Envisioning Politics 2.0

Available for purchase and download (from 30th June 2015)

Envisioning Politics 2.0Table of contents

  1. Zoltan Istvan’s “Teleological Egocentric Functionalism”: a libertarian philosophical basis for “Transhumanist” politics – by Roland Benedikter, Katja Siepmann, and Annabella McIntosh
  2. Four political futures: which will you choose? – by David W Wood
  3. How do governments add value to society? – by Bruce Lloyd
  4. The benefits of digital democracy – by Walter L.S. Burrough and Kay Firth-Butterfield
  5. Cyborgization: a possible solution to errors in human decision making – by Dana Edwards and Alexander J Karran
  6. Of mind and money: post-scarcity economics and human nature – by Stuart Mason Dambrot
  7. Voluntary basic incomes in a reputation economy – by Michael Hrenka
  8. Specifications: an engineer’s approach to upgrading politics – by René Milan
  9. Extended longevity: an argument for increased social commitment – by MH Wake
  10. Longevity, artificial intelligence and existential risks: opportunities and dangers – by Didier Coeurnelle
  11. Prolegomena to any future transhumanist politics – by Steve Fuller

About this book

The single most important task of the next ten years is to find better ways of cooperating. In an age of unprecedented crowds – both online and offline – the global human community urgently needs social mechanisms that will encourage the wisdom of crowds rather than the folly of crowds.

Our existing methods of mutual coordination seem to produce more strife than harmony these days. We’re struggling to cope with ever larger tensions and disruptions on the shrinking world stage. The nation state, the multinational business firm, the free market, the non-governmental organisation, the various international bodies of global coordination set up after the Second World War – all find themselves deeply challenged by the myriad fast-evolving overlapping waves of stress of the early twenty-first century.

We’re facing tragedies of the commons writ larger than ever before. The actions that make good sense to smaller groups often add up, perversely, to disastrous outcomes for the larger community. But attempts to coordinate actions to avoid such tragedies are falling foul of numerous deep-seated conflicts of interest.

Politics 1.0 has taken us a long way. But the multidimensional, intersecting nature of present-day issues and opportunities requires a new calibre of politics. Anticpating that new calibre of politics is the central purpose of the think tank Transpolitica which has published this volume.

The essays in this book provide visions of what Politics 2.0 might look like. They express the thoughts, hopes, and fears from a diverse mix of futurists, political thinkers, academics, and think-tank members. They explore various ways in which new technology might enable improved politics (analogous to the way in which technology enabled the emergence of a collaborative “Web 2.0” with community intelligence, superseding the top-down “Web 1.0”):

  • Relevant expert knowledge being quickly brought to vexed questions of subsidies, regulations, standards, and so on – rather than politicians being out of their depths
  • Automated fact-checking taking place in real-time, rather than mistakes and errant claims being allowed to influence political discussion for too long
  • Humans improving their own cognitive skills, as part of a process we can call cyborgization
  • External artificial intelligence augmenting the decision-making capabilities of humans
  • The insights of the transhumanist movement, which boldly upholds the possibility of a profound social transformation alongside human physical and mental enhancements.

Cover design

The book cover is based on a design by Alberto Rizzoli.

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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