionic limbs, indefinite life extension — these are all examples of the topics (and elective surgeries) that a transhumanist would be interested in.

The Transhumanist Wager

In his recent book The Tranhumanist Wager Istvan outlines three laws:

  1. A transhumanist must safeguard one’s own existence above all else.
  2. A transhumanist must strive to achieve omnipotence as expediently as possible — so long as one’s actions do not conflict with the First Law.
  3. A transhumanist must safeguard value in the universe — so long as one’s actions do not conflict with the First and Second Laws.

If energetically adopted, these deceptively simple maxims ultimately compel the individual to pursue a technologically enhanced and extended life. Zoltan and other supporters of transhumanism have come to see the choice to accept or reject these principles as something far more fundamental than the choice between liberal or conservative principles. In other words, it is a more compact predictor, a simpler explanation of your worldview, motivations, and actions than any current party provides.

It is for these reasons that Zoltan has founded the Transhumanist Party and is now taking this first major step to grow it. At this point in the game, the next major step — getting access to all the state ballots — could prove challenging. With these ideas in mind, we present an interview with (possibly) the next US president: Zoltan Istvan.

ZoltanIstvan

Why did you decide to run for the US presidency?

Zoltan Istvan – The most important goal of the Transhumanist Party and my 2016 presidential campaign is to spread awareness of transhumanism and to address the issue that society will be greatly changed by radical science and technology in the next 5-15 years. Most people are unaware how significant these changes could be. For example, we might all be getting brain implants soon, or using driverless cars, or having personal drones follow us around and do our shopping for us. Things like anonymity in the social media age, gender roles, exoskeleton suits for unfit people, ectogenesis, and the promise of immersive virtual reality could significantly change the way society views itself. Transhumanism seeks to address these issues with forward-thinking ideas, safeguards, and policies. It aims to be a bridge to a scientific and tech-dominated future, regardless what the species may eventually become.

While the Transhumanist Party has almost no chance of winning this election, its goal is to get on as many state ballots as possible, so people will see its promise and recognize what it stands for. By doing so, we’ll let citizens know an exciting political movement is afoot that focuses on using technology and science to enhance the human species. And maybe sometime in the future, many people will want to join it. Furthermore, I’m hopeful other political parties will take notice of transhumanism and incorporate its ideas into their own philosophies.

On a final note, it’s my hope that others will start to run for various political offices, both locally and nationally, under the Transhumanist Party banner. This way we can show the country that future politics should be far more science and technology inspired. This would be a great step for the direction of the America.

The best thing about being transhuman is what the word really means: beyond human. In this way, transhumanism aims to leave behind the problems and bickering the human race has undergone for millennia, especially ethnic, racial, gender, and cultural divisions. The language of transhumanism is science — and that language and cultural framework is universal. That’s the brilliance of transhumanism. It seeks not to divide, but to improve the lives of all people. It doesn’t judge one’s race, sex, class, culture, or ethnicity. It transcends them with its scientific aims. For example, designer babies — a classic transhumanist field — are literally just years away.

The idea that a child will belong genetically to one race when that same child has been significantly genetically modified is no longer valid. Transhumanism will overcome this hurdle and many others that have sadly embroiled many countries and communities into longstanding enmity.

A transhumanist's take on Michelangelo's Cistine Chapel

If, as you observed, “Morality is often defined by the amount of time we have left,” can transhumanists run on a morality platform without being labelled as some kind of a religion life-extension as their God?

This is a challenging question. I admit there are some aspects of transhumanism that seem almost religious in nature, such as the idea of the Singularity or the all-important goal of trying to stop biological aging and conquer human death. But what many people forget is that transhumanism is also engaged in discussing and exploring the mysteries of the universe — that many transhumanist scientists are in love with that mystery. They spend their lives dedicated to unraveling the puzzles of our existence. However, transhumanists pursue all this mystery from the point of view of the Scientific Method, which is a tool designed to ensure a healthy amount of skepticism to all endeavors. That is the critical difference between transhumanists and many fundamentalist religious people; it’s the difference between transhumanism and religion. We are encouraged to question and ask “why?” in our pursuit to make a better life for ourselves. We are encouraged to find the best path forward, regardless of preconceived notions or historical precedent. There are no guarantees except that which we create for ourselves.

Transhumanists are techno-optimistic people who believe they have the power and the universal right to improve their lives. Some will say this type of attitude is religious or spiritual in nature, and maybe it is from a certain point of view. But mostly it’s just a healthy scientific attitude about creating the best life for oneself, one’s loved ones, and one’s planet.

The fact that the deaf can hear via transhumanist implants, war amputees now have feeling robotic limbs, and the paralyzed can walk via exoskeleton technology reminds religious people of their own texts of faith and its parables. I find this a good thing, and hope that religious people may come to embrace transhumanism due to some of the similarities. While I remain an atheist, I see no reason that religions can’t eventually see many of their hopes and ideas fulfilled via the promise of transhumanism.

While the hope exists that improved societies promptly lead to improved individuals, historically it has always been the richest and most powerful people who — often exclusively — received the improvements. How might transhumanism best proceed in the current political climate to rectify our near universal dreams for equality and opportunity and universal improvements to the human condition?

The history of scientific and technological advancement — which is really the history of transhumanism — has always pushed our species forward in a positive way. Transhumanism has made all people live longer, better, and with more opportunity. A recent report out of the United Nations says the poverty level around the world is the lowest it’s ever been. This is largely due to science and technology. While it’s true that a small minority — often the so-called elite — are usually first to get new technologies and advancements, those products have a long history of trickling down to all levels of society. That’s why you can find cellphones in mud hut villages in some of the poorest parts of Africa. And now those villages can communicate with family members far away or call a doctor to come visit a sick person. Such advancement is truly wonderful.

Human with robot exoskeleton arm, writing EvolutionThe world is evolving positively due to transhumanism tech and science. I believe it will continue to evolve into a place where living standards and the happiness of all people sharply rise as a result. In the future, I think there will be more interconnectedness than ever before. While I’m a big fan of the individual and their rights, such interconnectedness due to a digital culture will bring us all closer, possibly in ways we couldn’t imagine. Eventually, advancements in technology — such as widespread chip implants, virtual currencies, and brain wave reading devices (which already exist) — will force issues of equality and universality across all communities and borders. Globalization will not just be a slow jog, but become a full sprint.

In the future, it may not be about the individual versus the collective, but about how much one wants to participate in a thriving global digital community versus not participating. Everyone will have the chance to engage and participate if they want. Virtual worlds, free online education, and 24/7 social media usage will become the playgrounds of society and social interaction. Such a life may seem strange to many people — especially older, more conservative people — but observe how the youth have already taken to such things. They are our future, and they are already leading the way, delving further into transhumanist perspectives as each year passes.

For more information about Zoltan Istvan, his book The Transhumanist Wager, and his bid for the 2016 US presidency, visit the Transhumanist Party website.

 

This article can also be found on the Extreme Tech website at http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/192385-an-interview-with-zoltan-istvan-leader-of-the-transhumanist-party-and-2016-presidential-contender

A New Generation of Transhumanists Is Emerging by Zoltan Istvan

This Huffington Post article (A New Generation of Transhumanists Is Emerging by Zoltan Istvan) talks about transhumanism moving into the mainstream.  I have just one question; with so many reputable news agencies – and even governmental agencies (the NIC and the NCBI, to name just a couple) – reporting on transhumanism and the technological singularity, why is it that no one I talk to has heard about this movement?  This should be dinner conversation at every household table, but I’ve found that most people will dismiss the it out of hand rather than even try to learn more!  I’m not a big fan of the bible (because I’ve actually read the whole thing), but the phrase “pearls before swine” just leaps into my thoughts when I consider this.  I mean, how otherwise intelligent people can choose to remain ignorant and in the dark on such important topics just boggles my mind.  Wake up, people!  (Not you, of course!  You’re good, I’m sure…)

A New Generation of Transhumanists Is Emerging

Posted: 03/10/2014 2:43 pm EDT Updated: 05/10/2014 5:59 am EDT

A new generation of transhumanists is emerging. You can feel it in handshakes at transhumanist meet-ups. You can see it when checking in to transhumanist groups in social media. You can read it in the hundreds of transhumanist-themed blogs. This is not the same bunch of older, mostly male academics that have slowly moved the movement forward during the last few decades. This is a dynamic group of younger people from varying backgrounds: Asians, Blacks, Middle Easterners, Caucasians, and Latinos. Many are females, some are LGBT, and others have disabilities. Many are atheist, while others are spiritual or even formally religious. Their politics run the gamut, from liberals to conservatives to anarchists. Their professions vary widely, from artists to physical laborers to programmers. Whatever their background, preferences, or professions, they have recently tripled the population of transhumanists in just the last 12 months.

“Three years ago, we had only around 400 members, but today we have over 10,000 members,” says Amanda Stoel, co-founder and chief administrator of Facebook groupSingularity Network, one of the largest of hundreds of transhumanist-themed groups on the web.

Transhumanism is becoming so popular that even the comic strip Dilbert, which appears online and in 2000 newspapers, recently made jokes about it.

Despite its growing popularity, many people around the world still don’t know what “transhuman” means. Transhuman literally means beyond human. Transhumanists consist of life extensionists, techno-optimists, Singularitarians, biohackers, roboticists, AI proponents, and futurists who embrace radical science and technology to improve the human condition. The most important aim for many transhumanists is to overcome human mortality, a goal some believe is achievable by 2045.

Transhumanism has been around for nearly 30 years and was first heavily influenced by science fiction. Today, transhumanism is increasingly being influenced by actual science and technological innovation, much of it being created by people under the age of 40. It’s also become a very international movement, with many formal groups in dozens of countries.

Despite the movement’s growth, its potential is being challenged by some older transhumanists who snub the younger generation and their ideas. These old-school futurists dismiss activist philosophies and radicalism, and even prefer some younger writers and speakers not have their voices heard. Additionally, transhumanism’s Wikipedia page — the most viewed online document of the movement — is protected by a vigilant posse, deleting additions or changes that don’t support a bland academic view of transhumanism.

Inevitably, this Wikipedia page misses the vibrancy and happenings of the burgeoning movement. The real status and information of transhumanism and its philosophies can be found in public transhumanist gatherings and festivities, in popular student groups like the Stanford University Transhumanist Association, and in social media where tens of thousands of scientists and technologists hang out and discuss the transhuman future.

Jet-setting personality Maria Konovalenko, a 29-year-old Russian molecular biophysicist whose public demonstrations supporting radical life extension have made international news, is a prime example.

“We must do more for transhumanism and life extension,” says Konovalenko, who serves as vice president of Moscow-based Science for Life Extension Foundation. “This is our lives and our futures we’re talking about. To sit back and and just watch the 21st Century roll by will not accomplish our goals. We must take our message to the people in the streets and strive to make real change.”

Transhumanist celebrities like Konovalenko are changing the way the movement gets its message across to the public. Gauging by the rapidly increasing number of transhumanists, it’s working.

A primary goal of many transhumanists is to convince the public that embracing radical technology and science is in the species’ best interest. In a mostly religious world where much of society still believes in heavenly afterlives, some people are skeptical about whether significantly extending human lifespans is philosophically and morally correct. Transhumanists believe the more people that support transhumanism, the more private and government resources will end up in the hands of organizations and companies that aim to improve human lives and bring mortality to an end.

 

This article can also be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zoltan-istvan/a-new-generation-of-trans_b_4921319.html