Transpolitica News: More questions than answers

Ahead of a Transpolitica coordination hangout that’s taking place tomorrow, Monday 16th Feb (7pm-8pm UK time), here’s a brief update on recent P+ developments.

Note: to receive these news updates directly into your email inbox, visit this page online at https://transpolitica.org/news/ and click the “Follow” button that appears at the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

Three meetings, each creating more questions than answers

Since the first Transpolitica News post, on 28th Jan, Transpolitica has hosted two Hangout-On-Air video discussions, and our sister organisation London Futurists has hosted an IRL (In Real Life) event on a topic of strong interest to Transpolitica:

  • The discussion on 1st February was “The case for anarchist transhumanism”, considering the potential for radical social decentralisation
  • On 8th February the topic was “Better political decision-making via better technology?”
  • On 14th February, London Futurists focused on “The case for Universal Basic Income”

In all three cases, the discussion made it clearer that these are areas which are:

  • Important – in view of the transformational potential of technology
  • Insufficiently studied by mainstream political parties
  • Unclear, in terms of what specific policy recommendations should be made.

In short, they’re all areas where Transpolitica researchers could usefully carry out some potential ground-breaking analysis that could, in turn, give transhumanist politicians some distinctive policy initiatives.

In the meantime, there are more questions than answers – but perhaps the chapters in the forthcoming Transpolitica book will start to provide good answers…

Progress with “Anticipating tomorrow’s politics”

There’s been little news over the last two weeks of progress with chapters for “Anticipating tomorrow’s politics”. The status of various chapters, to the best of our knowledge, is as follows:

  • One chapter has been submitted in completed form, has received feedback from a reviewer, and is now being revised by the author
  • Fourteen chapters have had their abstracts accepted, and, in principle, the authors should be making good progress in writing the content
  • Six more authors have said they may be writing a chapter
  • One author has officially withdrawn his suggested chapter, in view of pressures of work-commitments.

According to the published schedule, completed chapters should be in the hands of the editors by the end of February – which is in two week’s time. This is, deliberately, a bold schedule, since that’s more likely to trigger a productive state of flow in the minds of authors – and, as a result, some truly great output.

(Yes, this attitude is in line with the content of the book Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World” by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. That book is about 80% inspiration, along with 20% – say it quietly – of over-hype. Given the value of the 80% that is deeply inspiring, the book can be forgiven for the 20% where the authors’ enthusiasm produces a reality-distortion zone.)

In the meantime, there’s now a suggested book cover for the Transpolitica book:

PpB Cover

See the end of https://transpolitica.org/projects/book-project/ for more details about this cover design.

Supporting political candidates in their election campaigns

The two sets of politicians where Transpolitica is ready to help specific election campaigns are

Darren is creating a brochure which will be distributed through letter boxes within his constituency. Current thinking is that this will contain short articles on the future of transport and the future of healthcare. Transpolitica researchers should be able to help in both cases.

A broader question arises of the extent to which “online activism” can usefully replace or supersede the traditional sort of doorstep and letter box activism:

  • Are people who pursue online activism better described using the critical term “slacktivists”, meaning that their activity has little impact in the real world (even though it may make them feel good)?
  • Or can online activism, suitably tailored and targeted, have a big impact on voting intentions?

Unless a clear argument can be made to the contrary, the intention is that Transpolitica will become expert in practical online activism, via understanding how to use accelerating technology for the most effective impact on election outcomes.

Next steps in evaluating the readiness of politicians for radical future scenarios

One of the core ideas behind the founding of Transpolitica is to provide a “mirror” that will allow politicians of all parties to realise where they fall short as regards being aware of the opportunities and threats posed by rapidly accelerating technology.

As stated in the Transpolitica manifesto:

Current policymakers rarely tackle the angle of convergent disruptive technologies. This 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 bold regenerative projects to take full advantage of accelerating technology – projects with the uplifting vision and scale of the 1960s Apollo moonshot program.

The “mirror” mentioned above is envisaged to be a combination of:

  • The Transpolitica manifesto
  • White papers that amplify parts of that manifesto
  • Evaluation studies which compare the stated policies of other politicians (either singly, or as bundled into party manifestos) against the Transpolitica blueprint.

Transpolitica Consultant Alex Karran has been continuing his very interesting research work into evaluating the viewpoints of politicians in the UK. What is needed next is some decisions about the best way to take this research forward:

  • Possibly featuring as a chapter within the Transpolitica book
  • Possibly featuring in one or more short videos, intended for easy distribution
  • Possibly featuring in one or more online reports (perhaps on the Transpolitica website).

Online decision processes within Transpolitica

Activity within Transpolitica’s Loomio project has slowed significantly. At the time of writing, it is 13 days since there was any activity there.

It’s not clear if this slowdown reflects shortcomings in the tool, or (instead) the fact that we don’t have anything sufficiently contentious to decide yet.

We are open to trialling another decision-making tool, if someone makes a case that a particular tool is more likely than Loomio to facilitate high-quality decision-making.

An IRL launch event in the UK?

A possible IRL launch event, probably in London, could take place, that marks:

  • The e-availability of the Transpolitica book
  • The start of the official campaign of a UK General Election candidate for the Transhumanist Party.

Previously, the date of 21st March has been suggested for a launch event. No firm decision has been taken yet.

Transpolitica impact outside of the UK

Due to circumstances behind its formation, Transpolitica’s engagements with political parties are initially dominated by the run-up to the UK General Election of May 2015. However, Transpolitica is keen to expand its activities with other politicians in other countries – subject to:

  • Transpolitica consultants being available to work on such relationships
  • Specific politicians being identified that have clear areas where Transpolitica could supply support.

Participation in Transpolitica coordination hangouts

Please let us know if you would like to receive invites to forthcoming coordination hangouts. These hangouts include:

  • Progress reports, along with issues arising, from individual Transpolitica consultants
  • Coordination of what Transpolitica consultants are planning to work on next
  • Collaborative decisions on particular questions (these questions will vary from hangout to hangout).

The next coordination hangout is taking place on Monday 16th February. After that, the most likely date is Monday 23rd March.

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