Sustainable Superabundance

Sustainable Superabundance: A Universal Transhumanist Invitation

David wood Book Cover 6

Book availability

Ebook (Kindle) – Published on 16th Jan 2019

Paperback – Published on 26th Jan 2019 – ISBN 978-0-9954942-3-7

Audio – Published on 14th Aug 2019

Book preview: Chapter 1

An invitation to advance

Beyond the fear and chaos of contemporary life, there is good news to share.

A new era is at hand: the era of sustainable superabundance. In this era, the positive potential of humanity can develop in truly profound ways.

The key to this new era is to take wise advantage of the remarkable capabilities of twenty-first century science and technology: robotics, biotech, neurotech, greentech, collabtech, artificial intelligence, and much more.

These technologies can provide all of us with the means to live better than well – to be healthier and fitter than ever before; nourished emotionally and spiritually as well as physically; and living at peace with ourselves, the environment, and our neighbours both near and far.

This is not a vision of today’s society writ large – a mere abundance of today’s goods, services, activities, relationships, and rewards. It’s a vision of a superabundance, with new qualities rather than just new quantities.

This is not a vision of returning to some imagined prior historical period – to some supposed bygone golden age. It’s a vision of advancing to a new society, featuring levels of human flourishing never before possible.

This is not a vision restricted to the few – to an elite percentage of today’s humanity. It’s a universal vision, for everyone, of a wide, diverse fellowship in which all can freely participate, and in which all can enjoy unprecedented benefits.

This is not a vision of the far-off future – something relevant, perhaps, to our great-grandchildren. It’s a vision of change that could accelerate dramatically throughout the 2020s – a vision that is intensely relevant as the year 2020 comes into view.

This is not a vision of a fixed, rigid utopia. It’s a vision of the collaborative creation of a sustainable, open-ended, evolving social framework. In this new framework, every one of us will be empowered to make and follow our own choices without fear or favour.

In this vision, the sky will no longer be the limit. In this vision, the cosmos beckons, with its vast resources and endless possibilities. In this vision, our destiny lies in the ongoing exploration and development of both outer and inner space, as we keep reaching forwards together to higher levels of consciousness and to experiences with ever greater significance.

Critical choices

But first, we face some hard, critical choices – choices that will determine our future. If we choose poorly, technology will do much more harm than good. If we choose poorly, a bleak future awaits us – wretched environmental decline, bitter social divisions, and a rapid descent into a dismal new dark age. Instead of the flourishing of the better angels of our human nature, it will be our inner demons that technology magnifies.

We need to steer firmly away from courses of action which would precipitate any such outcome. We need to resist simplistic ideas or beguiling coalitions that would mislead us onto a slippery slope of accelerating humanitarian degradation. Instead, we need to select and uphold the set of priorities that will facilitate the timely emergence of sustainable superabundance.

These are tasks of the utmost importance. These tasks will require the very best of human insight, human strength, and human cooperation.

If we choose well, constraints which have long overshadowed human existence can soon be lifted. Instead of physical decay and growing age-related infirmity, an abundance of health and longevity awaits us. Instead of collective dimwittedness and blinkered failures of reasoning, an abundance of intelligence and wisdom is within our reach. Instead of morbid depression and emotional alienation – instead of envy and egotism – we can achieve an abundance of mental and spiritual wellbeing. Instead of a society laden with deception, abuses of power, and divisive factionalism, we can embrace an abundance of democracy – a flourishing of transparency, access, mutual support, collective insight, and opportunity for all, with no one left behind.

If we choose well, the result will be liberty on unparalleled scale. The result will be people everywhere living up to their own best expectations and possibilities, and then more. The result will be a transformed, improved humanity, taking stellar leaps forward in evolution, as technology increasingly uplifts and augments biology. The result will be to advance beyond mere humanity to transhumanity.

Time for action

As the 2020s approach, with their accelerating pace of change, with ever more potent technologies in wide circulation, and with a perplexing variety of tangled interconnections threatening unpredictable consequences, there’s something that is very important for us to collectively keep in mind.

The thought that deserves sustained attention, in the midst of all other considerations, is the central insight of a group of people known as transhumanists. This insight concerns the magnitude of the forthcoming transformation from humanity to transhumanity.

It’s not just that this transformation is possible. It’s not just that this transformation could be relatively imminent – happening while many people alive today are still in the primes of their lives. It’s that this transformation, handled wisely, could have an enormous positive upside. It’s that this transformation, handled wisely, is deeply desirable.

This insight is grasped, today, by only a minuscule fraction of the earth’s population – by a meagre sprinkling of transhumanist pioneers. However, it is time for these transhumanist pioneers to speak up. The few can become many.

As the 2020s approach, it is time for transhumanists to challenge and reorient the public narrative. It is time to raise the calibre of the collective conversation about the future.

It is time to affirm how the future can be hugely better than the present. It is time to clarify how human nature is but a starting point for a journey to extraordinary posthuman capability. It is time to emphasise that, whereas the evolution of life has been blind for billions of years, it is now passing into our conscious, thoughtful control. It is time to point out that, whereas the evolution of society has been dominated for centuries by economic matters and struggles over scarce resources, centre stage can soon feature the blossoming of abundance. And it is time to proclaim that powerful enablers for these exceptional changes are already arriving, here and now.

In short, it is time for transhumanists around the world to step up to the responsibility as catalysts of the forthcoming transformation. It is time for transhumanists to inspire and support people everywhere to join together in the historic project to build the era of sustainable superabundance. It is time to apply transhumanist wisdom to identify and uphold the best choices in anticipation of the tumult of disruption that lies ahead. It is time to ensure that technology brings universal benefit, rather than being something we will come to bitterly regret.

At present, we can glimpse only the broad outlines of the coming era of sustainable superabundance. It is the fundamental responsibility of transhumanists to discern the forthcoming contours with greater clarity, and to help humanity as a whole envision and navigate the pathways ahead.

It is in service of this momentous cause that this Universal Transhumanist Invitation is dedicated. This Invitation is provided as an entry point to a growing network of living documents, with the intent to engage and organise researchers, creatives, entrepreneurs, activists, engineers, humanitarians, and more.

Together, let’s apply our skills, our time, and our resources to paint more fully the picture of sustainable superabundance. Let’s transcend our present-day preoccupations, our unnecessary divisions, our individual agendas, and our inherited human limitations. Let’s grasp the radical transformational power of new technology to profoundly enhance our vision, our wisdom, our social structures, and our effectiveness.

Together, let’s map out constructive solutions to the obstructions and distractions that impede progress – solutions combining the best of technology and the best of humanity. Let’s build productive alliances that weaken the forces resisting positive change. Let’s prepare to take advantage of the growing momentum of an inspirational worldwide technoprogressive movement. Let’s anticipate how we will dislodge the grasp on power held by today’s backward-looking vested interests. And through an emerging shared understanding of the vital benefits transhumanist policies can bring to everyone, let’s transform fearful opposition step-by-step into willing partners. The few can become many.

In this way, we can accelerate the transition to sustainable superabundance. The sooner, the better.

=====   >> Next chapter >>

Feedback on Sustainable Superabundance

Sustainable Superabundance offers a profoundly uplifting vision for the 2020s and beyond”
Natasha Vita-More, Executive Director, Humanity+

“David Wood is one of the best futurists around today, insightful and visionary, with a broad grasp of the issues, and passionate commitment to making the future a good place to live. This book will become a key resource for the development of practical technoprogressive policies”
James Hughes, Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET)

“A welcome addition to the debate over how society should respond to the forthcoming Economic Singularity”
Calum Chace, Author of Artificial Intelligence and the Two Singularities

“David Wood’s new book is full of insight about the implications of fast-changing technology for the future of humanity. It was a real joy to read”
Dalton Murray, Lead contributor, H+Pedia

“A spirited, lively defence of the positive value of transhumanism”
Zoltan Istvan, Creator of the Immortality Bus and the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

“Want to feel better about our future, find out why ‘sustainable superabundance’ is possible, and how we can make it happen? Read this book!”
Nikola Danaylov, Founder of Singularity Weblog and Singularity.FM

Sustainable Superabundance is a compelling message of how humans everywhere can soon attain much greater all-round health and rejuvenation. I strongly recommend it!”
José Luis Cordeiro, lead author, La Muerte de la Muerte

“How can society respond to the challenges and opportunities of cybertechnology? David Wood offers a clear-headed, realistically optimistic assessment”
Eva Pascoe, Chair, Cybersalon

“The ideas in Sustainable Superabundance can accelerate the transformation of politics, bringing science, health, and technology to the forefront. David Wood’s approach is simultaneously hopeful, inspiring, thoughtful, multifaceted, and nuanced. He explores a wide range of concepts that will interact with one another in novel ways and gain increasing relevance in the new technological era. Furthermore, he offers constructive suggestions for individuals and organizations of future-oriented thinkers to pursue”
Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, U.S. Transhumanist Party

Cover Design

The cover design is by Peter Meister.
It incorporates original photography by Curran Kelleher.
Used with permission and with many thanks!

Full table of contents

  1. An invitation to advance
  2. Superabundance ahead
  3. Beyond technology
  4. Principles and priorities
  5. Towards abundant energy
  6. Towards abundant food
  7. Towards abundant materials
  8. Towards abundant health
  9. Towards abundant intelligence
  10. Towards abundant creativity
  11. Towards abundant democracy
  12. Options to engage

Recent Posts

RAFT 2035 – a new initiative for a new decade

The need for a better politics is more pressing than ever.

Since its formation, Transpolitica has run a number of different projects aimed at building momentum behind a technoprogressive vision for a better politics. For a new decade, it’s time to take a different approach, to build on previous initiatives.

The planned new vehicle has the name “RAFT 2035”.

RAFT is an acronym:

  • Roadmap (‘R’) – not just a lofty aspiration, but specific steps and interim targets
  • towards Abundance (‘A’) for all – beyond a world of scarcity and conflict
  • enabling Flourishing (‘F’) as never before – with life containing not just possessions, but enriched experiences, creativity, and meaning
  • via Transcendence (‘T’) – since we won’t be able to make progress by staying as we are.

RAFT is also a metaphor. Here’s a copy of the explanation:

When turbulent waters are bearing down fast, it’s very helpful to have a sturdy raft at hand.

The fifteen years from 2020 to 2035 could be the most turbulent of human history. Revolutions are gathering pace in four overlapping fields of technology: nanotech, biotech, infotech, and cognotech, or NBIC for short. In combination, these NBIC revolutions offer enormous new possibilities – enormous opportunities and enormous risks:…

Rapid technological change tends to provoke a turbulent social reaction. Old certainties fade. New winners arrive on the scene, flaunting their power, and upturning previous networks of relationships. Within the general public, a sense of alienation and disruption mingles with a sense of profound possibility. Fear and hope jostle each other. Whilst some social metrics indicate major progress, others indicate major setbacks. The claim “You’ve never had it so good” coexists with the counterclaim “It’s going to be worse than ever”. To add to the bewilderment, there seems to be lots of evidence confirming both views.

The greater the pace of change, the more intense the dislocation. Due to the increased scale, speed, and global nature of the ongoing NBIC revolutions, the disruptions that followed in the wake of previous industrial revolutions – seismic though they were – are likely to be dwarfed in comparison to what lies ahead.

Turbulent times require a space for shelter and reflection, clear navigational vision despite the mists of uncertainty, and a powerful engine for us to pursue our own direction, rather than just being carried along by forces outside our control. In short, turbulent times require a powerful “raft” – a roadmap to a future in which the extraordinary powers latent in NBIC technologies are used to raise humanity to new levels of flourishing, rather than driving us over some dreadful precipice.

The words just quoted come from the opening page of a short book that is envisioned to be published in January 2020. The chapters of this book are reworked versions of the scripts used in the recent “Technoprogressive roadmap” series of videos.

Over the next couple of weeks, all the chapters of this proposed book will be made available for review and comment:

  • As pages on the Transpolitica website, starting here
  • As shared Google documents, starting here, where comments and suggestions are welcome.

RAFT Cover 21

All being well, RAFT 2035 will also become a conference, held sometime around the middle of 2020.

You may note that, in that way that RAFT 2035 is presented to the world,

  • The word “transhumanist” has moved into the background – since that word tends to provoke many hostile reactions
  • The word “technoprogressive” also takes a backseat – since, again, that word has negative connotations in at least some circles.

If you like the basic idea of what’s being proposed, here’s how you can help:

  • Read some of the content that is already available, and provide comments
    • If you notice something that seems mistaken, or difficult to understand
    • If you think there is a gap that should be addressed
    • If you think there’s a better way to express something.

Thanks in anticipation!

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