Killer apps

Potential killer apps

A “killer app” is a feature of a platform which makes people become a supporter of that platform. A killer app for transhumanist politics might be an initiative which will cause members of the general public to think something like the following, when they come across it:

  • This is a fascinating app / piece of work / set of ideas
  • I’d love to support it / become part of it
  • What lies behind this initiative?… ah, people who call themselves transhumanists
  • Wow, I’m so glad I found out about this. It’s even bigger and better than I first thought

Possible initiatives include:

  1. Highlight the economic benefits of a longevity dividend
  2. Become the champions of a version of UBI that can gain broad support
  3. Fast-trackable changes in regulations for the approval of new drugs and treatments
  4. Identify faster transition paths to new non-greenhouse energy technologies
  5. Better tools for democratic decision-making
  6. Radical improvements to our IP laws
  7. Easier access to biohacking
  8. Promote smart drugs that actually work
  9. A more sustainable (less volatile) cryptocurrency
  10. Phased introduction of blockchain technologies (e.g. to improve decentralisation)
  11. Build support for a space exploration (asteroid-mining) industry
  12. Accelerate development and adoption of healthy synthetic meal replacements
  13. Highlight pathways towards large-scale adoption of cryonics
  14. New ideas in the development of a land-value tax

If anyone is interested in creating or contributing to one of these projects, please follow the advice on the Projects page.

Recent Posts

Exuberance and scarcity: chapter ready for review

FiPo cover hires

A new chapter of the forthcoming book “Transcending Politics” has been released for review comments by Transpolitica supporters.

The chapter is entitled “Exuberance and scarcity“. You can get an idea of the content covered by the list of its section headings:

  • Lost fortunes over the centuries
  • Overconfidence over the centuries
  • From slow change to fast change
  • Financial clouds gathering again
  • Economic maximisation is not enough
  • Animal spirits
  • A technoprogressive future for money
  • Towards sustainable abundance
  • Constancy amidst change

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

Let’s set aside for the time being the subject of the previous chapter, namely the threat of an environmental meltdown triggered by reckless human activity. Instead, to start this chapter, let’s consider a different kind of meltdown, in which financial systems cease working around the world.

In such a scenario, ordinary citizens might try to withdraw cash from bank teller machines, sometime in the next few years, only to find they’ve all stopped working. The funds in savings accounts may be significantly reduced overnight. Payment requests using credit cards may be declined, causing chaos in shops and restaurants. In an atmosphere of profound uncertainty, corporations will avoid taking risks. Business contracts will be cancelled, with growing numbers of employees being made redundant. Supermarket shelves will become bare. Populist politicians and newspapers will be quick to blame bankers, businessmen, overseas cabals, the so-called “elites”, reds-under-the-bed, or whoever. Tempers everywhere will flare. Soon, people will be trying to take matters into their own hands. The few “survivalists” who have been able to hoard scarce resources will find their stashes under attack. It won’t be long until law and order breaks down.

That’s a possible disturbing future which has echoes in many past upheavals. History bears witness to a long series of financial crashes, each ugly in their own way. Simpler times saw simpler kinds of crashes, but the effects were still often catastrophic for the individuals involved.

In this chapter, I’ll explore the likely effect on future financial stability from the trend that underpins all the others discussed in this book, namely the acceleration of technological innovation. Should that acceleration make us more apprehensive about forthcoming financial crises? Or will it instead diminish the importance of money? Indeed, if economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources, and accelerating technology delivers a sustainable abundance of all the basic necessities of life, where will that leave economics? Will the displacement of scarcity by abundance transform the so-called “dismal science” (economics) into an unnecessary science?

To give my answer in advance: that’s not going to happen any time soon, contrary to the apparent expectation of various techno-utopians. Technological innovation, by itself, isn’t going to free society from the risk of financial meltdowns. Instead, we’re going to need better politics: technoprogressive politics…

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.

Drafts of eight of the envisaged 13 chapters have now been completed. Over the month of August, it is hoped that at least one more chapter will be completed – and that the earlier chapters will be revised in the light of review comments that have already been received.

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