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

Superdemocracy: issues and opportunities

Reader feedback on the book Sustainable Superabundance has highlighted the topic of superdemocracy as having both issues and opportunities.

One issue raised is that it’s reckless to submit decisions on the future of transhumanist projects to the collective decision of the populace. The populace as a whole is unlikely to have sufficient sympathy with transhumanist objectives, and will lack an appropriate degree of understanding.

Instead of seeking collective approval for such projects, it will be better, in this line of thinking, to find ways in which these projects can take place autonomously.

To quote from one early reader, Samantha Atkins, from a discussion thread on Facebook:

The book pins its hopes on a “superdemocracy” with no clear limits on the areas that democracy has power over. It posits saner, much wiser people as necessary to make it work when we have no means to produce this miracle. It believes too much in the collective and imho will produce a wold of stagnation waiting for the collective to decide or give permission…

I believe that much less government and more real freedom of the people to innovate and find the solutions is the key to fastest progress to our joint dreams. I think government, with the ability to force decisions on people, should be severely limited in the areas it can touch…

We transhumanists are a small minority. Even in our own circles a proposition as simple as ending aging being a good thing can only garner perhaps 70% support. I have actually seen this vote taken in transhumanist groups with such results. So how can we really expect to sway entire countries and more in a superdemocracy toward our values across majorities? I think the more realistic hope and plan is for the freedom to act without waiting for the majority to agree.

These (along with many other thoughtful comments in the same thread) raise valid concerns. So let me offer some responses.

The four ‘supers’

A good starting point is with the idea of adding a social dimension to the set of areas of human life that concern transhumanists.

The four supers

This addition was discussed at the TransVision 2017 conference in Brussels, in a session that reviewed the Technoprogressive Declaration which had been agreed three years earlier at TransVision 2014 in Paris.

Here’s an extract from the official agreement from the 2017 conference:

Alongside the well-known transhumanist intentions for superlongevity, superintelligence, and super wellbeing, we additionally emphasise the importance of “super society” – by which term is implied improvements in resilience, solidarity, and democracy, whilst upholding diversity and liberty.

The agreement went on to emphasise how the practice of democracy needs to be transformed and renewed:

We envision a renewal of democracy in which, rather than the loudest and richest voices prevailing, the best insights of the community are elevated and actioned.

A vital function of democracy is for political representatives to be periodically held to account, thus ensuring they keep in mind the wellbeing of all citizens rather than just the desires of an elite; also of great importance is that democracy involves peaceful transitions of power.

A healthy democracy requires a free press and independent judiciary, and will be assisted by the wise application of technological innovation.

In the few months after TransVision 2017, I put the finishing touches on my book Transcending Politics (which published in February 2018). In the process, I opted to give more prominence to the word “super-democracy” than to “super-society”. I gave this definition in the first chapter of that book:

super-democracy: the active involvement of the entire population, both in decision-making, and in the full benefits of transhumanism.

And from the same chapter, here’s the explanation about “The four ‘supers'”:

As in the short video “An Introduction to Transhumanism” – which, with approaching a quarter of a million views, is probably the most widely watched video on the subject – transhumanism is sometimes expressed in terms of the so-called “three supers”:

  • Super longevity: significantly improved physical health, including much longer lifespans – overcoming human tendencies towards physical decay and decrepitude
  • Super intelligence: significantly improved thinking capability – overcoming human tendencies towards mental blind spots and collective stupidity
  • Super wellbeing: significantly improved states of consciousness – overcoming human tendencies towards depression, alienation, vicious emotions, and needless suffering.

The technoprogressive variant of transhumanism in effect adds one more “super” to the three already mentioned:

  • Super democracy: significantly improved social inclusion and resilience, whilst upholding diversity and liberty – overcoming human tendencies towards tribalism, divisiveness, deception, and the abuse of power

Beyond present-day politics

It’s one thing to say that transhumanism should seek the positive transformation of social power dynamics. It’s another thing to seek collective decision-making.

After all, collective decision-making has a bad track record – especially in recent times.

Indeed, incompetent government action has often slowed down or prevented good progress with the humanitarian initiatives championed by transhumanists and other futurists. Governments have imposed all kinds of unhelpful regulatory schemes.

But the vision I champion in my books isn’t for larger government. It’s for appropriate government. It’s for better government – keeping out of areas that don’t concern it, but getting involved when market forces are unable to find the best long-term solution by themselves. In other words, regulations and incentives only when necessary.

To quote from the section “Beyond present-day politics” in Chapter 3 of Sustainable Superabundance:

Alas, politics has often been a hindrance to positive technological progress. Politicians, wittingly and unwittingly, have imposed cumbersome legal restrictions on breakthrough innovations. They have elevated doctrinaire ideologues over evidence-minded pragmatists. They have re-routed funds from deserving causes to self-serving gravy train projects…

[But] when done well, politics involves wise, well-informed collective decisions about which new technologies and other social innovations should be restricted or steered, and which should be incentivised or encouraged. When done well, politics also ensures that such decisions are followed up, and are revised in a timely manner whenever necessary.

And from the agreement from TransVision 2017:

Systems for regulation of technology need to be adaptive and agile, rather than heavyweight and anachronistic.

Support for autonomous projects

A vital part of the above-mentioned agility is that subgroups of society should, indeed, be able to carry out projects of their own choice, without needing the explicit approval from an overall government.

I address the question of tolerating and enabling diversity at several points inside Chapter 4 of Sustainable Superabundance:

[The above core] principles, as stated, leave many questions unanswered. They define a broad envelope that can accommodate a multiplicity of different viewpoints. That diversity is, itself, something to cherish. Hence a seventh core principle: nurture and tolerate diverse opinions within the overall transhumanist framework

Groups of people who share particular enhanced skills and modes of practice will, understandably, seek some autonomy over decisions within their groups, freed from requirements for democratic approval by people in the wider community that have little understanding or interest in these modes of practice. This is similar to the principle of technocratic decision-making: there are domains of specialist knowledge (for example, medicine) in which decisions are best taken by the relevant experts rather than by a vote that includes non-experts.

But the chapter goes on to point out limits of any such autonomy:

Nevertheless, domains often interact with each other. Where the activities of one group of people, with one set of enhancements, interact with the activities of other groups of people, a broader democratic agreement needs to be reached.

The design of the overall transhumanist society therefore needs to enable the prosperous coexistence of subgroups with significantly divergent skills and practices.

I make no claims that the design of such a society will be easy. But I encourage transhumanists and futurists of all shades and stripes to engage in the discussion of the issues and opportunities arising.

A change in the public mood

Despite everything written above, the question still remains as to how transhumanists will be able to obtain agreement from the electorate as a whole to accelerate projects such as genetic modifications, radical brain enhancements, Drexler-style nanofactories, and whole-body rejuvenation therapies.

Wouldn’t it be better, people might ask, to create some kind of independent transhumanist state, adopting so-called transhumanist separatism?

My answer is that transhumanist projects should, in due course, go much faster (and more effectively) if they can tap into the wider resources of society as a whole, rather than being restricted to people in an isolated community.

I say this despite the opposition and (more often) apathy presently expressed by the majority of society towards transhumanism.

I say this because I foresee large changes in the public mood as the 2020s proceed.

Due in part to transhumanists speaking up in more engaging ways, the 2020s can become the decade of transhumanism: the decade in which more and more people become aware of the potential for human nature to be significantly improved by the application of technology – and see that potential as deeply desirable.

As I say in the first chapter of Sustainable Superabundance, “the few can become many”.

I realise this prediction will strike many observers as far-fetched. Let me finish this article with some words in defence of that prediction.

First, changes in the public mood are by no means unknown in history. If a compelling set of ideas gains momentum, transformation in public expectations can take place increasingly quickly these days:

Second, people are generally more capable than we first think. When we have a bad encounter with someone who has a different opinion from us – for example, someone who rejects (or supports) the idea of anthropogenic climate change, or someone who rejects (or supports) the idea of the UK remaining within the European Union – we all too often decide that they are resolute idiots, beyond the reach of reason. However, in a friendlier, more supportive environment, surprising degrees of mutual understanding and agreement can become possible. Greater emotional intelligence can make all the difference.

People fearful of submitting a decision to a democratic process tend to be anxious about the degree of change that it is possible for members of the electorate to navigate. Can resolute opponents really turn into friendly supporters?

My answer is “yes”. With my transhumanist vision, I believe that we can all do better than the sorry norms of recent history. And we can get there step by step. Starting from today.

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