An introduction to tomorrow’s politics

By David W. Wood, Executive Director, Transpolitica

The Transpolitica manifesto summarised

Today’s most pressing political problems

Transpolitica seeks to uncover and highlight what can be called “tomorrow’s solutions to today’s most pressing political problems”. What are these problems?

The polling agency YouGov conducts frequent surveys of political opinion. On the 4th of March 2015, they revealed the preferences indicated by a representative sample of 1701 voters from throughout the United Kingdom (PDF). Survey participants were asked to specify up to three issues, out of a range of 13 choices, in response to this question:

Which of the following do you think are the most important issues facing the country at this time?

The top-ranked issues were as follows:

  • Immigration & asylum – selected by 50% of participants
  • The economy – selected by 46%
  • Health – 42%
  • Welfare benefits – 30%.

At the same time, the survey participants were also asked a different question (referring to the same set of 13 possible choices):

Which of the following do you think are the most important issues facing you and your family?

For this question, the top-ranked issues were slightly different:

  • The economy – 43%
  • Health – 38%
  • Pensions – 29%
  • Tax – 21%.

YouGov also periodically ask voters for their feedback on the performance of the main party leaders in the United Kingdom parliament. The results are that these three leaders are all judged more as “doing badly” than as “doing well” (or as “undecided”). At time of writing, their most recent “doing badly” ratings were (PDF) 50%, 66%, and 70%.

Taking one step back from these results, I perceive a great deal of anxiety among potential voters. They’re worried about how they and their families will be able to afford healthcare and other necessities of life, especially as they or their loved ones experience old age. These worries are compounded:

  • As many new people are migrating into the country, potentially overwhelming local schools and local welfare services
  • As there are many pressures on the national health service
  • As politicians seem unable to make any real changes.

Looking further around the world, I see some common underlying patterns:

  • Electors are disturbed by the pace of social change and uncertainty about the future
  • Governments often seem to be a hindrance to positive change (not an enabler)
  • Politicians are caught up in their own systems – they cannot rise above inertia
  • Politics are subject to strong vested interests, including finance and corporations
  • Voting often ends up being tactical or ineffective (especially in “first past the post” systems)
  • Political parties fail to present any compelling big vision for the future (beyond talking about economic matters).

Technology as the solution

The solution offered by Transpolitica to the political problems being experienced around the world can be summarised in a single word: technology.

Society has already seen remarkable changes in the last 10-20 years as a result of rapid progress in fields such as electronics, computers, digitisation, and automation. In each case, the description “revolution” is appropriate.

But even these revolutions pale in significance to the changes that will, potentially, arise in the next 10-20 years from extraordinary developments in healthcare, brain sciences, atomically precise manufacturing, 3D printing, distributed production of renewable energy, artificial intelligence, and improved knowledge management. Indeed, the next 10-20 years look set to witness four profound convergences:

  • Between artificial intelligence and human intelligence – with next generation systems increasingly embodying so-called “deep learning”, “hybrid intelligence”, and even “artificial emotional intelligence”
  • Between machine and human – with smart technology evolving from “mobile” to “wearable” and then to “insideable”, and with the emergence of exoskeletons and other cyborg technology
  • Between software and biology – with programming moving from silicon (semiconductor) to carbon (DNA and beyond), with the expansion of synthetic biology, and with the application of genetic engineering
  • Between virtual and physical – with the prevalence of augmented reality vision systems, augmented reality education via new MOOCs (massive open online courses), cryptocurrencies that remove the need for centralised audit authorities, and lots more.

Each of these four grand convergences will be far-reaching in its own right, but the combination of all four happening in parallel injects additional large elements of uncertainty.

The changes ahead have been likened to a dozen different Gutenberg moments happening simultaneously. Here’s a report by Singularity Hub writer Jason Dorrier about the opening remarks at the Singularity University (SU) Summit held in Amsterdam in November 2014:

SU’s global ambassador and founding executive director, Salim Ismail, set the stage.

We’re at an inflection point, he said, where we are digitizing and augmenting the human experience with technology. That digitization is accelerating change. The question is: How can individuals and society, more generally, navigate it?

Five hundred years ago, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press freed information as never before. Ismail framed the current pace of technology as Gutenberg to the extreme, “We’re having about a dozen Gutenberg moments all at the same time.”

It’s true…currently, I’m listening to experts communicate new and novel ideas. I take notes on a laptop, connect to the internet, find images, load the article—and publish (for free). Ideas from the mouths of the few to the brains of the many in mere moments.

This flow of information is driving idea cross-pollination and innovation on a massive scale.

Listening to Ismail’s talk, I was reminded of a quote. Generally attributed to Elbert Hubbard, it goes like this, “The world is moving so fast these days that a man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”

Politics as the complication

In principle, technological developments have the potential to generate abundance – plenty of material possessions, healthy longevity, uplifting mental life, and profound experiences, to dissolve the worries of electors around the world. Voters will no longer need to hustle and campaign for adequate provision of welfare services, such as pension, education, and healthcare.

However, there are many uncertainties that influence technology – both how it is developed, and how it is deployed. Technology does not determine its own outcome. Instead, the allocation of resources to technological development is strongly impacted by the operation of markets, incentives, subsidies, regulations, and public expectations. In turn, all of these factors are impacted by politics (either in commission or in omission).

Politics as the complication

For this reason, the statement

Technology can enable bigger positive changes in the next ten years than in any previous ten year period…

needs to be followed by an important proviso:

…providing these technologies receive sufficient funding, focus, and regulatory support – as provided by a positive political climate.

Transpolitica therefore wishes to engage with politicians of all parties to increase the likelihood of an attractive, equitable, sustainable, progressive future, enabled by a combination of new technology and new politics. The ideas raised in this book are designed:

  • To elevate the thinking of politicians and other leaders, away from being dominated by the raucous issues of the present, to addressing the larger possibilities of the near future
  • To draw attention to technological opportunities, map out attractive roads ahead, and address the obstacles which are preventing us from fulfilling a potential that far exceeds the present status quo.

Bold, regenerative projects

If the single-word summary of the Transpolitica manifesto is “technology”, the single-sentence summary spells out a more concrete request:

Transpolitica calls upon politicians of all parties to define and support bold, regenerative projects to take full advantage of accelerating technology.

Such projects have taken place before, with outstanding results. One important example is the 1960s Apollo “moonshot” program, launched with the following words in September 1962 by US President John F. Kennedy at a speech at Rice Stadium in Florida:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win…

If I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun… and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out – then we must be bold.

Similar bold huge projects have taken place in wartime: consider the Manhattan project to develop the first atomic bomb, carried out under the threat that axis powers might reach that fearsome outcome first. Another example is the post-war “Marshall Plan” peacetime reconstructive project – a project that involved far-sighted economic innovation rather than technological innovation.  And let’s not forget the grand project in the United Kingdom to set up the Welfare State and the National Health Service.

These projects share the characteristic of being bold and visionary. They were able to galvanize huge collaborative endeavours, via providing a profound sense of manifest purpose and shared destiny.

In the present times, two EU regenerative projects are worth mentioning. Each has a budget of around one billion euros:

First, the “Human Brain Project” is described as follows:

Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science. If we can rise to the challenge, we can gain profound insights into what makes us human, develop new treatments for brain disease and build revolutionary new computing technologies. Today, for the first time, modern ICT [information and comms technology] has brought these goals within sight.

Second, consider the “Graphene Flagship”:

The Graphene Flagship’s overriding goal is to take graphene, related layered materials and hybrid systems from a state of raw potential to a point where they can revolutionize multiple industries… and put Europe at the heart of the process, with a manifold return on the investment as technological innovation, economic exploitation and societal benefits.

Each of these EU projects has the expectation of generating economic and social benefits, in addition to technological innovation. That characteristic is shared by the various proposed Transpolitica regenerative projects. One difference, however, is the matter of scale. The Transpolitica projects are conceived as involving larger resources, larger collective effort, and larger outputs.

The six Transpolitica regenerative projects

1. Clean tech -> sustainable growth -> material abundance for all

Enough sunlight strikes the earth each hour to power all of humanity’s needs for an entire year. An analysis published in Nature contends that wind energy could provide 20-100 times current global power demand. Earth also experiences a natural abundance of energy from wave and from geothermal. In turn, this rich abundance of multiple forms of renewable energy can be used to provide more than enough food and clean water for everyone’s needs. This regenerative project can take advantage of improvements in energy storage and transport, in desalination, in agriculture, in the creation of synthetic food, and (with some care) genetically modified organisms.

Even if human population levels rise significantly in the decades ahead, there’s no reason why anyone should suffer any shortage of material possessions. What’s more, we can have lifestyles that avoid causing any degradation in the environment. Developments in fields such as nanotechnology can improve our ability to usefully recycle the waste arising from our activities.

This is not a vision of reversing growth; nor one of zero growth. People don’t need to anticipate living more frugally than at present. On the contrary, this is a vision of positive sustainable growth, empowered by numerous improvements in green technology.

The difficulty, however, is that green technologies are progressing too slowly. Too many financial subsidies are diverted into energy resources that have highly polluting side effects. The transition to cleaner lifestyles is fitful and erratic. In contrast to that future vision of humanity living in positive harmony with the environment, present-day societies are pushing the planet close to devastating tipping points. Vested interests, driven by short-term financial concerns, are obstructing a rational allocation of research and development resources. That’s why politicians need to exert much greater green leadership:

  • Championing a wide-ranging investigation into which green technologies are the most promising
  • Where needed, orchestrating long-term, patient investment, and adjusting regulatory frameworks
  • Opposing any distortions that short-term interests exert on the R&D landscape.

Some readers may be nervous at this mention of a positive role for governments in assisting a technological revolution. They may believe that government intervention is inevitably misguided and counterproductive. I offer the counter-analysis of renowned Venezuelan scholar Carlota Perez, whose book “Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages” is, rightly, held in high regard. Perez describes recent history as featuring five major technical-economic cycles:

  1. From 1771: The First Industrial Revolution (machines, factories, and canals)
  2. From 1829: The Age of Steam, Coal, Iron, and Railways
  3. From 1875: The Age of Steel and Heavy Engineering (electrical, chemical, civil, naval)
  4. From 1908: The Age of the Automobile, Oil, Petrochemicals, and Mass Production
  5. From 1971: The Age of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

Perez argues that the technology of wave five in this list is already in the process of undoing many of the environmental problems introduced by wave four.

Nevertheless, despite her optimism that “a sustainable positive-sum future is possible”, Perez states clearly (PDF):

  • It will not happen automatically: the market cannot do it alone
  • The state must come back into the picture.

Her analysis proceeds:

  • Each technological revolution propagates in two different periods
  • The first half sets up the infrastructure and lets the markets pick the winners
  • The second half (“the Golden Age” of the wave) reaps the full economic and social potential
  • Each Golden Age has been facilitated by enabling regulation and policies for shaping and widening markets.

2. Rejuvenation biotech -> Longevity dividend -> healthy longevity for all

The second proposed regenerative project focuses, not on material abundance, but on an abundance of health, for as long as people wish to live.

Given adequate R&D 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.

In this way, Transpolitica supports the aspiration of people in all corners of the globe to indefinite healthy life extension. Rejuvenation therapies based on regenerative medicine 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.

The longevity dividend fits the maxim that “prevention is cheaper than cure”. Another homely saying captures a related perspective: “a stitch in time saves nine”. Once rejuvenation therapies are available, periodic application of these therapies will undo the accumulated damage of biological aging. As a result, the present very expensive healthcare costs that are frequently incurred in the last years of someone’s life will be deferred and, ultimately, avoided completely.

If readers are hearing for the first time about the concept of the longevity dividend, they may find it surprising. It’s a subject which I am exploring at some length in a forthcoming book, “Approaching rejuvenation: Is science on the point of radically extending human longevity?”  For now, a brief explanation will have to suffice.

The basic idea is that aging should be recognised as an underlying common cause and exacerbating agent of all sorts of disease. Addressing aging can, therefore, be expected to reduce both the occurrence and the severity of these diseases. The approach is described in an article “A Reimagined Research Strategy for Aging” from the website of the SENS Research Foundation:

Many things go wrong with aging bodies, but at the root of them all is the burden of decades of unrepaired damage to the cellular and molecular structures that make up the functional units of our tissues. As each essential microscopic structure fails, tissue function becomes progressively compromised – imperceptibly at first, but ending in the slide into the diseases and disabilities of aging.

SENS Research Foundation’s strategy to prevent and reverse age-related ill-health is to apply the principles of regenerative medicine to repair the damage of aging at the level where it occurs. We are developing a new kind of medicine: regenerative therapies that remove, repair, replace, or render harmless the cellular and molecular damage that has accumulated in our tissues with time. By reconstructing the structured order of the living machinery of our tissues, these rejuvenation biotechnologies will restore the normal functioning of the body’s cells and essential biomolecules, returning aging tissues to health and bringing back the body’s youthful vigour.

Potential damage-limitation and damage-reduction therapies range as follows:

  • Regenerative mechanisms which already operate in healthy humans (especially in young healthy humans), and which could be encouraged to continue operating beyond the point when they ordinarily lose their potency
  • Regenerative mechanisms which already operate in non-human animals, and which could be triggered, via ingenious processes, to operate in humans
  • Brand new biological mechanisms, created via methods such as synthetic biology and genetic engineering, which have no direct parallel within any existing animals (human or otherwise)
  • Brand new physical mechanisms at the macro-scale, for example involving mechanical replacement body parts
  • Brand new physical mechanisms at the nano-scale, such as nano-surgery
  • Combinations of the above.

Depending on the type of damage being addressed, different regenerative therapies will be needed. Transpolitica advocates that extensive experiments with more than one type of therapy should be carried out, to determine which approaches are the most effective in different circumstances.

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. This “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. Improved brain science -> Super well-being for all

The third proposed regenerative project focuses on yet another type of abundance: mental well-being, including well-being in the emotional and spiritual dimensions.

Just as science is providing us with unprecedented understanding of energy and materials (the first regenerative project), and of bodily health and rejuvenation (the second), it is also providing us with unprecedented insight into the operation of mind and brain. To an extent never before imagined, we are gaining an awareness of the factors that influence our levels of happiness, engagement, creativity, autonomy, mindfulness, and consciousness.

Presently, many of us often struggle through periods of life in which, despite having lots of possessions, we’re only semi-conscious. But with more focus on the causes of mental well-being – causes that include physical, chemical, biological, physiological, psychological, and social factors, as well as intellectual development – technology will become better placed to allow everyone access to states of mental enlightenment which, previously, were hard even to imagine.

4. Automation -> New social contract -> Universal income

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; it’s also unclear what the best strategies for response are. Society and its leaders need to consider and discuss these changes, and draw up plans to deal with different outcome scenarios.

Transpolitica anticipates that accelerating technological unemployment may cause growing social disruption and increased social inequality and alienation. People who trained hard for new career opportunities may discover that their employment prospects have been quickly overtaken by increasingly sophisticated robots, AIs, or other software – automation systems that have gained new skills at a rate faster than can be matched by human trainees.

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 this 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. It may take a moonshot-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. Transpolitica urges experimentation followed by action based on the best of these insights.

5. Risk awareness and management -> Avoid existential threats

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 already pose potential catastrophic risks to the well-being of humanity:

  • The risk persists of accidental nuclear warfare
  • Runaway climate change might be triggered by unchecked emissions of greenhouse gases that push global temperatures beyond sudden tipping points.

There are further complications from relatively easy access by alienated, destructive individuals to weapons of mass destruction, including dirty bombs and synthetic pathogens.

Without being complacent, Transpolitica believes 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 the full set of 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.

6. Improved rationality -> New democratic governance

Whereas the fourth regenerative project seeks to deal with the possible end of employment (in the wake of improved automation), and the fifth regenerative project seeks to deal with the possible end of humanity itself (in the wake of adverse usage of technology), the sixth seeks to deal with possible failures in the operation of democracy. These failures may arise from technology being, again, applied for ill purpose, by autocrats and other politicians desperate to hang onto power and influence. Unless it addresses this risk, society faces the unwelcome prospect that the full benefits of new technology will be restricted, subverted, or negated.

The underpinnings of a prosperous, democratic, open society include digital rights, trusted, safe identities, robust infrastructure, and the ability to communicate freely without fear of recrimination or persecution. Transpolitica therefore wishes to:

  • Accelerate the development and deployment of tools ensuring personal privacy and improved cyber-security
  • Ensure the protection of critical Internet services even for the cases of wars and other emergencies (these services will include web archival, GitHub, Wikipedia, StackOverflow, trusted root keys, etc); for comparison, this protection is just as vital as the storing the seeds of critical food plants in the Norwegian Doomsday Vault
  • 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 so that they are less likely to suffer groupthink
  • AI systems should be increasingly used to support smart decision making.

Finally, to guard against a different form of oppression of free debate, all laws restricting free-speech based on the concept of “personal offence” should be revoked (this is a distinct concept from the crime of harassment). The principle should be advanced that anyone accepted into a country, whether as a visitor or as an immigrant, must confirm that they fully accept the principle of free speech, and renounce any use of legal or extralegal means to silence those who offend their religion or worldview.

With these safeguards all in place, the influence of politics on the development and deployment of technology should become beneficial rather than adverse. It will contribute to the creation of a positive feedback network of influences.

Building a positive feedback network

This same positive network also includes positive influences both to and from education. Education is addressed, in the Transpolitica framework, as one of four key enablers of the set of regenerative projects. Let’s turn to these next.

The four Transpolitica regeneration enablers

7. Education transformed in readiness for a radically different future

Transpolitica advocates a series of transformations in education. 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.

Transpolitica 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 (massive open online courses), 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”. Transpolitica anticipates a time where, apart from lab work, the whole of tertiary education will be delivered online.

8. 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.

Transpolitica observes 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, Transpolitica 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”.

Transpolitica also urges revisions in patent and copyright laws to discourage counter-productive 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.

9. A progressive transhumanist rights agenda

A third factor that will underpin successful outcomes of the Transpolitica regenerative projects is the protection of what can be called “transhumanist rights”. This phrase indicates that:

  • The set of rights championed goes further than the set that normally viewed as comprising human rights
  • The recipients of these rights form a wider group of sentient organisms than just the human species.

The first significant transhumanist right that Transpolitica seeks to defend is 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 to improve the quality of life, 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.

Transpolitica also wishes to:

  • Explore the gradual applicability of selected human rights to sentient beings, such as primates, that demonstrate relevant mental life, and also advanced AIs (when they exist in the future) that need such rights to function in their respective purpose
  • Hasten the adoption of synthetic (in-vitro) meat, and the abolition of cruelty to farm animals.

Finally in this section, Transpolitica envisions support for a radical future for consciousness. This will facilitate enhanced mental cooperation as minds become more interconnected via brain-to-computer interfaces and other foreseeable brain/mind technologies.

10. Funding and resourcing of regenerative projects

One more enabler deserves careful discussion – the funding and resourcing of the bold regenerative projects listed above.

The short answer is that these projects will be collectively self-funded by smart positive feedback cycles. The result of spending money in support of these projects is that money will be saved elsewhere, as a consequence of the projects. In addition to the longevity dividend already mentioned, there will be an important peace dividend and an equally important AI dividend.

In more detail, these projects can be funded and resourced by the following methods:

  • Tap into the well-spring of positive motivation and discretionary (volunteer) effort which these projects will unleash
  • Benefit from the longevity dividend, in which less budget will be consumed by end-of-life healthcare (prevention is cheaper than cure)
  • Smarter forms of international cooperation, reducing costs from efforts duplicated between different countries
  • When international cooperation enables it, divert funding from military budgets to regenerative budgets (peace dividend)
  • Eliminate the loopholes which allow multinational companies to shuffle revenues between countries and avoid paying due taxes
  • Apply the principle of “the polluter pays” with targeted new taxes such as when greenhouse gases are emitted
  • Savings from applying principles of automation and Information Technology wherever applicable (AI dividend).

The Transpolitica manifesto, summarised

A single page summary of the foregoing projects and enablers – as shown at the beginning of this article – depicts Transpolitica advocacy as split into three groups:

  • Projects to achieve sustainable, evolving well-being
  • Projects to apply tech-savvy proactive risk management
  • Enablers of regeneration and transcendence.

The first group consists of

  • Green tech leading to material abundance
  • Rejuvenation biotech leading to super health
  • Brain tech leading to super mental health.

The second group seeks to put in place

  • A new social contract, alongside automation
  • Existential risk awareness and solutions
  • Better democracy via revived rationality.

The third group involves

  • Education for a radically different future
  • A 21st century regulatory framework
  • A progressive transhumanist rights agenda
  • Projects funded by smart positive feedback.

Transpolitica outreach

Transpolitica outreach

Transpolitica envisions influencing and inspiring three different groups of political actors:

  • People who already have strong commitments to existing political parties, and who wish to continue operating within these parties
  • People who are concerned about political issues, but who feel strongly disinclined to become involved in any specific political party (whether old or new)
  • People who are ready to make a difference in their political environment by forming or joining a new party, such as a local Transhumanist Party.

This influence and inspiration will take place via publications, videos, memetic engineering, research, and campaigns. A list of “tasks awaiting volunteers” is maintained on the Transpolitica website.

There is no requirement for a Transpolitica volunteer or supporter to agree with all the principles set out earlier in this chapter. Indeed, the authors of the various chapters in the present book embody a variety of different stances and opinions.

Nor is there a requirement for a Transpolitica author to know all the answer. As you’ll find, the chapters are generally far from being fully comprehensive and encyclopaedic. They aim, instead, to place interesting questions onto the table of public political discussion, rather than to definitely answer these questions. The shared goal of the authors, for now, is to change the agenda of political discussion. This involves highlighting important opportunities and risks. There’s no need, for now, to provide authoritative implementation plans. Such plans may feature in later books in this series.

Footnote

The article above features as Chapter 1 of the Transpolitica book “Anticipating tomorrow’s politics”. Transpolitica welcomes feedback. Your comments will help to shape the evolution of Transpolitica communications.

2 thoughts on “An introduction to tomorrow’s politics

  1. Very interesting and well-organized, David. After reading the chapter, I wonder how competition for advantage — political, economic and social — will play out since surely we will have multiple definitions of what a better world is and widely varying levels of self-interest vs “altruism”; short-term vs. long-term interests; earth-centric v. space-centric; natural v. augmented, etc., etc.

  2. With your interest in Humanity, consider the Humanity Party (www.humanityparty.com) of the people of Earth, by the people of Earth, and for the people of Earth. Best regards, rod

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