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

Championing the Future

What are the most important issues that deserve full attention, during the campaigns leading up to the UK General Election on 8th June?

GE_2017

Should this election be dominated by the single issue of “Brexit”? That’s the issue given prominence by Prime Minister Theresa May as she called this snap election.

The Prime Minister wants the votes in GE2017 to deliver her a clearer power base, and therefore a stronger negotiating position with the other countries of the EU during what is anticipated to be a difficult set of discussions over the next two years.

In brief, the three main political parties in England and Wales (to set aside for the moment the special conditions that apply in both Scotland and Northern Ireland) have Brexit positions as follows:

  • The Conservatives have committed to a decisive break with the EU – leaving the single market and the customs union – and in the event of a failure of negotiations, with no framework relationship at all with the EU
  • The Conservative are also committed to giving, via the “Great Repeal Bill”, UK government ministers ongoing discretionary power over thousands of legal decisions which previously required either EU or UK parliamentary review
  • Labour have also committed to following through with a break from the EU, but don’t support “Brexit at any cost”; instead they advocate “Brexit with social justice”
  • Labour demand that the final negotiated terms will be put to the UK parliament for verification, though they have not clarified what they want to happen if Parliament rejects these terms (that is, whether the UK might in that case seek to retain its membership in what could be a reformed EU)
  • The LibDems are pushing for the UK to remain in the single market and the customs union
  • The LibDems also champion the ability of the UK Parliament to vote, at the end of the negotiations with the EU, for the UK to remain inside the EU after all, in case it has become clearer by that time what costs and drawbacks an exit will incur, and that many the presumed benefits of separation are illusory.

But should the GE2017 decision be decided entirely by views about Brexit?

That question hinges, in the first instance, on how seriously you view the consequences of a “wrong” Brexit outcome. Both sides of the Brexit debate contain people who see the matter as having fundamental importance:

  • Passionate Leave supporters highlight what they see as impending crises within the EU zone. The Euro is about to fail, they say. The EU operates opaquely, with no transparency. It increasingly lacks democratic support for its empire-building aims. Better for the UK to be as far away as possible from this forthcoming major train wreck. So long as it remains constrained by EU processes, the UK will be unable to adopt the policies needed for its own best future prospects
  • Passionate Remain supporters, on the other hand, forecast what will be a “Titanic” outcome of Brexit, to refer to an unfortunate choice of words from Boris Johnson, the UK Foreign Secretary – words turned into a scathing black comedy video by Comedy Central UK

However, I’m drawn to the observation made by sustainability advocate David Bent at a recent London Futurists event:

If you’re worried about leaving the European Union… I worry more about leaving the safe zone for civilisation on our global planet

Slide 31

David was referring to the prospects of forthcoming runaway climate change: the departure of the Earth from the “Holocene era” to an “Anthropocene era”. See from around 13-18 minutes into this recording of the event:
.

The bigger issues

Climate change is an example of the category of “existential issues” – issues that might radically alter the well-being of human existence on planet Earth, well within many of our lifetimes.

These issues include existential threats but also existential opportunities. What they have in common is that, unless we give them sufficient attention in advance, our room for manoeuvre may rapidly diminish. It may become too late to head off an existential threat (such as runaway climate change), or too late to take hold of an existential opportunity (such as investing vigorously in next-generation green technologies).

In all these cases, we may end up realising, too late, that we had been concentrating on lesser matters – matters that appeared urgent – and lost sight of the truly important ones. Too much debate over the swings and roundabouts mechanics of Brexit, for example, may lead us to forget about the actions needed in many other areas of forthcoming radical change. Too much focus on the present-day rough-and-tumble may prevent us from championing the future.

That’s why Transpolitica urges serious attention, in the run-up to GE2017, to a number of potential existential issues. We need politicians who will commit to devoting significant energies to developing practical plans to enable the following:

  1. Next generation green technologies, including those for better storage and transmission of clean energy
  2. Healthcare solutions that address the causes of ill-health and disease, rather than just trying to patch people up after the onset of chronic illness – these solutions include regenerative medicine and other rejuvenation therapies, to be made available and affordable to every citizen
  3. Radical solutions, as a subset of the previous case, for the growing crisis of mental ill-health, including dementia, as well as depression
  4. Transitioning society away from one in which we live to work (with the aim of near full employment) to one in which we live to flourish (with the aim of near full unemployment) – this transition may become especially pressing, with the rapid onset of technological unemployment and technological under-employment in the wake of robots, AI, and other automation
  5. Foreseeing and forestalling the risks to societal well-being from widespread surveillance (by both corporations and governments), and from pervasive online infrastructures that are increasingly vulnerable to security flaws and other errors in software implementation (including powerful AI algorithms that operate with unexpected biases)
  6. Mechanisms for better debates on political topics – debates freed from distortions such as fake news, deliberately misleading statements, overly powerful press barons, deceptive intentions being kept hidden, and the flaws of the “first past the post” election system
  7. Mechanisms for effective international collaboration, that supersede and/or improve upon the existing troubled operations of the UN, the IMF, and more local organisations such as the EU.

The last of these issues takes us full circle. Proper solutions to the big issues of the near-future depend upon a healthy international environment. If you think that the UK leaving the EU will significantly impact, for better or for worse, the UK’s ability to address the other big issues, then maybe you would be correct, after all, to prioritise the Brexit issue in the GE2017 campaign.

But only if we keep these other issues in mind too.

Footnote

Some of the themes covered above are likely to feature in the London Futurists event happening on 29th April, “Who can save Humanity from Superintelligence”, addressed by Tony Czarnecki, Managing Partner of Sustensis.

Here’s an extract from the description of that event:

The presentation will cover four overlapping crises Humanity faces today – crises in the domains of politics, economics, society, and existential risk. The presentation will also provide a vision of a possible solution, with a reformed European Union becoming the core of a new supranational organization having the best chance to tackle these problems.

The world faces a series of existential risks. When combined, the chance of one of these risks materializing in just 20 years is at least 5%. We already had one such “near miss” that could have annihilated the entire civilization. That was the Cuban crisis in October 1962, which almost started a global nuclear war…

Additionally, mainly due to the advancement in technology, the world is changing at almost an exponential pace. That means that change, not just in technology but also in political or social domains, which might previously have taken a decade to produce a significant effect, can now happen in just a year or two. No wonder that people, even in the most developed countries, cannot absorb the pace of change that happens simultaneously in so many domains of our lives. That’s why emotions have overtaken reason.

People are voting in various elections and referenda against the status quo, not really knowing what the problem is, even less what could be the solution. Even if some politicians know what the overall, usually unpleasant solutions could be, they are unlikely to share that with their own electorate because they would be deselected in the next election. The vicious circle continues but at an increasingly faster pace…

Anyone wanting to improve the situation faces three problems:

  1. Existential risks require fast action, while the world’s organisations act very slowly
  2. People want more freedom and more control, while we need to give up some of our freedoms and national sovereignty for the greater good of civilisation and humanity
  3. Most people can’t see beyond tomorrow and act emotionally, while we need to see the big picture and act rationally.

Therefore, anybody that sees the need for the world to take urgent action faces a formidable task of proposing pragmatic, fast and very radical changes in the ways the world is governed.

For more details of this event – and to RSVP to attend what will surely be a lively discussion – click here.

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