Consultants

Transpolitica’s Consultants, Writers, and Researchers

David Wood

DWDavid Wood has spent 25 years envisioning, architecting, designing, implementing, and avidly using smart mobile devices. As one of the pioneers of the smartphone industry, he co-founded Symbian, the creator of the world’s first successful smartphone operating system, and served on the leadership teams of Psion Software and Symbian from 1996-2009. At different times, his executive responsibilities included software development, technical consulting, developer evangelism, partnering and ecosystem management, and research and innovation.

From 2010 to 2013, David was Technology Planning Lead (CTO) of Accenture Mobility. He also co-led Accenture’s “Mobility Health” business initiative. He now acts as independent futurist, consultant, and writer, at Delta Wisdom.

As chair of London Futurists, David has organized regular meetings in London since March 2008 on futurist, transhumanist, technoprogressive, and singularitarian topics. Membership of London Futurists now exceeds 6,000.

In November 2005 David received an honorary Doctorate in Science (D.Sc.) from the University of Westminster, in recognition of his services to the smartphone industry. T3 magazine included him in 2009 in their list of the “100 most influential people in technology”. In 2010 he featured in the world’s first Augmented Reality CV.

David became a Board Director of Humanity+ in November 2013. He was lead editor of the volume “Anticipating 2025: A guide to the radical changes that may lie ahead, whether or not we’re ready”, published in June 2014. His own book “Smartphones and beyond: lessons from the remarkable rise and fall of Symbian” was published in September 2014, and has been described as “One of the most candid and revealing books a technology executive has ever written”. He is a Fellow of the IEET.

David became Executive Director of Transpolitica in January 2015.

Alexander Karran

AKAlexander Karran became, in May 2015, the first candidate to run for election in a UK general election with a purely technoprogressive transhumanist agenda. This was in the seat of Liverpool Walton.

Alexander has a broad academic background, holding a PhD in Psychology  (focused on bio-cybernetic loops and physiological computing), a Masters degree in Computer Network Security (focused on cyber-security and digital forensic analysis) and an undergraduate degree in computer science.

Alexanders’s research for Transpolitica has included:

Alexander is a public speaker who advocates for longevity science, artificial intelligence in education and governance, and the wise application of technology to the problems faced by modern society. He is also a keen follower of current trends in accelerating technologies and their potential to transform human behaviour.

Alexander is currently an academic at Manchester Metropolitan University, giving lectures on data science, cyber-security policy, future trends in cyber-security and digital forensics and programming.

Julian Snape

JSJulian Snape was one of the early co-founders of Transhumanism in the UK in the late 1990’s with ExtroBritannia, giving talks on Transhumanism and other related subjects at Conway Hall. He then became a co-founder of the UK Transhumanist Association at the start of the 2000’s.

Julian’s professional career began in the fields of Sales, Marketing and PR with Apple Computers, and Sales, Marketing, PR, and Operations with a major games company. He then became the IT Manager of a large educational books group.

He gained his Cert Ed (FE) while teaching IT and is now completing a Transhumanist themed Natural Sciences BSc (Hons) with the Open University. He retains a professional interest in educational methods and MOOCs.

Julian’s Futurist and Transhumanist interests include nanotechnology, life extension, 3d printing, robots and system automation along with the necessary Basic Income Guarantee initiative to cope with the ensuing unemployment – or rather liberation from jobs of drudgery.

He lives in Norfolk (UK) in the company of three 3d printers.

George Pór

GPGeorge Pór is a Visiting Professor at the Management Center Innsbruck. His academic posts have included London School of Economics, INSEAD, University of Amsterdam, UC Berkeley, California Institute of Integral Studies, Université de Paris, and University of Lund (Sweden).

George served as the Chief Architect of the International Society for Systems Sciences’ Collective Intelligence Initiative, and has been an advisor to the Integral City collective.

Besides being the Founder and Senior Consultant of CommunityIntelligence Ltd, George is also a Fellow of Future Considerations, an award-winning organisational transformation agency. His clients included Campus de Excelencia Internacional Cataluña Sur, Climate and Development Knowledge Network, European Commission, European Investment Bank, Ford Motor Co., Greenpeace, Intel, Shell, UN Development Programme, World Wildlife Foundation, and numerous other organisations around the world.

George has been publishing the Blog of Collective Intelligence since 2003, has written over 100 papers and articles on related subjects in 6 languages, and contributed chapters to several books.

George has been a futurist and observer of the extropian/transhumanist ecosystem since the mid-80s. He pioneered such theoretical and methodological frameworks, as knowledge ecology, knowledge gardening, innovation architecture, Chaordic Chat, shared mindfulness and collective sentience. His current research interests include: learning in and by complex adaptive social system, learning regions and society, (global-scale) collective intelligence and wisdom, evolutionary guidance systems, global brain studies, global solution networks, collective sentience, and the emergence of higher “we-spaces.” He lives on the edge because, as he likes to say, if one doesn’t live on the edge one takes up too much space.

Alberto Rizzoli

ARAlberto Rizzoli has a degree in management from Cass Business School and a background in finance, media, and education technology. He grew up in a political scene in Italy and was interested in futurist ideas since an early age.

Alberto is the co-founder and business director of a 3D printing ed-tech startup aiming to bring a 3D printer to every British school so that tomorrow’s generations become familiar with technology at an early age, and are never intimidated by it. The program was presented at the Houses of Parliament before British MPs as part of the national efforts to modernise primary and secondary education.

Before that, he worked in Google, working with the company’s clients in the Italian finance industry, and in corporate finance in London. He also has experience in campaigning for both the European and Italian parliament.

He is now building a data donation platform for the anonymous sharing of our energy and health data with the aim of promoting bottom-up transparency. Alberto is interested in bringing forward the conversation on universal basic income, longevity, and the opportunities in 3D printing.

Sally Morem

SMAs an essayist, Sally Moren has been fascinated by and has written about a wide variety of subjects, including science, science fiction, the future, politics, philosophy, and Transhumanism.

Sally is an advisory board member of Lifeboat Foundation and has recently been elected to the board of the New Chorale of Southwest Florida.

Sally has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine/Studio Arts from Southwest Minnesota State University,

She winters in Bonita Springs, Florida and summers in Nisswa, Minnesota, a splendid situation. Much better than the other way around.

José Cordeiro

JCJosé Luis Cordeiro describes himself as a world citizen in our small planet in a big unknown universe. He was born in Latin America, from European parents, was educated in Europe and North America, and has worked extensively in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. He has studied, visited and worked in over 130 countries in 5 continents.

José studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, where he received his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) and Master of Science (M.Sc.) degrees in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Economics and Languages. He later studied International Economics and Comparative Politics at Georgetown University in Washington, USA, and then obtained his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at the Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) in Fontainebleau, France. During his studies, José worked with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna, Austria, and with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC, USA. He started his doctoral degree at MIT, which he continued later in Tokyo, Japan, and finally received his PhD at Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB) in Caracas, Venezuela.

Following his graduation, José worked as an engineer in petroleum exploration for the French company Schlumberger. For several years, he served as an advisor for many of the major oil companies in the world, including Agip, BP, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, PDVSA, Pemex, Petrobras, Repsol, Shell and Total. Later, in Paris, he initiated his relation with the international consulting company Booz-Allen & Hamilton, where he specialized in the areas of strategy, finance and restructuring. In Latin America, he has served as an advisor for some of the most important regional corporations and has taken part in the transformation and privatization of a number of oil companies in the continent. His experience and studies in monetary policy, currency boards, dollarization and monetary unions have taken him to participate in several monetary changes in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

At present, he is chair of the Venezuelan Node of the Millennium Project, Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE – JETRO) in Tokyo, Japan, and Founding Faculty and Energy Advisor at Singularity University(SU) in NASA Ames Research Park, Silicon Valley, California, USA. He is also an independent consultant, writer, researcher, professor and “tireless traveler”. He has lectured as an Invited Professor at several major institutions, from MIT in the USA and Sophia University (上智大学) in Japan to the Institute for Higher Studies in Administration (IESA) and the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), where he created the first formal courses of Futures Studies (“Prospectiva”) and the Austrian School of Economics in Venezuela.

José is founder and president emeritus of the World Future Society Venezuela Chapter (Sociedad Mundial del Futuro Venezuela); director of the Single Global Currency Association (SGCA) and the Lifeboat Foundation; cofounder of the Venezuelan Transhumanist Association and of the Internet Society (ISOC, Venezuela Chapter); board advisor to the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) and Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN); member of the Academic Committee of the Center for the Dissemination of Economic Knowledge (CEDICE), the Foresight Education and Research Network (FERN), the World Future Society (WFS) and the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF); expert member of the TechCast Project and ShapingTomorrow; former director of the World Transhumanist Association (WTA, now Humanity+), the Extropy Institute (ExI), the Club of Rome (Venezuela Chapter, where he was active promoting classical liberal ideas and the idea of “World Opportunitique” beyond “World Problematique” and “World Resolutique”) and of the Association of Venezuelan Exporters (AVEX), where he participated in the original negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). He has also been advisor to the Venezuelan Business Association (AVE) and other companies and international organizations.

Roland Schiefer

RSRoland was born in Austria and earned an MSc in biophysics from the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg, Germany and a PhD from the Medical School at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He now lives in the UK.

His work and his philosophical interests always returned to the boundary between humans and their tools. This included, for example, the development of decompression tables for deep-sea divers at the German Institute for Aerospace Medicine, the development of an energy supply planning tool that considered emissions and relevant legal aspects at the Pestel Institute in Hanover, Germany, a large-scale study on the effect of temperature on the mental performance of schoolchildren at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa and numerous publications on thermal physiology. He later worked as electronic commerce consultant and co-founder and director of an internet-based education company.

Roland’s special interest concerns technologies that can change who we are and how we want to live together. His book “All In The Mind” speculates how we could manage the transition towards a stable social system in which citizens are free to choose their personalities and their emotional responses to experiences.

Roland’s recent considerations concern the opportunities and threats of artificial intelligence tools, smart systems that most of us will soon use most of the time and that will change our social and political order.

René Milan

RMF 2014-12-21 CRené has been a psychedelic transhumanist for forty years and a member of WTA (now Humanity+) for fifteen.  He has worked as a clinical psychologist and transpersonal psychotherapist for twenty five years and as a computer programmer and technical analyst for thirty.

René lived for many years in germany, catalunya, the u.s., japan, the u.k and currently in Jerez de la Frontera in andalucia and for shorter periods in ireland, netherlands, belgium, france, switzerland and angola.  Having no allegiance to any country he has great hopes for the EU as the only serious attempt to overcome the nation state concept.

He subscribes to the CMT that states: “It is ethical and desirable to improve the human condition through technology”, but sees the CMT as firmly rooted in the values of the Enlightenment. He puts great emphasis on the fact that technologies enabling mental development have been available for millennia but are still recognised by too few, and sees the necessity of integrating them with those technologies that are largely still emerging.

Recent Posts

Democracy and inclusion: chapter ready for review

FiPo cover hires

Another new chapter of the forthcoming book “Transcending Politics” has been released for review comments by Transpolitica supporters. This means that drafts of ten of the envisaged 13 chapters have now been completed. At the current rate of progress, the book has a good chance of being finished by Christmas.

The latest chapter is entitled “Democracy and inclusion”. You can get an idea of the content covered in this chapter by the list of its section headings:

  • Technoprogressive decision-making
  • When democracy goes wrong
  • Why democracy matters
  • A democracy fit for a better future
  • Better politicians for better democracy
  • Beyond the stranglehold of political parties
  • Could we dispense with politicians?
  • Why nations fail

Here’s how the chapter starts (in its current version):

I’ll start this chapter by repeating a set of questions from midway through the previous chapter:

Where should the boundary fall, between the permitted and the impermissible? What is the method to tell whether a particular item of food or medicine is suitable to be freely bought and sold, as opposed to needing regulation? What safety regulations should employers be obliged to observe, in their treatment of employees or contractors? Which new technologies need careful monitoring (such as hazardous new biochemicals), and which can have all details freely published on the open Internet?

My basic answer to all these questions was: it’s complicated, but we can work out the answers step by step. I now want to ask a follow-up set of questions:

  • Who is it that should decide where the boundary should fall, between the permitted and the impermissible?
  • Who is it that should decide which health and safety regulations should be introduced?
  • Who is it that should decide which technologies need careful monitoring?

Should these decisions be taken by civil servants, by academics, by judges, by elected politicians, or by someone else?

There’s a gist of an answer in what I said later in the previous chapter:

Each area of regulatory oversight of the economy – each set of taxes or safety standards imposed or revised – needs careful attention by an extended community of reviewers

By drawing on technological solutions that can orchestrate the input of large numbers of human thinkers, we can keep improving our collective understanding of the best regulatory frameworks and institutions. We can collectively decide which constraints are needed on the activity of the free market, so that we benefit from its good consequences without suffering unnecessarily from its bad consequences.

But how will this work in practice? How do we prevent the bad effects of “group think” or (worse) “mob rule”? If there’s “an extended community of reviewers” involved, won’t that be far too cumbersome and slow in its deliberations?

Just as important, how do we avoid decisions being overly influenced by self-proclaimed experts who, in reality, have expertise in only a narrow domain, or whose expertise is out-of-date or otherwise ill-founded? And how do we guard against decision-makers being systematically misled by clever misinformation that builds a “false consciousness”?

Technoprogressive decision-making

As I see things, the ideal technoprogressive decision-making process would observe the following fifteen principles:

  1. Openness: Decisions should be subject to open review, rather than taking place secretly behind closed doors; reasons for and against decisions should be made public, throughout the decision-making process, so they can be scrutinised and improved
  2. Accessibility: Details of the decision process should be communicated in ways so that the key points can be understood by as wide a group of people as possible; this will allow input into the decision by people with multiple perspectives and backgrounds
  3. Disclosure: Assumptions behind decisions should be stated clearly, so they can be subject to further debate; potential conflicts of interest – for example if someone with ties to a particular company is part of a standards-setting exercise that would impact the company’s products – should, likewise, be stated upfront
  4. Accountability: People who are found to have deliberately miscommunicated points relevant to a decision – for example, suppressing important evidence, or distorting a competing argument – should be liable to a judicial process, and may have privileges withdrawn as a consequence
  5. Deliberation: In the terminology of Unanimous.AI CEO Louis Rosenberg, the decision should express the “convergent opinion” rather than the “average opinion”; decision-makers should work as a “swarm” that dynamically exchanges opinions and adjusts ideas, rather than as “crowd” that merely votes on an answer; in this way, the outcome is “the opinion the group can best agree upon”
  6. Constructive scepticism: All assumptions and opinions should be open to questioning – none should be placed into an untouchable category of “infallible foundation” or “sacrosanct authority” (for example, by saying “this was our manifesto commitment, so we have to do it”, or by saying “this is the express will of the people, so we cannot re-open this question”); on the other hand, rather than being hostile to the whole decision process, questions should be raised in ways that enable new alternative assumptions to be considered in place of the ones being criticised
  7. Autonomy: Each decision should be taken in its own right, with each decision-maker expressing their own independent views, rather than any system of horse-trading or party politics applying, in which individuals would act against their own consciences in order to follow some kind of “three line whip” or “party line”
  8. Data-driven: To guide them in their deliberations, decision-makers should seek out relevant data, and verify it, rather than giving undue credence to anecdote, supposition, or ideology
  9. Experimentation: In any case where significant uncertainty exists, rather than relying on pre-existing philosophical commitments, an incremental experimental approach should be preferred, in order to generate useful data that can guide the decision process
  10. Agility: Hard decisions should be broken down where possible into smaller chunks, with each chunk being addressed in a separate “sprint” (to borrow a term from the methodology of software development); for each sprint, the goal is to gain a better understanding of the overall landscape in which the decision needs to be taken; breaking a decision into sprints assists in preventing decisions from dragging on interminably with no progress
  11. Reversibility: Wherever possible, a reversible approach should be preferred, especially in areas of major uncertainty, so that policies can be undone if it becomes clear they are mistaken
  12. Adaptability: The system should applaud and support decision-makers who openly change their mind in the light of improved understanding; decision-makers should feel no undue pressure to stick with a previous opinion just in order to “keep face” or to demonstrate “party loyalty” through thick and thin
  13. Leanness: Decisions should focus on questions that matter most, rather than dictating matters where individual differences can easily be tolerated; by the way, “lean”, like “agile”, is another term borrowed from modern thinking about manufacturing: lean development seeks to avoid “waste”, such as excess bureaucracy
  14. Tech-embracing: Technology that assists with the decision process should be embraced (and people should be supported in learning how to use that technology); this includes wikis (or similar) that map out the landscape of a decision, automated logic-checkers, modelling systems that explore outcomes in simulated worlds, and other aspects of collabtech
  15. Independence: The outcome of decisions should not depend on the choice of which people coordinate the process; these people should be enablers rather than dictators of the solution.

Two underlying points deserve emphasis. These decisions about social institutions should be taken by everyone (that is, no-one is excluded from the process); and they should be taken by no-one in particular (that is, the process gives no special status to any individual decision-maker). These two points can be restated: the decisions should follow the processes of democracy, and they should follow the processes of the scientific method.

I’ll say more in this chapter about various problems facing democracy, and will return in later chapters to problems facing the application of the scientific method. The technoprogressive roadmap needs to be fully aware of these problems.

But before that, you may be thinking that the above fifteen principles set the bar impractically high. How is society going to be able to organise itself to observe all these principles? Isn’t it going to require a great deal of effort? Given the urgency of the challenges facing society, do we have the time available to us, to follow all these principles?

Here’s my response…

As with all the other chapters released so far, Google Doc copies of the latest version can be reached from this page on the Transpolitica website. Google Docs makes it easy for people to raise comments, suggest modifications to the text, and (for reviewers who log into a Google account) to see comments raised by other reviewers.

Comments are particularly welcome from reviewers where they point out mistakes, pieces of text where the meaning is unclear, or key considerations that seem to have been neglected.

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