Request for proposals for second book cover

Proposals are now being welcomed for artwork for the cover of the second Transpolitica book. The book is expected to be e-published towards the end of this month.

As a starting point, here is the current placeholder design idea:

Book 2 Cover 1The set of chapters in this book will probably include the following (along, perhaps, with one or two more):

  • Introduction: Why Politics 2.0?
  • A Libertarian Philosophical Basis For “Transhumanist” Politics: Zoltan Istvan’s “Teleological Egocentric Functionalism”. A Viable Approach Towards A Sustainable Political Agenda?
  • Four political futures – which will you choose?
  • How do Governments Add Value to Society?
  • The Benefits of Digital Democracy
  • Cyborgization: A Possible Solution to Errors in Human Decision Making Within Complex Economic and Social Systems
  • Of Mind and Money: Post-Scarcity Economics and Human Nature
  • Longevity, artificial intelligence and existential risks: Opportunities and dangers
  • Voluntary Basic Incomes in a Reputation Economy

If several attractive book designs are received, a short online vote will be organised to decide the winner.

For size constraints, the following notes from https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2J0TRG6OPX0VM are relevant:

Dimensions

Requirements for the size of your cover art must have an ideal height/width ratio of at least 1.6, meaning:

  • A minimum of 625 pixels on the shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side
  • For best quality, your image should be 2500 pixels on the longest side

Important: We cannot accept any image larger than 10,000 pixels on the longest side.

Size

Your cover image must be less than 50MB. If the file type you are using supports compression, make sure to enable as little compression as possible

Politicians looking for new ideas after UK General Election

Two of the great political parties in the UK are in a state of shock this morning, in the wake of (for them) highly disappointing results in the General Election.

Constituency Results

These parties are Labour (won constituencies shown in red in the map above) and the Liberal Democrats (orange).

Typical of the words I’m hearing from their supporters, on TV this morning, are “it’s been an absolutely dreadful night for us”.

No doubt these parties will be reconsidering their leadership. They may decide they need new faces to lead them.

But at the same time – and arguably more important – these parties will be considering potential major changes in their policies for the future.

It’s an opportunity for the politicians in these parties to recognise the issues of the future, and to bring them to the centre stage of their new policies. These are the issues which Transpolitica has been highlighting – issues such as the following:

  1. How to construct a new social contract – perhaps involving universal basic income – in order to cope with the increased technological unemployment (and likely growing sense of social alienation) which is likely to arise from improved automation
  2. How to accelerate the development of personal genome healthcare, stem cell therapies, rejuvenation biotech, and other regenerative medicine, in order to enable much healthier people with much lower ongoing healthcare costs
  3. How to accelerate lower-cost high quality continuous access to educational material, such as MOOCs, that will prepare people for the radically different future that lies ahead
  4. How to ensure that a green tech new deal succeeds, rather than continues to fall short of expectations (as it has been doing for the last 5-6 years)
  5. How to identify and accelerate the new industries where the UK can be playing a leading role over the next 5-10 years
  6. How society should be intelligently assessing any new existential risks that emerging technologies may unintentionally trigger
  7. How to transition the network of bodies that operate international governance to a new status that is fit for the growing challenges of the coming decades (rather than perpetuating the inertia from the times of their foundations)
  8. How technology can involve more people – and more wisdom and insight from more people – in the collective decision-making that passes for political processes
  9. How to create new goals for society that embody a much better understanding of human happiness, human potential, and human flourishing, rather than the narrow economic criteria that currently dominate decisions
  10. How to prepare everyone for the next leaps forward in human consciousness which will be enabled by explorations of both inner and outer space.

I look forward to engaging conversation with forward-thinking politicians in all parties in the months and years ahead.

I say that, despite the fact that the UK’s two transhumanist candidates fared poorly in their own constituencies.

Alexander Karran, standing under an Independent banner in Liverpool Walton, came second bottom in that constituency, with 56 votes in his favour.

Liverpool WaltonWith Alex being unable to put the words “Transhumanist Party” after his name on the ballot paper (because it take several months for a new party to be formally registered in the UK), it’s not particularly surprising that most people in that constituency did not find a reason to vote for him. This result is a foundation for much better results in the future.

Darren Reynolds, standing as a Liberal Democratic in Bolton South East, fared better in absolute terms, with 1,072 votes, but suffered as part of a huge nationwide decline of -15.1% in the Liberal Democrat vote compared to the previous (2010) election.

Bolton South EastIn Bolton South East, the Liberal Democrat vote declined by 13.2%, which is less than the national average, showing (perhaps) some credit to Darren’s campaign.

For the 2015 election, transhumanist and technoprogressive topics hardly received any airtime in the public discussion. It will take some time to build up the necessary momentum. That work starts today.

Transpolitica news: priority tasks

Four months after the formation of Transpolitica, it’s a good time to check what are the right priorities, to ensure we achieve the best impact.

road-44403_1280

Re-scoping Book 2

I’ve updated the description of the kind of material I’m looking to include in the second Transpolitica book. Here’s an excerpt from the project page:

The chapters in this book are expected to be relatively short (maximum 5,000 words, but could be as short as 1,000 words), clearly written, and engaging for the general public.

Preference will be given to chapters which will be perceived as newsworthy – they will be of real interest to journalists and bloggers, who will want to write about their content. These chapters should, therefore, be novel and provocative, without sacrificing rationality or objectivity…

Good topics for chapters are anything that addresses the list of “high priority” tasks from the Transpolitica Projects webpage.

This change in emphasis is intended to address one issue – the comparative lack of significant online discussion on any of the chapters from Book 1.

  • Even though most of the chapters from Book 1 are now available online, in links from this page, there’s been little debate about their content. That’s despite the chapters having lots of interesting ideas in them.
  • We could attempt to stir up more discussion by better marketing of the content – and that’s something we’ll attempt
  • But we also have to recognise the limited attention span of most audience members. Unless we quickly catch the attention of readers, and stir them to a response, the moment of opportunity is lost.

Thanks to everyone who has already submitted abstracts for contents for Book 2. I’ve extended the period in which abstracts can be received, up until the 5th of May.

Note: At time of writing, seven of the ten chapters from Book 1 are available online. The other three will be released over the next few days – as soon as we can identify suitable graphic images that illustrate the chapters. (Any suggestions are welcome!)

Re-scoping the task list

As you can see, I’ve put more structure into the Transpolitica Projects page. It now states:

By preference, we encourage participation in the projects listed as “high priority”. Note: projects are placed in this category depending on:

  • Feedback from the individual politicians that Transpolitica is seeking to support
  • The views expressed by Transpolitica consultants and researchers

I’ll value comments on which tasks deserve to be listed as priorities. Here’s a copy of the current list:

Transpolitica YouTube channel

In case you haven’t seen it: Transpolitica now has a YouTube channel. Click here to visit it, where you’ll be able to subscribe to it.

(Hopefully the channel URL will soon have its own custom URL, instead of the lengthy string “UCQ2s-Bi_LaBhukUmD-D81Kw”)

There are only three videos on the channel at the moment, but expect many more over the months and years ahead.

 

Transpolitica Plans: Beyond Book 1

Ahead of a Transpolitica coordination hangout later today (Monday 30th March), here are updates on four plans that are currently under consideration:

1. Towards “Politics 2.0”

Book 2 Cover 0

The previous plan of record is that a new Transpolitica book, provisionally entitled “Politics 2.0”, will be collaboratively created and released, with timetable as follows:

  • Potential chapter writers should submit short abstracts by 21st April
  • Complete publication-ready text should be submitted by the end of May
  • An e-book will be available by 21st June.

What’s now under consideration is that the chapters of this book should all be published online, to increase readership. This publication would take place after the same sort of group review that preceded the publication of the first book in the Transpolitica series.

It remains to be decided which themes will have most focus in this new book. Ideally, topics from the first book which are generating the most reaction will be revisited in the second book.

2. Opening up readership of the first Transpolitica book

The ideas in the chapters of the first Transpolitica book, “Anticipating tomorrow’s politics”, deserve wider discussion. Two steps might aid this:

  • Publishing all the chapters online, freely accessible (in the same way that is proposed above for the second book in the series)
  • Finding and supporting a discussion forum (Reddit?) in which these chapters can be collaboratively debated.

3. Supporting the Transhumanist Party policy debate

The Transhumanist Party in the UK has published, on its own forums, a series of initial thought-pieces covering policy areas such as defence, economy, education, environment, the EU, foreign policy, health, judicial, political reform, and social. Transhumanist Party members will be revising these draft policy documents ahead of presenting them for formal approval at a forthcoming general meeting of the party.

Although some of the policies under discussion have a UK-flavour, most of them are likely to be relevant to other transhumanist political parties around the world. A good project for Transpolitica supporters would be to review one or more of these draft policy documents and provide brief, measured feedback on these documents. Members of the Transhumanist Party will then have the option to consider including some of the ideas arising in new versions of the policy documents.

Note: to join the UK Transhumanist Party, or to make a donation to support the work it is carrying out, see this link.

4. Refreshing the Transpolitica Manifesto

Recent expressions of the ideas in the Transpolitica Manifesto, for example at the recent launch event in London, have moved beyond the language currently on the Transpolitica website. For example, the online manifesto has eight headlines, whereas this (newer) diagram shows ten:

The Transpolitica manifesto summarisedThe online manifesto needs refreshing. In parallel, the ideas in the manifesto could usefully feature in new graphics and/or video resources:

  • We need combinations of imagery and wording, which, once published, will hopefully be widely copied across social media, on account of their mix of graphic appeal and verbal appeal
  • We also need videos that take these ideas from a static display into something more dynamic.

Vote for the Transpolitica book cover

Which of the following cover(s) do you prefer, for the forthcoming Transpolitica book Anticipating tomorrow’s politics?

Collage

Use this link to cast your votes, before 6pm UK time on Sunday 8th March.

Update 8th March: the poll is now closed. The top selection was “Clear Summit”.

Click on the following images to see higher resolution versions.

 Clear summit – “Clear summit”

 Colourful summit – “Colourful summit”

Parliaments digital – “Parliaments digital”

Parliaments rockets – “Parliaments rockets”

Politics topics – “Politics topics”

Westminster perspective – “Westminster perspective”

Westminster rocket – “Westminster rocket”

Many thanks to Transpolitica consultant Alberto Rizzoli for designing these candidate covers.

Note: Transpolitica is using CIVS (Condorcet Internet Voting Service) for this poll. CIVS takes into account relative voter preferences. In this case, the poll is open – anyone with the link can take part. (CIVS also supports private polls, restricted to a given set of email addresses. In both public and private polls, the individual votes are all anonymous.)

 

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.

Transpolitica News: Getting started

A great deal has happened in the ten days since the soft launch of Transpolitica. Here’s the first of what will become a series of updates on Transpolitica progress.

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.

Manifesto

After an initial flurry of changes, the Transpolitica Manifesto has now been relatively stable for about a week. This manifesto sets out core ideas for policy changes:

Transpolitica calls upon politicians of all parties to define and support:

  • Regenerative projects to take full advantage of accelerating technology.

More specifically, we call for:

  • Economic and personal liberation via the longevity dividend
  • An inclusive new social contract in the light of technological disruption
  • A proactionary regulatory system to fast-track innovative breakthroughs
  • Reform of democratic processes with new digital tools
  • Education transformed in readiness for a radically different future
  • A progressive transhumanist rights agenda
  • An affirmative new perspective on existential risks.

These Headlines are preceded in the manifesto by a Preamble, and all eight Headlines are backed up by the provision of further Details.

The Transpolitica Manifesto drew inspiration from the Technoprogressive Declaration that was published in November 2014 following the TransVision 2014 conference in Paris. In turn, our Manifesto has helped to inspire a number of other political statements, including:

In parallel, the Transhumanist Party (UK) is working on its own set of Transhumanist Party Principles.

There’s an opportunity to improve the contents of the Transpolitica Manifesto in the light of the good examples provided as these other documents develop.

Another important step forward will be when the Transpolitica Manifesto is turned into one or more videos, in order to reach a wider audience.

FAQ

The Transpolitica Manifesto is backed up by a FAQ. The FAQ remains a work-in-progress. If anyone would like to propose changes or additions to the FAQ, please get in touch.

How to get involved in Transpolitica projects

The Transpolitica Projects page lists:

  • A set of tasks awaiting volunteers
  • Suggestions for how to discuss your ideas with other Transpolitica supporters.

Book project

The project which currently has the most activity is to publish our first book of essays:

Transpolitica invites political thinkers, futurists, and transhumanists from around the world to become involved in a project to publish a book entitled “Anticipating tomorrow’s politics”.

This project is looking for chapter authors, reviewers, editors, and graphic designers.

Since the call was issued for people to submit proposals for chapters:

  • One complete chapter has already been submitted, in a publication-ready state
  • Seven other authors have submitted abstracts (formal or informal) that have been approved to go forwards to the writing stage
  • Six more people may be submitting abstracts (or revised abstracts) shortly – we await further information
  • A small number of initial author submissions have been declined, sorry, though these authors are welcome to re-submit proposals taking account of the feedback.

The stated deadline for submitting chapter abstracts (just a few sentences will suffice) is the end of January. Some submissions may be accepted after that cut-off, though the later authors leave things, the harder the hurdle they will have to overcome.

In all cases, complete publication-ready material for the chapter needs to be in the hands of the Transpolitica team by the end of February.

If anyone would like to join the team that reviews submissions, proposes edits (if needed), suggests changes to layout and graphics, etc, please make contact. (And see below for suggestions for the book cover.)

Asking the right questions

Reflections about Transpolitica – especially in the light of ideas for book chapters – show that we’re not yet in a position to advocate detailed policy recommendations. We don’t have all the answers, so far.

Over time, detailed policy recommendations will emerge. But for now, what we can – and should – do, is the following:

  • Highlight future scenarios, that deserve more consideration
  • Ask the key questions, that will transform contemporary political debate.

It is our insight as transhumanists and radical futurists that gives us the collective ability to do both of these things. In this way, we can make a cosmic dent in the political process.

Social media

What’s your favourite social media? Transpolitica online presence is growing:

On LinkedIn, there’s already been a small discussion about Transpolitica in response to a blogpost there. Transpolitica also exists as a company on LinkedIn – it’s listed as a “think tank”. See https://www.linkedin.com/company/9267587. If you’re one of the people listed on the (forthcoming) Transpolitica website page “Consultants, writers, and researchers”, feel free to add an item to your LinkedIn entry for your affiliation with Transpolitica.

Consultants, writers, and researchers

The co-founding team for Transpolitica will be announced shortly.

If you are interested in becoming involved, introduce yourself on the Transpolitica mailing group, stating what you would like to contribute to Transpolitica.

Alternatively, send an email to the Transpolitica programme management team.

Note: in the start-up phase, Transpolitica is operating with zero cash-flow, and all positions are voluntary.

The following list gathers some criteria for people to be considered as a named consultant, writer, or researcher for Transpolitica:

  1. Track record of producing interesting, well-researched material
  2. Able to finish agreed projects within agreed deadlines
  3. Strong public support in favour of transhumanist ideals
  4. Responsive to changing circumstances – practices agile working methods
  5. Doesn’t need a complex support infrastructure – practices lean working methods
  6. Able to disagree with people in a respectful, constructive way, rather than resorting to abuse
  7. Avoids publishing material that is likely to damage the good name of Transpolitica.

Note: people can use aliases for their Transpolitica persona, if they have good reasons to avoid using their official names.

Applications are welcomed from people with all political allegiances (or none), all religious backgrounds (or none), all employment and education backgrounds (or none), all parts of the world, and all ages and genders, etc.

Transpolitica decision-making

How should decisions be made inside Transpolitica? How can we “be the change we want to see”, taking advantage of the latest technology to practise better collaborative decision-making?

We’re currently experimenting with the online tool Loomio. To quote from https://www.loomio.org/about:

Loomio emerged when activists from the Occupy movement teamed up with the social enterprise network Enspiral, realising that they were using different approaches to work towards the same aim.

Loomio is being built by a core team in Wellington, New Zealand, and a wider network of friends and supporters all over the world.

Loomio organises decisions into “Discussions”. These discussions start off with context and a loose brainstorming give-and-take. Once someone has a firm proposal in mind, they click the “Create a proposal” button, and give the group a fixed amount of time to vote on it. (48 hours seems sufficient.) By design, each discussion can only have one live proposal at any one time. That can seem counter-intuitive, but it turns out to have its own merits.

It’s too early to tell whether Transpolitica will keep on using Loomio. Our experiences with it, so far, have not been decisive, one way or the other. There are many other tools we could trial, as alternatives – each with their own apparent pluses and minuses.

In the meantime, there’s a new Discussion on the Loomio board – “Book cover”. To view that discussion, and to contribute to it, you’ll need to:

  1. Create a Loomio account for yourself (if you don’t have one already)
  2. Request permission to join the Transpolitica group on Loomio.

(If you click on the above link, “Book cover”, Loomio should walk you through the process automatically.)

Hangouts-on-Air

Another Transpolitica initiative is to host online video discussions relevant to the future of politics. People can view these discussions live (and ask questions to the panelists), or can catch up with the recordings afterwards. Two forthcoming events are as follows:

If you visit the corresponding Google+ event pages and RSVP ‘Yes’, Google will send you a reminder to join it.

Let us know which topics (and which participants) it would be good to feature in future Transpolitica Hangouts-on-Air.