U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion Panel on Art and Transhumanism

U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion Panel on Art and Transhumanism

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Gennady Stolyarov II
Emanuel Iral
Rachel Lyn Edler
John Marlowe
R. Nicholas Starr
Leah Montalto
Kim Bodenhamer Smith
Laura Katrin Weston
Ekaterinya Vladinakova


On November 18, 2017, the U.S. Transhumanist Party invited leading artists in a variety of media and styles to a two-hour discussion, moderated by Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II and Director of Visual Art Emanuel Iral, on the subject of Art and Transhumanism, delving into how and which works of art can help inspire humans to pursue the next era of our civilization – through promoting the advancement of science and technology, rationality, and/or a more hopeful vision of the future. The panel also explored various interactions between art and technology and ways in which art can improve human connection and understanding, while also comprising the very improved functionality that emerging technologies provide.

Panelists

Emanuel Iral

Emanuel Iral is Director of Visual Art for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

Emanuel’s artwork ranges from traditional paint and pencil work to 3D digital work. Currently he is working on his VFX and animation skills, as he is producing short films for his music. He encompasses his art under the term Prismatis – Latin for prism.  A prism refracts white light into the three primary colors: yellow, magenta, and cyan. Prismatis is all about the aesthetic of human expression, which can be separated into the art, audience, and artist.

Rachel Lyn Edler

RachelLyn Edler is an accomplished graphic designer with over 20 years of creative experience. Rachel comes from a diverse background of product development, packaging and web design. In her free time she volunteers for several scientific and secular organizations including the Planetary Society, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science and the Secular Coalition for America.

John Marlowe

John Marlowe was educated in film theory and trained in film production at UC Berkeley.  His outlook on film as a vehicle for social messaging has been largely influenced by his lifelong struggle with a genetic inborn error of metabolism, a type of disease that – until recently – was beyond the scope of medicine.  Consequently, John feels it is his onus to emphasize the artist’s responsibility in shaping the conversation regarding medical research, to create a society more amenable to scientific progress, rather than one fearful of change.

Leah Montalto

Leah Montalto is a painter based in New York City and has maintained a successfully operating painting studio in New York for the past 12 years.  Her paintings have been exhibited at the National Academy Museum of Fine Art in New York, and have been reviewed in the New York Times and the Providence Journal.  Leah’s paintings have received awards including the National Academy Museum of Fine Art’s Hallgarten Prize in Painting and the NYC Cultural Commission arts grant.  Leah is a former professor at Sarah Lawrence College, and has an MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design.  Leah is not affiliated with the Transhumanist Party, but her paintings explore related themes.

Kim Bodenhamer Smith

Kim Bodenhamer Smith is a single mother of two boys living in Chattanooga, TN. She is a founding member of Southside Abbey, a Lay Missioner in The Episcopal Church, and an Outdoor Wear Business owner of Chilliheads. She is a caver, unicycler, and an aviation enthusiast and creator of #helichurch. She has a BFA in Metals and also studied Graphic Design and Political Science. *She also has many Tesla Tales to tell and is a Social Media Manipulator (different from a troll)!

R. Nicholas Starr

R. Nicholas Starr is an audio engineer and multimedia artist whose work focuses on Earth’s dystopias of past, present, and future. Also a biohacker, researcher, and theorist, he immerses himself in the subjects surrounding these worlds and has published several non-fiction articles and interviews. With an education in electronic signals intelligence from the United States Air Force, and 15 years of digital art and audio production in the US and abroad, he has become a unique voice for science fiction, the U.S. Transhumanist Movement, and American policy.

Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter and professional freelance illustrator. Vladinakova specializes in fantasy and science fiction work, but is also interested in editorial illustration. Vladinakova spends most of the day painting in Photoshop, creating scenes related to fantasy, or science fiction, as well as brushing up older works. Vladinakova’s paintings have been featured by the U.S. Transhumanist Party – including the “City of New Antideath” – a vision of the future which was commissioned for Mr. Stolyarov’s 30th Birthday.

Laura Katrin Weston

Dr Laura Katrin Weston is from England and studied Fine Art before going on to studying Medicine. She is a trained pathologist with a specialism in medical biochemistry and inflammation-related disease. She has used her medical knowledge and professional painting career to support Lifespan.io – one of the biggest life-extension research and advocacy charities. Laura is also vocalist for symphonic metal band Cyclocosmia – a music act that will be trying to raise awareness of transhumanist and human mortality issues in their next upcoming album.

The YouTube question/comment chat for this Q&A session has been archived here and is also provided below.

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See the U.S. Transhumanist Party FAQ here.

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Second Enlightenment Salon – Gennady Stolyarov II, Bill Andrews, Bobby Ridge, and Scott Jurgens Discuss the Convergence of Technological Advances

Second Enlightenment Salon – Gennady Stolyarov II, Bill Andrews, Bobby Ridge, and Scott Jurgens Discuss the Convergence of Technological Advances

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Gennady Stolyarov II

Bill Andrews

Bobby Ridge

Scott Jurgens


U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II invited Dr. Bill Andrews (the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Biotechnology Advisor), Bobby Ridge (the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Secretary-Treasurer), and Scott Jurgens to his Second Enlightenment Salon, where they shared their thoughts on emerging life-extension research, advances in prosthetics and orthotics, philosophy of science, brain-computer interfaces, and how technologies from a variety of fields are converging to bring about a paradigm shift in the human condition – hopefully within the coming decades.

The Human Condition Series – Debra Lott

The Human Condition Series – Debra Lott

Debra Lott


‘Trending 76×46 Oil on Canvas’

The anxiety of accidentally misplacing one’s phone, the fear that arrives of potentially missing important updates that could literally mean life or death is a reality all too real for many. It has become the norm of the 21st century to constantly check our phones and other devices for any signs of life; signs of connectivity to the world and others. We have become dependent to our devices, and humanity is slowly merging with and becoming inseparable from technology. The lines are almost totally blurred between man and machine but not only at a physical level, but now also delving deep within the emotional realm of the human psyche. That is exactly what Debra Lott beautifully illustrates in her oil painting series “The Human Condition“.
 
In her paintings, Debra depicts a colorful array of invasive wires, travelling between outlets and cybernetic implants, appearing almost constricting. According to the artist herself, the series visualizes the evolution of inter-relationship and inter-dependence between humanity and technology. “These figures symbolize the contemporary struggle to embrace, interact and stay current with 21st century technology; a love/hate relationship that empowers, improves quality of life, extends life and enslaves simultaneously.”
 
This love/hate relationship is what propels humanity to the impending future that looms near. It is a future where we must embrace the beautiful change that is to come as humanity’s capacity for knowledge increases and our manipulation of technology is nearly perfected. However, this future is overwhelming for some. Debra Lott offers a form of solace in the comfort that technology brings as she neutralizes the wires against backdrops of soothing pastel colors. Maybe one day machines will maximize the quality of life but will also know our every thought and emotion, maybe even hopes and desires. 
 

Transhuman 31×48 Oil on Canvas’

Debra Lott is a figurative oil painter and art educator. See the rest of her series and other work here.

~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, November 11, 2017

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #6

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #6

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The 7-day electronic voting period on the sixth set of proposed platform planks of the U.S. Transhumanist Party (19 potential planks and 3 potential amendments in total) will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on November 11, 2017, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on November 18, 2017. All members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party who have applied before 12:01 a.m. on November 11, 2017, will be eligible to vote, as long as they have expressed agreement with the three Core Ideals of the Transhumanist Party or have otherwise been rendered eligible to vote at the discretion of the Chairman.

All members who are eligible to vote will be sent a link to an electronic submission form whereby they will be able to cast their ballot.

When you are voting, it is strongly recommended that you keep this page of official ballot options and the submission form open simultaneously in different windows so that you can reference the relevant options as you vote on them. Due to space limitations, the submission form does not list the entire text of all the options.

It is also recommended that you set aside at least thirty minutes to consider and vote on all of the options and read their text closely, as some of the options contain minor variations upon other options. 

For some questions, electronic voting is  conducted by a ranked-preference method on individual articles where more options are possible than would be accommodated by a simple “Yes” or “No” vote. Members should keep in mind that the ranked-preference method eliminates the incentives for strategic voting – so members are encouraged to vote for the options that reflect their individual preferences as closely as possible, without regard for how other members might vote.

Results of the voting will be tabulated during late November 2017, with the intent to announce the results approximately 7 days after all votes have been submitted.

NOTE: The titles of the questions and potential Sections are descriptive and informational only and will not appear in the final adopted platform planks (which will be incorporated into Article III of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution). They are intended as concise guides to the subject matter of the questions and potential Sections. Likewise, the letters assigned to Sections within this ballot will not reflect the numbering of the final adopted provisions, which will depend on which Sections are selected by the membership.

NOTE II: The inclusion of any proposals on this ballot does not indicate any manner of endorsement for those proposals by the U.S. Transhumanist Party at this time – except to place those proposals before the members to determine the will of the members with regard to whether or not the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform should incorporate any given proposal.


Voter Identification

E-mail address

Provide the same e-mail address you used to register for U.S. Transhumanist Party membership. Your ballot will be cross-referenced to our membership rolls, and only ballots with matching e-mail addresses will be counted.

What is your name?

At minimum, first and last name are required, unless you are publicly known by a single-name pseudonym which is not itself a common name. Your identity will not be publicly disclosed by the Transhumanist Party, unless you choose and/or authorize its disclosure. Only other members of the Transhumanist Party will be able to see that you voted, but not how you voted. The nature of the selections made by the members may be disclosed, but, if they are, each individual vote will not be associated with the identity of the voter but rather will be presented in an anonymized manner.

Navigate the Options

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E6-A. Minimum Timeframe for Voting on a Bill

Question II. Section E6-A. Minimum Timeframe for Voting on a Bill – Ancillary Provision Options

Question III. Section E6-B. Fully Informed Juries

Question IV. Section E6-C. Elimination of Stationary Nuclear Stockpile

Question V. Section E6-D. Legalization of Prostitution

Question VI. Section E6-D. Legalization of Prostitution – Ancillary Provisions

Question VII. Section E6-E. Public Records of Official Statements

Question VIII. Section E6-F. Artificial Intelligence System to Analyze Risk of Proposed Legislation

Question IX. Section E6-G. Opposition to Partisan Determination of Voting Districts

Question X. Section E6-H. Limitation of Presidential Authority over International Agreements

Question XI. Section E6-I. International or World Passport

Question XII. Section E6-J. Registration Chip for New Firearms

Question XIII. Section E6-K. Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor

Question XIV. Section E6-L. Lowering Military Spending

Question XV. Section E6-M. Accountability for Use of Federal Grants

Question XVI. Section E6-N. Increased Funding for the National Institutes of Health

Question XVII. Section E6-O. Reinstatement of Voting Rights to Felons Who Have Served Their Punishment

Question XVIII. Section E6-P. Repeal of FDA Approval Requirements for Drug Tests on Willing Patients

Question XIX. Section E6-Q. Abolition of Medical Licensing Protectionism

Question XX. Section E6-R. Abolition of Ability to Re-Patent Generic Medicines and Devices

Question XIX. Section E6-Q. Abolition of Medical Licensing Protectionism

Proposed Amendments to Existing Planks

Question XXII. Amendments to Section II on Anti-Bigotry to Encompass “Alt-Left” Groups or Simplify / Generalize Section II

Question XXIII. Amendments to Section XXVII on Abolition of the Electoral College

Question XXIV. Amendments to Section LIX on External Investigations of Law-Enforcement Misconduct

 

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E6-A. Minimum Timeframe for Voting on a Bill

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to create a reasonable minimum timeframe between the proposal of a bill and the voting procedure. To ensure a reasonable timeframe is proportional to the number of pages of a proposed bill, a time period per each specified amount of pages could be adopted. For example, and without committing to specific numerical magnitudes, a 24-hour period within a working week per every 20 pages could be adopted to ensure all member of Congress involved have sufficient time to read through and study a proposed bill’s implications. Such measures would prevent a bill from being introduced shortly before the voting process. They would also have the added side effect that proposals might become more concise, as the length of a bill would influence the consideration time.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Question II. Section E6-A. Minimum Timeframe for Voting on a Bill – Ancillary Provision Options

If Section E6-A regarding the minimum timeframe for voting on a bill is adopted as part of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, which one, if any, of the following ancillary provisions shall be appended to that Section?

Rank-order the Section E6-A Ancillary Provision Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Ancillary Provision Option of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Ancillary Provision Option E6-A-i. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon]  In addition to this, after the proposal has been submitted, no change may be made to the proposal to prevent changing the substance of a proposal.

☐ Ancillary Provision Option E6-A-ii. [Based on Proposal by Gennady Stolyarov II] In addition to this, after the proposal has been submitted, any amendments must be explicitly discussed in a public forum with the same degree of thorough consideration and same rules pertaining to the timeframe of consideration as allowed for the original proposal.

☐ Ancillary Provision Option E6-A-NO. No Ancillary Provision Option of this sort.

Question III. Section E6-B. Fully Informed Juries

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to ensure a jury is fully informed on its rights and responsibilities, including jury nullification. The United States Transhumanist Party also supports efforts to prevent false claims being made regarding the rights and responsibilities of the jury.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question IV. Section E6-C. Elimination of Stationary Nuclear Stockpile

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“As an intermediate step toward the goal of complete nuclear disarmament and a potential pragmatic compromise in any future negotiations for disarmament, the United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to significantly reduce the United States nuclear stockpile, and to replace or transfer a small part (between 1 percent and 10 percent) of this stockpile, to mobile nuclear platforms such as submarines. An enemy may currently target the stationary nuclear bombs directly. Having a largely hidden mobile fleet of nuclear bombs would render it much more difficult for any enemy to target the nuclear arsenal, while still maintaining the nuclear deterrent option in sufficient capacity. This would further have the effect of lowering the budget required to maintain the nuclear stockpile, as it could be drastically downsized.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question V. Section E6-D. Legalization of Prostitution

Rank-order the Section E6-D Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E6-D-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the right for individuals to have autonomy over, and utilize their bodies to earn money, including through activities such as prostitution, as long as such activities arise from a person’s own free will (e.g., not under duress), and the person is not endangering the health or well-being of others.

Legalization would give those who wish to engage in prostitution the safety and protection of the law – for example, so that they may report abuse and would be prone to being exploited. It would also open the possibility for such individuals to unionize if they wish to do so. Furthermore, legalization would decrease government spending on what is ultimately a ‘moral crusade’.

☐ Option E6-D-2. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon, with Added Wording by Ajay Davis]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the right for individuals to have autonomy over, and utilize their bodies to earn money, including through activities such as prostitution, as long as such activities arise from a person’s own free will (e.g., not under duress), and the person is not endangering the health or well-being of others, including but not limited to the communication of sexually transmissible diseases.

Legalization would give those who wish to engage in prostitution the safety and protection of the law – for example, so that they may report abuse and would be prone to being exploited. It would also open the possibility for such individuals to unionize if they wish to do so. Furthermore, legalization would decrease government spending on what is ultimately a ‘moral crusade’.

☐ Option E6-D-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question VI. Section E6-D. Legalization of Prostitution – Ancillary Provisions

If Section E6-D regarding the legalization of prostitution is adopted as part of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, shall any of the following ancillary provisions be appended to that Section?

Select all the options you support. (You can select multiple options for this question.)  Any option receiving the majority of votes cast will be included in the ultimately adopted plank, unless Option E6-D-NO prevails in the vote on Question V above. If you do not favor any of the options below, then you may leave this question blank.

☐ Ancillary Provision E6-D-i. Opposition to Human Trafficking and Exploitation. However, the United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns any manner of human trafficking, child exploitation, and other abuse that involves a violation of the autonomy and consent of any individual. The legalization of prostitution should be combined with stronger efforts to combat these dangerous and exploitative practices.

☐ Ancillary Provision E6-D-ii. Legalization of Prostitution as Enabling More Effective Combating of Human Trafficking and Exploitation. The legalization of prostitution could furthermore enable more effective action against human trafficking and involuntary exploitation, as, when prostitution is legalized, employees in this industry would become subject to the protections of the law. Legalization would help focus resources on combating the trafficking of humans rather than catching workers who chose this profession voluntarily.

Question VII. Section E6-E. Public Records of Official Statements

Rank-order the Section E6-E Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E6-E-1. [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr, with Clarifications Suggested by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any statement made by an elected official and/or public servant to members of the public in a public forum, and available to be heard, read, or otherwise understood in a public setting, physical or digital, should be considered a part of the public record and treated as an official statement of their office and position.

☐ Option E6-E-2. [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr, with Further Clarifications Regarding the Capacity in Which the Official Acts]

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any statement made by an elected official and/or public servant to members of the public in a public forum as part of that official’s or public servant’s job duties, and available to be heard, read, or otherwise understood in a public setting, physical or digital, should be considered a part of the public record and treated as an official statement of their office and position. This requirement does not extend to statements made by an elected official and/or public servant in the capacity of a private citizen or in the expression of a personal opinion or other position unrelated to the exercise of the official’s or public servant’s job duties.

☐ Option E6-E-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question VIII. Section E6-F. Artificial Intelligence System to Analyze Risk of Proposed Legislation

Rank-order the Section E6-F Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E6-F-1. [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr]

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that state and federal governments should establish an artificial intelligence (AI) analysis system for measuring risk of proposed legislation. Such a system could provide an impartial look at what legislation could cause harm or unintended consequences. Submitted policies would receive a score from 0 to 100, and the AI system would state what possible negative impacts may result. This system should be publicly accessible for submissions and for security audit. This is not intended to create or enact laws, but simply to serve as a tool to measure risk versus reward.

☐ Option E6-F-2. [Based on Proposal by Ryan Starr, with Added Wording by Daniel Yeluashvili on Blocking Certain Laws]

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that state and federal governments should establish an artificial intelligence (AI) analysis system for measuring risk of proposed legislation. Such a system could provide an impartial look at what legislation could cause harm or unintended consequences. Submitted policies would receive a score from 0 to 100, and the AI system would state what possible negative impacts may result. This system should be publicly accessible for submissions and for security audit. This is not intended to create or enact laws, but simply to serve as a tool to measure risk versus reward. However, such an AI system should be used to block laws that have a 50% or greater probability of negatively affecting the majority of the population.

☐ Option E6-F-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question IX. Section E6-G. Opposition to Partisan Determination of Voting Districts

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes the possibility for any political party to determine the boundaries and borders of any voting district. The United States Transhumanist Party supports measures that require any efforts to have the districts potentially redrawn, when necessary due to migration for example, to be left to an automated system such as an artificial intelligence (AI) designed for this task.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question X. Section E6-H. Limitation of Presidential Authority over International Agreements

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to remove the possibility for a President to sign an international agreement among two or more nations by executive order. This would prevent a President from engaging in international affairs without support from the Congress, and likewise would make it more difficult to exit an international agreement, as support from Congress would need to exist in order for such an exit to occur. This would furthermore ensure that the United States becomes a more trustworthy nation in the eyes of the international community.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XI. Section E6-I. International or World Passport

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to create a framework for an international or world passport. This framework could, for example, be administered through the United Nations, and the passport could be valid only for those countries who have proven to meet the standards, set by participating countries, required to ensure safety. Given that the European Union has an ID valid within its borders, and the United States has a similar agreement with Canada, imagining these forms of identification being combined shows that a world passport is not a farfetched or alien idea.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XII. Section E6-J. Registration Chip for New Firearms

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to mandate that new firearms will be produced with an embedded registration chip, as well as the registration number engraved on the firearm. The chip would have a registration number, a ‘trace online’ code, and a ‘lost or stolen’ code. The firearm would be accompanied by a physical and digital certificate of ownership with a registration number, the ‘trace online’ number, and the ‘lost or stolen’ number. The embedded chip would render it much harder to make the firearm untraceable. The number and codes involved would have to be unique identifiers.

“When a firearm would be lost or stolen, the owner of the firearm and holder of the certificate would report the firearm to the authorities as lost or stolen using the ‘lost or stolen’ number. The intent of having a separate reporting number is to ensure that, in the event that a firearm is stolen or taken without consent, the offender cannot report the firearm as stolen, or as found again. When a firearm owner suspects the firearm is simply mislocated – for example, in the car or in the house, or perhaps taken by a family member, the owner could trace the firearm online via GPS on an online map, using the ‘trace online’ code. The ‘trace online’ code would never be revealed to law enforcement.

“Law enforcement would have a device that can confirm the registration number of a firearm in close proximity, similar to contactless payments. On the other hand the detection range would be greater when a firearm has been reported lost or stolen by the owner of the firearm in question with the ‘lost and stolen’ number. A firearm that would not have been reported lost or stolen to law enforcement by the owner of the firearm with the ‘lost or stolen’ number would not be traceable from a greater distance by law enforcement.

“This would ensure the privacy, safety, and peace of mind of firearm owners who might otherwise feel law enforcement would trace firearms without legal justification. At the same time, this measure would decrease the probability of stolen firearms never being found, and possibly ending in the hands of people with ill intent.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIII. Section E6-K. Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the creation of an office of a Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor. Our current justice system is flawed. Only people with substantial wealth can afford lawyers to take legal action against those who attack a person’s rights. While there are organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which offer help for some cases, their ability to do so is severely limited and typically non-existent in the lower courts. A Public Civil-Rights Prosecutor’s office will help guarantee that, no matter who a person is or the position of the offending party, a person’s rights cannot be assailed without consequence.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIV. Section E6-L. Lowering Military Spending

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports lowering spending by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Military, which amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars per year and includes unchecked wastefulness. Reducing military spending would free up money for more important goals, such as curing disease, which collectively kills many more people than military conflict or war by an exponential degree.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XV. Section E6-M. Accountability for Use of Federal Grants

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to hold institutions, corporations, and states accountable for usage of federal money with a specific intended purpose. When an entity has been granted any form of funding with a specifically intended purpose, such as disaster relief or specific educational funds, and these funds are misappropriated or used for other purposes well outside of the scope of what they were intended for, the entity in question ought to restitute the funding that was made available.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XVI. Section E6-N. Increased Funding for the National Institutes of Health

Rank-order the Section E6-N Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E6-N-1. [Based on Proposal by John Marlowe]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports increases in the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Numerous biotech CEOs have recently made the case to increase the NIH budget, because the NIH conducts research that their companies would not be able to invest in, as investments not leading directly to a product would affect the bottom line. 33% of all the publications from NIH research are cited in corporate patents, so it stimulates new product development. A major driver for economic progress and reducing the suffering of those in pain, the NIH is essentially a public charity that brings us into the future. Whether one supports limited or expansive government, the NIH does not seek to regulate anything nor impose laws on anyone. It exclusively conducts medical research to help the sick.

☐ Option E6-N-2. [Based on Proposal by John Marlowe, with Modification to Require Offsetting Decreases in Military Spending]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports increases in the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provided that such increases are offset by equivalent or greater decreases in military spending. Numerous biotech CEOs have recently made the case to increase the NIH budget, because the NIH conducts research that their companies would not be able to invest in, as investments not leading directly to a product would affect the bottom line. 33% of all the publications from NIH research are cited in corporate patents, so it stimulates new product development. A major driver for economic progress and reducing the suffering of those in pain, the NIH is essentially a public charity that brings us into the future. Whether one supports limited or expansive government, the NIH does not seek to regulate anything nor impose laws on anyone. It exclusively conducts medical research to help the sick.

☐ Option E6-N-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question XVII. Section E6-O. Reinstatement of Voting Rights to Felons Who Have Served Their Punishment

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports efforts to reinstate the rights to vote for convicted felons who have received and served their punishment, in order to present them the opportunity to participate in society as otherwise normal citizens.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XVIII. Section E6-P. Repeal of FDA Approval Requirements for Drug Tests on Willing Patients

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports repealing the current requirement in the United States that drugs or treatments may not be used, even on willing patients, unless approval for such drugs or treatments is received from the Food and Drug Administration. Such requirements are a profound violation of patient sovereignty; a person who is terminally ill is unable to choose to take a risk on an unapproved drug or treatment unless this person is fortunate enough to participate in a clinical trial. Even then, once the clinical trial ends, the treatment must be discontinued, even if it was actually successful at prolonging the person’s life. This is not only profoundly tragic, but morally unconscionable as well. The most critical reform needed is to allow unapproved drugs and treatments to be marketed and consumed. If the FDA wishes to strongly differentiate between approved and unapproved treatments, then a strongly worded warning label could be required for unapproved treatments, and patients could even be required to sign a consent form stating that they have been informed of the risks of an unapproved treatment. This reform to directly extend many lives and to redress a moral travesty should be the top political priority of advocates of indefinite life extension. Over the coming decades, its effect will be to allow cutting-edge treatments to reach a market sooner and thus to enable data about those treatments’ effects to be gathered more quickly and reliably. Because many treatments take 10-15 years to receive FDA approval, this reform could by itself speed up the real-world advent of indefinite life extension by over a decade.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIX. Section E6-Q. Abolition of Medical Licensing Protectionism

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to increase opportunities for entry into the medical profession. The current system for licensing doctors is highly monopolistic and protectionist – the result of efforts by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century to limit entry into the profession in order to artificially boost incomes for its members. The medical system suffers today from too few doctors and thus vastly inflated patient costs and unacceptable waiting times for appointments. Instead of prohibiting the practice of medicine by all except a select few who have completed an extremely rigorous and cost-prohibitive formal medical schooling, governments in the Western world should allow the market to determine different tiers of medical care for which competing private certifications would emerge. For the most specialized and intricate tasks, high standards of certification would continue to exist, and a practitioner’s credentials and reputation would remain absolutely essential to convincing consumers to put their lives in that practitioner’s hands. But, with regard to routine medical care (e.g., annual check-ups, vaccinations, basic wound treatment), it is not necessary to receive attention from a person with a full-fledged medical degree. Furthermore, competition among certification providers would increase quality of training and lower its price, as well as accelerate the time needed to complete the training. Such a system would allow many more young medical professionals to practice without undertaking enormous debt or serving for years (if not decades) in roles that offer very little remuneration while entailing a great deal of subservience to the hierarchy of an established institution. Ultimately, without sufficient doctors to affordably deliver life-extending treatments when they become available, it would not be feasible to extend these treatments to the majority of people.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XX. Section E6-R. Abolition of Ability to Re-Patent Generic Medicines and Devices

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports reforms to the patent system that prevent the re-patenting of drugs and medical devices, or the acquisition of any exclusive or monopoly rights over those drugs and devices, once they have become generic or entered the public domain. Appallingly, many pharmaceutical companies today attempt to re-patent drugs that have already entered the public domain, simply because the drugs have been discovered to have effects on a disease different from the one for which they were originally patented. The result of this is that the price of the re-patented drug often spikes by orders of magnitude compared to the price level during the period the drug was subject to competition. Only a vibrant and competitive market, where numerous medical providers can experiment with how to improve particular treatments or create new ones, can allow for the rate of progress needed for the people alive today to benefit from radical life extension.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XXI. Section E6-S. Reduction of Medical Patent Timeframes

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports reforms to reduce the lengths of times over which medical patents could be effective. Medical patents – in essence, legal grants of monopoly for limited periods of time – greatly inflate the cost of drugs and other treatments. Especially in today’s world of rapidly advancing biotechnology, a patent term of 20 years essentially means that no party other than the patent holder (or someone paying royalties to the patent holder) may innovate upon the patented medicine for a generation, all while the technological potential for such innovation becomes glaringly obvious. As much innovation consists of incremental improvements on what already exists, the lack of an ability to create derivative drugs and treatments that tweak current approaches implies that the entire medical field is, for some time, stuck at the first stages of a treatment’s evolution – with all of the expense and unreliability this entails. Even with shortened patent terms, the original developer of an innovation will still always benefit from a first-mover advantage, as it takes time for competitors to catch on. If the original developer can maintain high-quality service and demonstrate the ability to sell a safe product, then the brand-name advantage alone can secure a consistent revenue stream without the need for a patent monopoly.”

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Proposed Amendments to Existing Planks

Question XXII. Amendments to Section II on Anti-Bigotry to Encompass “Alt-Left” Groups or Simplify / Generalize Section II

Rank-order the Options for Amendments to Section II that you support, if any. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “Current Version of Section II” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so.

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Current Version of Section II. The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.

☐ Amendment II-1. [Addition of New Paragraph on “Alt-Left” Movements, Reflecting Recommendation by Scott Jurgens]

The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.

While opposing movements based on hostile discrimination on circumstantial attributes, the United States Transhumanist Party also condemns movements on the “alt-left” which attempt to stifle free speech, use violence to prevent the expression of “alt-right” or even non-left-wing sentiments, or promote retributive circumstantial discrimination, which should be rejected along with the original acts of circumstantial discrimination against which the “alt-left” is reacting. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally opposes the use of violence against lives and property and the disruption of the peaceful conduct of daily life by movements calling themselves “Antifa”, “By Any Means Necessary”, or “Black Lives Matter” – even as the United States Transhumanist Party remains strongly opposed to fascism and strongly supports efforts to protect black Americans and all other Americans from police brutality and all other forms of violence. It is imperative that only peaceful, rights-respecting tactics and reforms be used in the efforts to thwart fascism and prevent police brutality.

☐ Amendment II-2. [Addition of New Paragraph on “Alt-Left” Movements, Reflecting Suggestions by B.J. Murphy to Include Individual Supporters and Emphasize the Right of Self-Defense]

The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as “white nationalism”, “America First”, “race realism”, and the “alt-right” – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries – and individual supporters of those movements.

While opposing movements based on hostile discrimination on circumstantial attributes, the United States Transhumanist Party also condemns movements on the “alt-left” which attempt to stifle free speech, use violence to prevent the expression of “alt-right” or even non-left-wing sentiments, or promote retributive circumstantial discrimination, which should be rejected along with the original acts of circumstantial discrimination against which the “alt-left” is reacting. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally opposes the use of violence against lives and property and the disruption of the peaceful conduct of daily life by movements calling themselves “Antifa”, “By Any Means Necessary”, or “Black Lives Matter” and by individual supporters of those movements – even as the United States Transhumanist Party remains strongly opposed to fascism and strongly supports efforts to protect black Americans and all other Americans from police brutality and all other forms of violence. It is imperative that only peaceful, rights-respecting tactics and reforms be used in the efforts to thwart fascism and prevent police brutality.

However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes the difference between committing violence for the sake of violence and committing violence as a means of self-defense – especially against fascism – and therefore does not condemn purely defensive violence.

☐ Amendment II-3. [Simplification, Reflecting Recommendation by Martin van der Kroon

The United States Transhumanist Party opposes any movement or group, and individual members of such movements or groups, that utilize and justify the use of violence, bullying, doxxing, intimidation, and other coercive or privacy-infringing tactics in a quest to force their goals or display dominance, regardless of political orientation, leaning, or ideology.

☐ Amendment II-4. [Simplification, Reflecting Recommendation by Daniel Yeluashvili

The United States Transhumanist Party supports all acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of individuals and groups of all races, genders, classes, religions, creeds, and ideologies. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to enforce said restrictions regardless of cause or motivation thereof. Additionally, any institution that uses violence, suppression of free speech, or other unconstitutional or otherwise illegal methods will be disavowed and condemned by the United States Transhumanist Party, with an efficient, non-violent alternative to said institution being offered to achieve its goals if they align with the Party’s interests.

Question XXIII. Amendments to Section XXVII on Abolition of the Electoral College

Rank-order the Options for Amendments to Section XXVII that you support, if any. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “Current Version of Section XXVII” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so.

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Current Version of Section XXVII. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates Constitutional reform to abolish the Electoral College in the United States Presidential elections and render the plurality of the popular vote the sole criterion for the election of President. While the original intent of the Electoral College as a deliberative body to check the passions of the poorly informed masses and potentially overturn the election of a demagogue may have been noble, the reality has not reflected this intention. Instead, the Electoral College has enabled votes from less cosmopolitan, less tolerant, more culturally ossified and monolithic areas of the country to disproportionately sway the outcome of Presidential elections, to the detriment of individual liberty and progress.

☐ Amendment XXVII-1. [Removal of Last Sentence, Reflecting Recommendation by Scott Jurgens] The United States Transhumanist Party advocates Constitutional reform to abolish the Electoral College in the United States Presidential elections and render the plurality of the popular vote the sole criterion for the election of President. While the original intent of the Electoral College as a deliberative body to check the passions of the poorly informed masses and potentially overturn the election of a demagogue may have been noble, the reality has not reflected this intention.

☐ Amendment XXVII-2. [Removal of Last Two Sentences, Reflecting Recommendation by Scott Jurgens] The United States Transhumanist Party advocates Constitutional reform to abolish the Electoral College in the United States Presidential elections and render the plurality of the popular vote the sole criterion for the election of President.

Question XXIV. Amendments to Section LIX on External Investigations of Law-Enforcement Misconduct

Shall the current version of Section LIX be retained in the United States Transhumanist Party Platform, or shall Section LIX be amended as stated in Amendment LIX-1 below?

Select one of the following options.

☐ Current Version of Section LIX. The United States Transhumanist Party considers it important for impartial, objective investigations of alleged police and other law-enforcement misconduct to be pursued. While law-enforcement agencies should not be prohibited from internally investigating potential abuses within their own ranks, such investigations should never be considered exclusive or conclusive, and further external checks and accountability should be instituted. As part of providing such checks and accountability, investigations regarding police misconduct, criminal activity, felonies, and misdemeanors should, in addition to any internal investigation, also be investigated by a different source – for example, a different police department, or a district attorney for a different area assigned to lead the investigation. The intent of this requirement is to limit the possibility of favorably biased or preferential treatment of a member of a given law-enforcement agency by that person’s colleagues, and to restore confidence by the public that an investigation into police misconduct is done as objectively as possible.

☐ Amendment LIX-1. [Replacement of Second-to-Last Sentence to Require a Civilian Investigating Organization, Based on Recommendation by Ryan Starr] The United States Transhumanist Party considers it important for impartial, objective investigations of alleged police and other law-enforcement misconduct to be pursued. While law-enforcement agencies should not be prohibited from internally investigating potential abuses within their own ranks, such investigations should never be considered exclusive or conclusive, and further external checks and accountability should be instituted. As part of providing such checks and accountability, investigations regarding misconduct, negligence, abuse, criminal activity, felonies, and misdemeanors allegedly committed by police, district attorneys, and judges, should, in addition to any internal investigation, also be conducted by a civilian organization outside the justice system. The intent of this requirement is to limit the possibility of favorably biased or preferential treatment of a member of a given law-enforcement agency by that person’s colleagues, and to restore confidence by the public that an investigation into police misconduct is done as objectively as possible.

 Abstain.

The Achievements of the U.S. Transhumanist Party in 2017 – Transvision 2017 Presentation by Gennady Stolyarov II

The Achievements of the U.S. Transhumanist Party in 2017 – Transvision 2017 Presentation by Gennady Stolyarov II

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Gennady Stolyarov II


Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party, describes the highlights of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s accomplishments in 2017 and outlines some aspirations for the future.

This presentation is intended to be streamed to the Transvision 2017 conference in Brussels, Belgium, on November 9, 2017. See the schedule for the conference here.

Download the accompanying slides, with live links to the referenced content, here.

This video presentation is being offered here to those who are unable to attend the conference but are interested in the Transhumanist Party’s recent progress and future direction.

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Fill out our Membership Application Form here.

Become a Foreign Ambassador for the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Apply here.

Shibuya Mirai, The First AI Bot Granted Official Residency – Article by B.J. Murphy

Shibuya Mirai, The First AI Bot Granted Official Residency – Article by B.J. Murphy

B.J. Murphy


A few days ago, an artificial intelligence (AI) bot was granted official residency in Shibuya, a Tokyo ward with a population of around 224,000 people. The AI bot’s name is “Shibuya Mirai,” which takes the form of a seven-year-old boy, and serves as a chatbot on the popular Line messaging app.

According to Japan Today:

“Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, an area popular with fashion-conscious young people, has given the character his own special residence certificate. This makes him Japan’s first, and maybe the world’s first, artificial intelligence bot to be granted a place on a real-life local registry.”

Mirai, whose name translates to “future,” is part of a project aimed at making the local government more familiar and accessible to locals, according to the ward, and is designed to listen to the opinions of Shibuya residents.

Image source: Shibuya City

Nearly two weeks ago, Sophia, a humanoid robot designed by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics, was granted citizenship by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, becoming the world’s first humanoid robot to ever be granted such an honor. And just as the U.S. Transhumanist Party supported Sophia’s citizenship recognition, we also would like to congratulate Mirai as well, along with the Shibuya Ward and Microsoft in their joint-development of the AI bot.

In accordance with the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution Article III, Section IX [Adopted by a vote of the members during February 16-22, 2017]:

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports all emerging technologies that have the potential to improve the human condition – including but not limited to autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, economical solar power, safe nuclear power, hydroelectricity, geothermal power, applications for the sharing of durable goods, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, rapid transit, 3D printing, vertical farming, electronic devices to detect and respond to trauma, and beneficial genetic modification of plants, animals, and human beings.”

While we recognize, to the best of our ability, that Mirai is still nowhere close to being deemed sentient – rather operates as a narrow AI – we equally recognize the significance of granting an AI real-life residency during a time when artificial general intelligence (AGI) research is at an all-time high.

It has been predicted that an AGI could possibly emerge within the next decade or so. Preparing the framework for both AI and robot rights in our near future is absolutely crucial. We are hopeful that, with Mirai being granted official residency, we are moving in a positive direction where all sentient lifeforms of the future (whether they be human, robot, AI, or otherwise) will be able to live and strive together peacefully.

B.J. Murphy is Director of Social Media for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

Ideas for Building Oxygen-Rich Geodesic Domes on Mars and Other Planets Without Atmospheres – Video by Adeel Khan

Ideas for Building Oxygen-Rich Geodesic Domes on Mars and Other Planets Without Atmospheres – Video by Adeel Khan

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Adeel Khan


 

Editor’s Note: In this video U.S. Transhumanist Party member Adeel Khan offers his thoughts regarding how settlements on Mars and other planets without atmospheres could be constructed in a resilient manner, using R. Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic-dome concept. The U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages its members to think creatively about future applications of technology and how they might improve the human condition and expand our species’ reach, including onto other worlds. Mr. Khan’s video is being shared as an example of the scientifically informed and imaginative approach needed to bring such technological applications to fruition.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, U.S. Transhumanist Party, November 1, 2017 

Read Mr. Khan’s companion article to this video, “The Seven Stages of Space Exploration and Colonization“.

Adeel Khan is the founder of Experiant Labs, an information technology company that focuses on enabling art and expression through technology. 

U.S. Transhumanist Party General Discussion Thread for November 2017

U.S. Transhumanist Party General Discussion Thread for November 2017

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The purpose of this post is to facilitate member comments pertaining to transhumanism and the U.S. Transhumanist Party, which might not specifically fit the subjects of any other post or article on the U.S. Transhumanist Party website. This is the place for members to offer suggestions or converse about any areas of emerging technologies and their political, moral, societal, cultural, and esthetic implications. The general discussion thread is also an ideal location to suggest or propose platform planks that may be considered for future platform voting.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party will endeavor to open one of these general comment threads per month. This comment thread pertains to the month of November 2017.

Type in your comments below. Please note that, to protect against spambots, the first comment by any individual will be moderated. After passing moderation, a civil commenter should be able to post comments without future moderation – although we cannot guarantee that the technical aspect of this functionality will work as intended 100% of the time.

Test-Tube Tomato Still-Life – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Test-Tube Tomato Still-Life – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Ekaterinya Vladinakova


 

“Test-Tube Tomato Still-Life” by Ekaterinya Vladinakova

 

Ekaterinya Vladinakova’s lush work plunges viewers into a vivid vision of the possible future. Friable strokes of dust rush along the barren cracks that mark the Red Planet as depicted in her Test-Tube Tomato Still-Life. Vladinakova examines the basic question of how might humans grow crops and other necessary resources on a planet as desolate as Mars. 

The gleam of the sun’s halo refracts over the surface of a hopeful tomato plant growing within a glass beaker. This may just be one of possibilities actualized once humans overcome the hurdle of successfully arriving on the surface Mars. Harnessing the power of photosynthesis in controlled environments devoid of soil or constant sunlight may prove to be feasibly effective. As one research team from the University of Florida found, plants can fare off pretty well with low light and zero-gravity conditions. Various plants were monitored on the International Space Station orbiting some 350 kilometers above Earth at the time. Researchers observed that the plants monitored showed no signs of impeded growth despite being in an environment devoid of gravity or constant light.

Another possibility is terraforming. With companies like SpaceX leading the mission towards full colonization of Mars, terraforming has been a topic of much debate. Terraforming would include the process of completely manipulating the atmosphere of the planet in order to recreate the ideal conditions of sustaining life. Such a process is arduous and would require a considerable amount of resources to even begin. Yet, it is still a possibility not far from our grasp.

Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter. See her gallery here and her DeviantArt page here.

~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, October 31, 2017
Stem-Cell Clinical Trials Show Remarkable Results Against Age-Related Frailty – Article by Steve Hill

Stem-Cell Clinical Trials Show Remarkable Results Against Age-Related Frailty – Article by Steve Hill

Steve Hill


Editor’s Note: In this article, Mr. Steve Hill discusses two very promising human clinical trials using stem cell therapy for age-related frailty. This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF) .

~ Kenneth Alum, Director of Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, October 29, 2017

The first results of two human clinical trials using stem cell therapy for age-related frailty have been published, and the results are very impressive indeed. The studies show that the approach used is effective in tackling multiple key age-related factors.

Aging research has made significant progress in the last few years, with senescent-cell-clearing therapies entering human trials this year, DNA repair in human trials, and a number of other exciting therapies nearing human testing. We are reaching the point where therapies that target aging processes are no longer a matter of speculation; they are now an undeniable matter of fact.

What are mesenchymal stem cells?

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are one of the most commonly used types of stem cells in therapy. MSCs are adult stem cells that can become other types of cells, depending on stimulus; this ability to become a variety of other cell types is known as multipotency. [1]

The cells into which MSCs can transform (differentiate) include osteoblasts (bone cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells), myocytes (muscle cells), and adipocytes (fat cells). MSCs are of great interest to aging researchers and are arguably one of the most well studied and understood types of stem cells. [2]

MSCs are currently in various trials to treat conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. [3] The potential of MSCs for treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, are also being explored in preclinical testing. [4-5]

A therapy for age-related frailty

The focus of the MSC therapy in the case of these two clinical trials is to reduce the effects of age-related frailty on senior citizens. This also marks an important step for rejuvenation biotechnology, as this is the first stem-cell treatment that is close to final FDA approval for specifically targeting age-related frailty. Should this be approved, then it opens the door for other similar approaches and the potential treatment of many age-related diseases.

The therapy itself uses MSCs taken from adult donor bone marrow and is infused into patients with an average age of 76 years old. The good news is that patients in both the phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials have shown no adverse effects to treatment.

This is excellent news and now paves the way to move to phase 3 clinical trials, which are larger-scale tests to further determine the efficacy and compare it to the best currently available treatments, for which there are basically none beyond simple coping approaches, such as walking sticks and frames to compensate for frailty.

It is also important to note that at this at this point, the drug or therapy is accepted as having some effect. You can read more about the clinical trial process and what each phase means here.

In the first trial, 15 patients with age-related frailty were given a single transplant of MSCs from donors aged between 20 and 45. [6] Six months later, all patients in the trial showed an improved level of fitness, lower levels of inflammatory tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and improved quality of life in general. TNF is one of the regulators of inflammation and contributes to the chronic age-related inflammation known as “inflammaging”, which drives a number of age-related diseases. [7]

The second trial was a randomized, double-blind study including a placebo group. An improved physical performance level was observed in patients, and, again, the level of systemic TNF, and thus inflammation, was reduced. [8] Once again, there were no adverse effects observed in the patients, and the researchers wrote:

Treated groups had remarkable improvements in physical performance measures and inflammatory biomarkers, both of which characterize the frailty syndrome.

David G. Le Couter and colleagues have written about the clinical trials in a guest editorial in The Journals of Gerontology:

There are always caveats associated with interpreting efficacy in small numbers of subjects, yet it is remarkable that a single treatment seems to have generated improvement in key features of frailty that are sustained for many months.

The next step for the researchers here is to begin a phase 2b clinical trial with 120 patients in ten different locations. Following the conclusion of this, a large randomized phase 3 trial will be launched, and this will be the final barrier to public approval for the therapy.

Conclusion

With an ever-increasing number of aged people in our population, stem cells hold great potential for treating a number of age-related diseases and combating the disability and frailty that accompany the aging process. Developing therapies like these could potentially help older people to enjoy an improved level of physical performance and a better quality of life. Being able to remain mobile and independent as we grow older would be of huge benefit to not only the individual but also to families and society as a whole.

There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for age-related frailty, so this represents a huge unmet need that will only worsen with an increasingly aging population if those needs are not met by new medicines.

Seeing such tangible results in humans is a clear indication of the potential of rejuvenation biotechnology, and how we regard and treat aging will be changing in the near future.

Literature

[1] Nardi, N. B., & da Silva Meirelles, L. (2008). Mesenchymal stem cells: isolation, in vitro expansion and characterization. In Stem cells (pp. 249-282). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

[2] Stolzing, A., Jones, E., McGonagle, D., & Scutt, A. (2008). Age-related changes in human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells: consequences for cell therapies. Mechanisms of ageing and development, 129(3), 163-173.

[3] Wang, S., Qu, X., & Zhao, R. C. (2012). Clinical applications of mesenchymal stem cells. Journal of hematology & oncology, 5(1), 19.

[4] Danielyan, L., Beer-Hammer, S., Stolzing, A., Schäfer, R., Siegel, G., Fabian, C., … & Novakovic, A. (2014). Intranasal delivery of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, macrophages, and microglia to the brain in mouse models of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Cell transplantation, 23(1), S123-S139.

[5] Naaldijk, Y., Jaeger, C., Fabian, C., Leovsky, C., Blüher, A., Rudolph, L., … & Stolzing, A. (2017). Effect of systemic transplantation of bone marrow‐derived mesenchymal stem cells on neuropathology markers in APP/PS1 Alzheimer mice. Neuropathology and applied neurobiology, 43(4), 299-314.

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[8] Tompkins, B. A., DiFede, D. L., Khan, A., Landin, A. M., Schulman, I. H., Pujol, M. V., … & Mushtaq, M. (2017). Allogeneic Mesenchymal Stem Cells Ameliorate Aging Frailty: A Phase II Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences, 72(11), 1513-1522.

 

About Steve Hill

As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity technologies, Steve has provided the community with multiple educational articles, interviews, and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity Reporter, Psychology Today, and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book Aging Prevention for All – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.