FAQ

Q: What is the relation between Transpolitica and the various Transhumanist Parties?

Transpolitica aims to provide material and services that will be found useful by transhumanist politicians worldwide, including:

  • Transhumanist supporters who form or join parties with the name “Transhumanist Party” in various countries
  • Transhumanist supporters who form other new parties, without using the word “transhumanist” in their party name
  • Transhumanist supporters inside other existing political parties, including mainstream and long-established parties
  • Transhumanist supporters who prefer not to associate closely with any one political party, but who have an interest in political action.

Q: What does it mean for a politician to be a “Transhumanist politician”?

The Transhumanist FAQ, available on the Humanity+ website, contains this definition of transhumanism:

Transhumanism is a class of philosophies of life that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values.

The Wikipedia article “Transhumanist politics” contains the following definition:

Transhumanist politics is a political ideology that aims to improve the human condition through the use of advanced technologies. Transhumanists tend to support life extension, human enhancement technologies, space exploration and space settlement, human rights, sustainable development, technogaianism, and raising the world’sliving standard through technology, science, education, decentralization, and just governance.

Q: What are the goals and manifesto of Transpolitica?

The goals are described here and the Transpolitica Manifesto is available here.

The purpose of this FAQ is to answer questions that are not answered in the statement of goals or in the manifesto.

Q: Why is the label “transhumanism” needed to advance these policies?

People can, of course, support and promote individual policies from the Transpolitica Manifesto without adopting the label “transhumanist”. But the concept of transhumanism provides an over-arching framework – a vision and an outline roadmap – to achieve the larger changes envisioned in the manifesto:

Regenerative projects to take full advantage of accelerating technology

As the manifesto states:

Accelerating technological progress has the potential to transform lives in the next ten years more profoundly than in any preceding ten year period in history.

Radical technological changes are coming sooner than people think, in technology fields such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, renewable energy, regenerative medicine, brain sciences, big data analytics, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Together, these technologies will change society in unexpected ways, disrupting familiar patterns of industry, lifestyle, and thinking.

These changes include the potential for exceptional benefits for both the individual and society, as well as the potential for tremendous risk.

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.

Transhumanism keeps the potential of these large transformations at the forefront of mind, rather than letting them be obscured by the traditional political concerns that tend to motivate most existing politicians.

Q: How can people become involved in Transpolitica, and offer their support?

See this page for more information about Transpolitica projects and discussion forums.

Q: What kind of research does Transpolitica undertake?

Transpolitica researches the policy changes that will enable fuller research and development to be carried out that will advance beneficial uses of technology.

  • For example, Transpolitica does not directly research the risks and benefits of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). Instead, Transpolitica researches what policy changes may be needed so that society as a whole can devote sufficient resources to developing safe AGI.
  • Again, Transpolitica does not research which biotech approaches to healthy life extension are likely to be the most effective. Instead, Transpolitica researches changes in legislation, standards processes, and financial subsidies, that will allow larger number of biotech researches to work on healthy life extension research.

Transpolitica also researches how best to present transhumanist political ideas to a wider audience:

  • Possible talking points, themes, slogans, and logos
  • Responses to questions that are likely to arise.

Q: Should transhumanist political parties be described as pro-immortality?

The word “immortality” belongs in Hollywood, science fiction, religion, and philosophy. Transhumanist politicians set their sights, instead, on matters which lie within practical grasp. This includes:

  • Advocating a sharp increase in research and development of therapies for biotech rejuvenation, including regenerative medicine
  • Enabling people, if they wish, to make arrangements for their own cryopreservation, as an alternative to cremation or burial, applicable when they approach death
  • Evaluating and managing potential risks from new technologies which, if left unchecked, could cause widespread death.

Rather than being described as “Immortality parties”, transhumanist political parties are better described as championing extended healthy lifespans and progressive regenerative medicine.

Q: Are transhumanist politicians inherently “right wing” or “left wing”?

Transhumanists vary among themselves as regards their sympathies for traditional political dividing lines. A right-left distinction is no longer adequate to characterise political viewpoints. A more important dimension is the attitude of politicians towards the potential of radical technological enhancement of humans (both individually and socially):

  • Transhumanist politicians fully support the investigation and proactive adoption of technologies enabling positive human transformation, such as biotech, nanotech, infotech, and cognotech
  • In contrast, most mainstream politicians have only a limited insight into the imminent transformational power of these technologies, fail to prioritise researching and developing them, and may even (as “bioconservatives”) be opposed to them.

Q: Are transhumanist politicians inherently “big government” or “small government”?

Governments and businesses share the attribute that, left to their own devices, they are likely to seek growth. Transhumanist politicians see important roles for both government and business, but wish to prevent any one organisation gaining undue monopoly and restricting diversity.

Rather than “big business” or “big government” having too much sway over public life, transhumanists would prefer to give centre stage to science, technology, evidence-based policy, rationality, and transhuman rights.

Q: Are transhumanist politicians inherently anti-religious?

No. Transhumanism is open to people of all cultures and beliefs. Rather than being anti-religious, it is better to say transhumanists are anti-dogma.

Transhumanists should be happy to form working alliances with any groups of people, provided these groups:

  • Affirm support for the majority of the content of the Transpolitica Manifesto
  • Elevate principles of rationality and science ahead of principles of tradition
  • Avoid regarding any religious literature or practice as being the ultimate guide to matters of social and political policy
  • Avoid any principles of racism, sexism, ageism, or other intolerance.

At the same time, transhumanists are secularist, and will generally seek to remove:

  • Any privileges (such as tax subsidies) that organizations possess, simply because of a religious labelling
  • Any exclusive power that religious organizations possess over the affairs of state
  • Any right of religions to seek legal or extralegal recourse when their members feel personally offended by criticisms (or perceived criticisms) of their religion.

Q: Should transhumanist politicians favour open immigration across borders?

All potential large-scale movements of people need to be managed, rather than allowing immigration on such a level as to overwhelm existing infrastructure.

Transhumanist politicians urge enabling immigration only to people who 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.

Q: Should transhumanist politicians support a quick transition to cryptocurrencies?

No. Investigation and proof of concepts need to be trialled first.

Q: Should transhumanist politicians support a UBI (Universal Basic Income)?

Transhumanist politicians will draw attention to the expected rapid spread of technological unemployment, with humans being likely to be displaced from the workforce by automation at a rate faster than at any time in history. In turn, this raises a need for a new, inclusive social contract.

Whether this social contract should involve UBI or other mechanisms is still unclear, and emphasis might vary from country to country.

Q: What is transhumanist policy towards public health services, such as the NHS?

Free access to healthcare is an important human right. Transhumanists seek to extend this principle to enable free access, not only to “cures” for ill-health, but also to “therapies” to enhance body and mind to a state of “better than well”.

Transhumanists understand that overall costs of healthcare can be significantly reduced as a result of the “longevity dividend” from forthcoming regenerative medicines:

  • Regenerative medicines will reduce the incidence of people becoming seriously ill, with diseases that become more prevalent and more serious with unchecked aging
  • These treatments will delay (and in due course avoid altogether) the large healthcare expenditure that frequently takes place towards the end of life, when people become afflicted with multiple co-morbidities
  • This principle can also be stated as “prevention is cheaper than cure”; forthcoming regenerative medicine will prevent the escalation of the diseases of old age.

Q: What is transhumanist policy towards groupings of countries, such as the EU?

The movement from nation state governance to international governance is an inevitable by-product of greater inter-connectivity:

  • Technology enables richer communications
  • Corporations and other organisations frequently operate transnationally
  • Legal regulations and standards require coordination across national borders.

However, the tendency for governments to self-aggrandise needs to be resisted – this applies to transnational governance, such as in the EU, as much as on the national level.

Moreover, transnational governance needs to avoid imposing unnecessary degrees of uniformity across different locations. Local variation and autonomy should continue to be respected.

In short, transnational governance is in need of continuous reform, in the light of accelerating technology, the same as applies for national or local governance. The Transpolitica manifesto principles of “Reform of democratic processes with new digital tools” should be applied.

Q: Should transhumanist politicians have any proposal about the use, in dedicated places and under supervision of specialists, of psychedelic or recreational drugs? (Aren’t drugs, in a careful and informed context, our best way to “enhance” our capacities/emotions/feelings/spirit?)

[ Fuller answer needed here ]

See here for a positive assessment of the impact of drug decriminalisation in Portugal.

Q: How can people suggest modifications to this FAQ?

Raise suggestions on the Transpolitica mailing group.

Recent Posts

Q2 sprint: Political responses to technological unemployment

Technological Unemployment v2

Q1 recap

Before sharing some details about Transpolitica focus during Q2 2018, here’s a quick update on Transpolitica activities during Q1 2018.

Transpolitica has made good progress during Q1 with goals identified at the start of this period:

Priority project for Q2

As Q2 approaches, it’s now time to put into motion the first of a series of time-limited projects to dive more deeply into some of the specific key themes of a better politics.

Each such project will involve gathering, developing, reviewing, and then disseminating the best technoprogressive thinking on a given topic.

The first project in the series is “Political responses to technological unemployment”, carried out over three phases:

  1. Up to end of April 2018: mainly writing and collecting submissions – framing analyses, thought pieces, policy recommendations, etc
  2. Up to end of May 2018: more focus on group deliberation – where are the weak points and the strong points of our collective understanding, and how can we improve our understanding
  3. Up to end of June 2018: more focus on communicating our findings and recommendations, via publications, memes, slogans, videos, etc

Note that I am using the phrase “technological unemployment” to also include “technological under-employment” and “precarious employment”. (A better choice of words could be one outcome from the project.)

Starting points for this project (to avoid people re-inventing the wheel) include:

Depending on progress, possible outcomes of the project might include a PDF research pamphlet, a video, an improved set of pages on H+Pedia, a press release, a set of slides, and/or a public event (such as a meeting of London Futurists in June and the Humanity+ Beijing event in July).

Questions that need addressing

Key to the success of the project will be the identification of the areas most in need of better understanding. These are the “major uncertainties” where we should prioritise our focus.

For the moment, it seems to me that these areas include:

  1. Potential transition mechanisms from where society is today, to a new social contract in which a citizen’s income (to give one example) is in place
  2. Possible alternatives to a citizen’s income
  3. Strengths and weaknesses of various forecasts of scenarios for the development of technological unemployment
  4. The pros and cons of various ways of raising money to pay for a citizen’s income
  5. The possible role of decentralised technologies such as blockchain in the administration of a citizen’s income
  6. The possibility of an “Apollo scale” project to drive down the costs of all goods and services needed for a prosperous lifestyle
  7. International and trans-border considerations

If you think you know at least part of the answers to the above questions – or if you think there are more important questions to be addressing – please do become involved.

To become more involved in this project

The mailing group https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/transpolitica exists to to coordinate planning and execution of Transpolitica projects. To join the group, visit this page, and send a subscription request.

(There’s also a Transpolitica group on Facebook, but with a potential impending mass exodus from Facebook, it’s more important than before to use other means for project coordination.)

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