Growing a coalition

Growing a coalition of the willing

The final question arising is “who?”

The Singularity Principles propose that many things should be “questioned”, “clarified”, “required”, “analysed”, “anticipated”, “rejected”, “promoted”, and so on.

Who is going to be doing that questioning, clarifying, requiring, analysing, anticipating, rejecting, and promoting?

Who is going to ensure that

  • Groups or individuals are held accountable for any knowing or reckless violation of the principles
  • Groups or individuals are financially penalised for spreading dangerously misleading information about their products or solutions
  • Sufficient resources are made available to address any shortcomings in adhering to the principles
  • Projects are actually halted if they continue to violate the Singularity Principles?

Related, who is going to prevent the consolidation of power in centralised entities that could subsequently misuse that power to seriously damage human flourishing? After all, giving more power to a central authority, so they can vigorously promote adherence to the Singularity Principles, risks falling foul of Lord Acton’s famous warning: “power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

My answer to the “who?” question is: a coalition of the willing.

Different people around the world, in numerous different roles, can find their own parts in this grand project:

I look forward to seeing various parliamentary bodies, at local, national, and transnational levels, endorsing aspects of the Singularity Principles in their own legislation. At the same time, I look forward to the wider democratic community continuing to

  • Monitor what politicians do in their names
  • Engage with politicians so that the best insights receive priority attention
  • Vote out of office politicians who fail to live up to promises to support human flourishing.

I see particular key roles for transnational bodies such as the EU, ASEAN, the G7 (and its successor organisations), and aspects of the UN, the OECD, the World Bank, the ISO, and others.

I also anticipate partnerships from organisations representing the sets of professions that I mentioned, in this book’s introduction, as having contributed numerous ideas that are expressed in the Singularity Principles:

  • Scientists, technologists, and engineers
  • Entrepreneurs, designers, and artists
  • Humanitarians, activists, and lawyers
  • Educators, psychologists, and economists
  • Philosophers, rationalists, and effective altruists
  • Historians, sociologists, and forecasters
  • Ethicists, transhumanists, and singularitarians.

Risks and actions

One risk with any extended coalition is that useful activities can become drowned out by a cacophony of noise. It’s easy to exchange plenty of words, but it’s much harder to inspire and enable practical steps forward.

Addressing this risk requires the discipline of project management. That’s a discipline which is sometimes maligned. But, done well, it can make all the difference between good intentions that just produce frustration, and good intentions that combine to make a real difference in the world. World-class project managers, please step forward!

Alongside world-class project managers, people with outstanding skills in the following disciplines could also make a decisive difference to the overall project:

  • Designing, introducing, operating, and evolving regulatory systems that are both agile (adaptive) and lean (carefully targeted)
  • Analysing and influencing power structures – the sometimes-hidden forces that often obstruct changes but, on other occasions, accelerate them.

Another risk with any extended coalition is that everyone hangs back, procrastinating, waiting for someone else to take the lead.

To address that risk, I will continue to issue calls to action.

Here’s the first such call: if you have read this far, please recommend this book to your friends and colleagues. Write reviews about it online. Arrange events where the ideas of the Singularity Principles can reach wider audiences. And pick one or more items in the set of activities listed above, as something where you can make a difference.

To support this extended coalition, I happily offer the services of two organisations whose activities I direct:

It is said that the best way to predict positive future scenarios is to create that future ourselves. Let’s get to it!

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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