18. Acknowledgements

This page contains the current draft of Chapter 18 of RAFT 2035. All content is subject to change.

To offer comments and suggestions on the following material, please use this shared Google document.


18. Acknowledgements

RAFT 2035 has been greatly improved due to comments, questions, and suggestions raised by a large number of friends, colleagues, and people who share an interest in at least some of the same ideas.

Thanks are due to: (names will be added here shortly).

All errors and infelicities that remain are due to the lead author, David W. Wood.

Communities matter

In addition to thanking individuals, it’s appropriate to recognise a number of communities whose members and events have assisted in multiple ways in stimulating or advancing the thinking contained in RAFT 2035:

  • Humanity+: “An international nonprofit membership organisation that advocates the ethical use of technology, such as artificial intelligence, to expand human capacities. In other words, we want people to be better than well. This is the goal of transhumanism.”
  • The IEET (Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies): “Formed to study and debate vital questions such as: Which technologies, especially new ones, are likely to have the greatest impact on human beings and human societies in the 21st century? And what ethical issues do those technologies and their applications raise for humans, our civilisation, and our world?”
  • The Millennium Project: “A global foresight network of nodes, information, and software, functioning as a think tank on behalf of humanity, not on behalf of a government, an issue, or an ideology. Created to improve humanity’s prospects for building a better future”
  • The World Future Society: “Our mission is to awaken the Futurist Mindset in everyone. Whether you’re focused on social impact, creating a disruptive business, or exploring exponential technology, we believe there is a futurist in each of us.”
  • The Alternative UK: “Beneath the democratic deficit lies an imagination deficit. Our purpose is to catalyse a new politics that goes far beyond our current reality. We focus on engagement more than elections, on values over ideology, on futures that include, not exclude. We care about solutions, challenges – and great questions.”
  • Nesta: “An innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality. It also means changing lives for the better. We work in areas where there are big challenges facing society, from the frontiers of personalised healthcare to stretched public services and a fast-changing jobs market.”
  • The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce): “Through our ideas, research and a 30,000 strong Fellowship we are a global community of proactive problem solvers, sharing powerful ideas, carrying out cutting-edge research and building networks and opportunities for people to collaborate, influence and demonstrate practical solutions to realise change.”
  • The US Transhumanist Party: “Putting science, health, and technology at the forefront of politics. We seek to achieve the next, greatest era of our civilisation, which will require constructive solutions to the problems of our current era. All of these problems can be solved if we look away from the political trench warfare of today and up toward a far brighter future.”
  • London Futurists: “The next few years are likely to bring unprecedented change. Our mission is ‘Serious analysis of radical scenarios for the next 3-40 years.’ Our meetings and projects explore both the potential upsides, and the potential downsides, of these scenarios.”

In each case, these communities are worth further attention. They all have activities relevant to multiple different RAFT 2035 goals.

For communities that are focused on smaller numbers of areas, see the “For Further Information” sections at the end of each of the main chapters in this book.

Design matters

The cover design of this book incorporates photography by Pixabay member Couleur.

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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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