Browsed by
Month: November 2016

30-Day Exposure Period for the Transhumanist Bill of Rights – November 24 – December 24, 2016

30-Day Exposure Period for the Transhumanist Bill of Rights – November 24 – December 24, 2016

logo_bg
Gennady Stolyarov II


Having rapidly reached over 136 members, the U.S. Transhumanist Party is poised to take its first steps toward more democratic decision-making. The first area of focus for membership involvement will be matters of policy advocacy, beginning with the basic rights that transhumanists would wish to be instantiated in a desirable future world.

In December 2015, Zoltan Istvan delivered his Transhumanist Bill of Rights to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. You can read his article about it here.

Now it is time to expose the Transhumanist Bill of Rights for consideration by and input from the membership of the Transhumanist Party.

During the next 30 days, until 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on December 25, 2016, members of the Transhumanist Party will be able to offer input regarding the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. Please offer your honest feedback regarding what you like about the original version, what you dislike, and any revisions or additions you would favor. Please feel free to advocate your individual viewpoint – as all reasonable (serious, non-egregious, benevolently motivated) suggestions will be considered in the voting process.

During the exposure period, please post your comments on this thread. If you post comments intended to be considered in voting and/or amending the Transhumanist Bill of Rights in any other electronic medium, please note that you thereby give your consent to have your comments reproduced with attribution or linked within this discussion thread, in order to direct members’ attention and consideration to them.

After the exposure period, a 7-day electronic voting period will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on December 25, 2016, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on January 1, 2017. Instructions for electronic voting will be sent to members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party via e-mail. All individuals who are members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party as of the end of the exposure period and who have expressed agreement with its three Core Ideals will be eligible to vote thereafter. You can still vote if you become a member during the exposure period, so please apply here if you are interested. During the 7-day electronic voting period, you will still be able to become a member – but you will only be able to vote in subsequent elections, since we seek for voting on any given issue to be done by those members who have had an opportunity to thoroughly consider that issue and be involved in deliberations regarding it.

Electronic voting will be conducted by a ranked-preference method. Members will be able to rank-order their preferred selections on each individual Article of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, including any new Articles that might be proposed during the exposure period. The original text of each Article will be available for selection, as well as any reasonable amendments proposed by any member. Leadership of the Transhumanist Party reserves the right to edit any proposed amendment for correctness of spelling and grammar only – but not with regard to the substance, unless the person proposing the amendment requests or consents to a substantive edit. “No Article of this sort” will also be a choice, and any Article where a majority of votes favors this option will be removed from the final adopted version of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. Members will also be able to abstain from voting on any given article.

The ranked-preference method has the advantage of eliminating a “winner-take-all” or “first-past-the-post” mentality and preventing people from being channeled into voting for sub-optimal choices (in their view) just because they fear an even less palatable alternative prevailing. Within the ranked-preference methodology, if no option obtains a clear majority as voters’ first choice, the option having the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated from consideration, and all those who voted for that option will have their votes assigned to their second-choice options. This process of elimination continues until one particular option has a clear majority of votes.

The Transhumanist Party encourages all members to participate in this process and for other transhumanists to sign up for membership during the exposure period. This is an opportunity to demonstrate collaborative and democratic decision-making within the transhumanist movement and to teach the rest of the American political system an important lesson about how technology and rational voting systems can be used to produce truly representative outcomes.


The Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 1

(Authored by Zoltan Istvan – December 21, 2015)

Preamble: Whereas science and technology are now radically changing human beings and may also create future forms of advanced sapient and sentient life, transhumanists establish this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS to help guide and enact sensible policies in the pursuit of life, liberty, security of person, and happiness.

Article 1. Human beings, sentient artificial intelligences, cyborgs, and other advanced sapient life forms are entitled to universal rights of ending involuntary suffering, making personhood improvements, and achieving an indefinite lifespan via science and technology.

Article 2. Under penalty of law, no cultural, ethnic, or religious perspectives influencing government policy can impede life extension science, the health of the public, or the possible maximum amount of life hours citizens possess.

Article 3. Human beings, sentient artificial intelligences, cyborgs, and other advanced sapient life forms agree to uphold morphological freedom—the right to do with one’s physical attributes or intelligence (dead, alive, conscious, or unconscious) whatever one wants so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

Article 4. Human beings, sentient artificial intelligences, cyborgs, and other advanced sapient life forms will take every reasonable precaution to prevent existential risk, including those of rogue artificial intelligence, asteroids, plagues, weapons of mass destruction, bioterrorism, war, and global warming, among others.

Article 5. All nations and their governments will take all reasonable measures to embrace and fund space travel, not only for the spirit of adventure and to gain knowledge by exploring the universe, but as an ultimate safeguard to its citizens and transhumanity should planet Earth become uninhabitable or be destroyed.

Article 6. Involuntary aging shall be classified as a disease. All nations and their governments will actively seek to dramatically extend the lives and improve the health of its citizens by offering them scientific and medical technologies to overcome involuntary aging.


Help us develop a Version 2.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights that is broadly representative of perspectives and aspirations within the transhumanist movement! We welcome your feedback in the comments below.

Libertarianism and Transhumanism – How Liberty and Radical Technological Progress Fit Together

Libertarianism and Transhumanism – How Liberty and Radical Technological Progress Fit Together

logo_bg
Gennady Stolyarov II

****************

Gennady Stolyarov II, as Chief Executive of the Nevada Transhumanist Party and as of November 17, 2016, the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party, discusses the complementarities between libertarian and transhumanist philosophies and objectives, encouraging more libertarians to embrace emerging technologies and an “upwing” perspective on progress, tolerance, and cosmopolitanism. Over time Mr. Stolyarov hopes to be able to do similar outreach to persons of other persuasions – from centrists to non-identitarian conservatives to left-progressives to socialists to apolitical individuals, seeking common ground in pursuit of the improvement of the human condition through emerging technologies.

This presentation was made to the Washoe County Libertarian Party Organizing Convention in Reno, Nevada, on November 20, 2016.

Presentation slides can be downloaded here.

United States Transhumanist Party

Website
Membership Application Form

Nevada Transhumanist Party

Constitution and Bylaws
Facebook Group (join to become a member)

A Techno-Optimist Movement: For an Evenly Distributed Future

A Techno-Optimist Movement: For an Evenly Distributed Future

logo_bg
B.J. Murphy

****************

Prominently known as the “noir prophet” of the cyberpunk subgenre, sci-fi novelist William Ford Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” [1]

We are living in a point of time in which we can conceivably recognize the emergence of a future once envisioned throughout science-fiction literature. Unfortunately, as stated by Gibson, the future doesn’t appear to be evenly distributed. Whether or not this is merely the hallmark of a future emerging from its infancy, only to then mature over time, shouldn’t prevent us from recognizing the current problems laid before us.

Like any problem, the first step is the recognition of its existence. While there is good reason to expect that the exponential growth rate of information technologies will help us surpass the unfortunate reality of our uneven distribution of said technologies [2], we mustn’t fall back on the apathetic notion that our inaction will not cause detrimental effects to achieving the future we all desire. Don’t forget, while it remains true that the common layperson is in equal access to necessary medical technologies, the means of which we distribute them are at the cost of a massive debt for most people below an upper-class status. [3]

Instead, by adhering to the Proactionary Principle [4] – that is, an ethical decision-making principle which relies on modern science (as opposed to popular perception) in assessing and mitigating possible future risks – we must enforce a state of dialogue to ensure action plans are set in motion to help alleviate, if not completely expropriate, both present and future problems if and when they present themselves.

Here in the United States, we have an entire set of different problems that are in need of being addressed – poverty, homelessness, climate change, etc. Unlike the politicians in Washington D.C., we are not here to compromise, let alone serve special interest groups, to try to tip-toe our way towards the issues at hand. Instead our interests are with the people and, subsequently, to that of a future contrary to Gibson’s statement. We have a fundamental belief that, by using modern science and advanced technologies, we could feasibly address each issue that has stricken this nation to its core.

The means of which we’ll ensure these technologies see the light of day will come from innumerable sources. Today we’re no longer left with a binary source of funding – whether it’s via taxes or private corporations. In the last few years we’ve witnessed the skyrocketing emergence of crowdfunding, in which the common people are given a say as to which ideas are worth spending large sums of money on. [5] Neither source of funding holds greater importance over the other. We’re left with an amazing opportunity to ensure everyone has a voice – whether it’s the government, private corporations, or the everyday citizen. The key, however, is transparency – one in which we strongly emphasize.

Though, who is “we”? We are what are known as Techno-Optimists – a diverse collective of individuals from all walks of life who envision an optimistic future made up of technologies that, at first glance, appear almost magical in nature, e.g. virtual and mixed reality, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), cyborgs and genetically enhanced human beings, so on and so forth. But what we envision is in conflict with the current socio-economic situation we all bear witness to on a daily basis. It is that unfortunate truth in which our existence carries the utmost importance.

Unlike other organizations and groups that remain focused on specific technologies, our emphasis isn’t just on technological growth, but subsequently the insurance that everyone will be granted access to these technologies as we continue moving forward.

So far, we’re currently lacking in the technological race to the top. Keeping the present state of advancements in mind, the U.S. clearly downplays the importance of updating our systems to accommodate the acceleration of technological growth. In the U.S. we’re known for our poor public transportation systems, refusing to keep pace with the rest of the world in both efficiency and safety precautions, leaving people at risk. [6] If we’re to ensure the horrific Amtrak crash doesn’t occur again, we need to follow NASA’s lead by abandoning the archaic methods of transport and replace them for a more future-oriented system.

In the next 5 to 10 years, expect the emergence of virtual and mixed reality in every home, in every hospital, and every store you walk into. [7] 3D printing will be used throughout every major manufacturing industry, including but not limited to the automobile industry, architecture, and space exploration. [8] Soft A.I. will be integrated into our mobile devices, scanning our medical literature in search of treatments and cures to numerous diseases at the behest of each individual’s bodily self-determination. [9] They’ll subsequently be working hand in hand with our top climate scientists to help better extrapolate massive amounts of data and empower us with greater knowledge of our own planet, including better ways of living on it, e.g. the most efficient methods of cleaning oil spills, keeping environmental corporations in check to ensure they’re adhering to safety procedures, etc. [10]

Getting from here to there, however, is a much more tedious task, one in which necessitates our willingness to act ahead of schedule. It is in this pursuit in which we feel obligated to stand in the frontlines of this massive paradigm shift and help fight in the interests of those falling behind – or, as it would seem, being forced to remain behind by corporate greed and governmental bureaucracy. What is a home coupled with virtual reality and A.I. to whom cannot afford a home? [11] What is a car that is completely autonomous and augmentable to 3D-printed enhancements to whom cannot afford a car? [12] And what is a planet flooded with marvelous technological advancements beyond our wildest dreams to whom is smothered by an atmosphere veiled by greenhouse gases? [13]

Not only that, were none of these issues real, we’d still find ourselves in a dangerous predicament exacerbated by our very own robotics industry – technological unemployment. [14] The issue itself has been debated widely, though with little effect as a result. As the market continues to exponentially march into an autonomous realm – the next industrial revolution – thousands, if not millions, of people will be left without a job. And if we don’t act now, they’ll equally be left without a proper welfare system in place to ensure they remain afloat. [15]

Thankfully a global dialogue has already been initiated in the attempts to address this very serious issue, one in which goes against everything we’ve previously been taught throughout the history of economics. It goes by the name of a Basic Income Guarantee (or a Universal Basic Income) [16], whereby everyone will be granted a fixed income – either monthly or annually – regardless if employed or not, and which doesn’t affect one’s income by other means. This kind of radical policy, however, goes strictly against the interests of those profiting from the widening wage gap, necessitating a new grassroots movement demanding that a UBI welfare policy be discussed and implemented at a nationwide scale.

And finally, with talks of A.I. research reaching out into mainstream headlines for the first time in history, we’re now witnessing the gradual steps of another possible prohibition movement – that is, the prohibition of strong A.I. in fear of a Terminator-esque situation as a result. We might recognize the reasoning of this fear, but we certainly don’t share it. With all the progress that could come as a result of continuing A.I. research – medically, financially, etc. – the withholding of its growth would certainly set us back as the rest of the world moves ahead. If we don’t wish to be thrown into the dustbin of history, fighting in the interests of A.I. will be in tandem of fighting in the interests of our species who’ll greatly benefit from its awakening. [17]

The goal of Techno-Optimists should be to provide public safety information; to advocate for a sweeping technological transformation of society as a whole; and to engineer policies that’ll ensure a positive future equally distributed for everyone to enjoy. Technology by itself will not create the change we wish to convey for our future citizenry; rather technology must be guided with an ethical hand and a keen eye that is prepared for what is to come. To negate the importance of this understanding, one would surely hand over the future to the status quo.

1. 2012, “The Future Has Arrived — It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed Yet,” article.
2. Kurzweil, R., 2001, “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” article.
3. Skinner, J. S., 2013, “The Costly Paradox of Health-Care Technology,” article.
4. More, M., 2004, “The Proactionary Principle,” essay.
5. Neiss, S., Best, J., 2014, “Crowdfunding report signals increased revenue, jobs, and deal flow,” article.
6. Barry, K., 2013, “Public Transit Is Underfunded Because the Wealthy Don’t Rely On It,” article.
7. Orland, K., 2014, “Beyond gaming, the VR boom is everywhere—from classrooms to therapy couches,” article.
8. Ludwig, A., Harvey, S. E., 2013, “3D Printing Affects Every Industry, Even Homebuilding,” article.
9. Krawczyk, K., 2014, “Healthcare, Travel, Other Industries Making IBM Watson Apps,” article.
10. Temperley, J., 2015, “Artificial intelligence: can scientists stop ‘negative’ outcomes?,” article.
11. United States Census Bureau, 2013, “Housing Vacancies and Homeownership (CPS/HVS),” report.
12. Woodyard, C., 2015, “Used-car prices still on the rise,” article.
13. National Climatic Data Center, 2015, “Global Analysis – April 2015,” report.
14. Pistono, F., 2014, Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy, CreateSpace.
15. 2015, “Open Letter on the Digital Economy,” letter.
16. The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, website.
17. Future of Life Institute, 2015, “Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence: an Open Letter,” letter.

***
B.J. Murphy is the Director of Social Media of the Transhumanist Party (USA). This article was originally published on the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

A Transhumanist Opinion on Privacy

A Transhumanist Opinion on Privacy

logo_bg

Ryan Starr

****************

Privacy is a favorite topic of mine. Maintaining individual privacy is a crucial element in free society. Yet there are many who want to invade it for personal or political gain. As our digital fingerprint becomes a part of our notion of self, how do we maintain our personal privacy on an inherently impersonal network of data? Where do we draw that line on what is private, and how do we enforce it? These are questions that are difficult to answer when looking at a short-term perspective. However, if we look further into the probable future, we can create a plan that helps protect the privacy of citizens today and for generations to come. By taking into account the almost certain physical merger of human biology and technology, the answer becomes clear. Our electronic data should be treated as part of our bodily autonomy.

The explosive success of social media has shown that we already view ourselves as partly digital entities. Where we go, what we eat, and who we are with is proudly displayed in cyberspace for eternity. But beyond that we store unique data about ourselves “securely” on the internet. Bank accounts, tax returns, even medical information are filed away on a server somewhere and specifically identified as us. It’s no longer solely what we chose to let people see. We are physical and digital beings, and it is time we view these two sides as one before we take the next step into enhanced humanity.

Subdermal storage of electronic data is here, and its storage capabilities will expand rapidly. Soon we will be able to store a lot more than just access codes for our doors. It is hard to speculate exactly what people will chose to keep stored this way, and there may even come a time when what we see and hear is automatically stored this way. But before we go too far into what will be stored, we must understand how this information is accessed in present time. These implants are currently based in NFC technology. Near-Field Communication is a method of storing and transmitting data wirelessly within a very short distance. Yes, “wireless” is the key word. It means that if I can connect my NFC tag to my smart phone by just waiving my hand close to it (usually within an inch or so), then technically someone else can, too. While current antenna limitations and the discreetness of where a person’s tag is implanted create a highly secure method of storage, advances in technology will eventually make it easier to access the individual. This is why it is urgent we develop a streamlined policy for privacy.

The current Transhumanist position is that personally collected intellectual property, whether stored digitally or organically, is the property of the individual. As such, it should be protected from unauthorized search and download. The current platform also states that each individual has the freedom to enhance their own body as they like so long as it doesn’t negatively impact others. However, it does not specify what qualifies as a negative impact or how to prevent it. Morphological freedom is a double-edged sword. A person can a person enhance their ability to access information on themselves, but they can also use it to access others. It is entirely feasible enhancements will be created that allow a person to hack another. And collecting personal data isn’t the only risk with that. What if the hacking victim has an artificial heart or an implanted insulin pump? The hacker could potentially access the code the medical device is operating with and change or delete it, ultimately leading to death. Another scenario might be hacking into someone’s enhanced sensory abilities. Much like in the novel Ender’s Game, a person can access another to see what they see. This ability can be abused countless ways ranging from government surveillance to sexual voyeurism. While this is still firmly within the realm of science fiction, a transhuman society will need to create laws to protect against these person-to-person invasions of privacy.

Now let’s consider mass data collection. Proximity beacons could easily and cheaply be scattered across stores and cities to function as passive collection points much like overhead cameras are today. Retail stands to gain significantly from this technology, especially if they are allowed access to intimate knowledge about customers. Government intelligence gathering also stands to benefit from this capability. Levels of adrenaline, dopamine, and oxytocin stored for personal health analysis could be taken and paired with location data to put together an invasive picture of how people are feeling in a certain situation. Far more can be learned and exploited when discreetly collected biodata is merged with publicly observable activity.

In my mind, these are concerns that should be addressed sooner than later. If we take the appropriate steps to preserve personal privacy in all domains, we can make a positive impact that will last into the 22nd century.

***
Ryan Starr is the leader of the Transhumanist Party of Colorado. This article was originally published on his blog, and has been republished here with his permission.
Forthcoming Transitional Period of the Transhumanist Party

Forthcoming Transitional Period of the Transhumanist Party

The United States Transhumanist Party was founded by Zoltan Istvan in 2014. After Zoltan’s publicity-raising run for President in 2016, the Transhumanist Party is entering a new stage in its efforts to create a sustainable, long-lasting movement to advocate for life extension and the general application of science and technology for the dramatic improvement of the human condition.

To achieve that goal, Zoltan has requested that Gennady Stolyarov II, the current Chief Executive of the Nevada Transhumanist Party and author of Death is Wrong, become the new Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. During this Transitional Period, anticipated to span the year 2017, Mr. Stolyarov will be coordinating efforts to create the infrastructure for the Transhumanist Party going forward, including a membership base, an ever-growing scope of constructive activities, and ultimately elections that will determine a comprehensive platform, bylaws, and future officers after the conclusion of the Transitional Period.

zoltan_istvan_statement

Please check back on this website regularly for additional updates as the Transitional Period unfolds.

Leadership

Click here to find out about the leadership of the Transhumanist Party. Learn about some of the highlights of their past activism here.

Contact

Contact Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II  via e-mail here.

Contact Secretary-Treasurer Wendy Stolyarov via e-mail here.

The physical mailing address of the Transhumanist Party is the following:

PO Box 2455
Minden, NV 89423 

Proximate Goals

The immediate goals of the Transhumanist Party during the Transitional Period will be the following:

(1) Reach 100 members as soon as possible, with the goal of achieving adequate representation from among the transhumanist community. Once this threshold is achieved, voting on key issues may begin.

(2) Discuss the Transhumanist Bill of Rights previously proposed by Zoltan Istvan. Solicit input from members regarding possible improvements, refinements, and amendments. Afterward, a vote shall be held on the most current version of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights at that time, and a determination will be made regarding whether to adopt this document as an official statement of the Transhumanist Party going forward.

(3) Acquire additional officers (appointed positions during the Transitional Period), advisors, and volunteers.

(4) Pursue concrete, short-term projects that advance the aims of the transhumanist movement and philosophical ideas. Solicit input from membership regarding “low-hanging fruit” that can be attained with minimal funds and a modest volunteer base.

(5) Reach out to all State-level Transhumanist Parties, ascertain their status, and explore opportunities for collaboration and growth.

Become a Member

Membership in the Transhumanist Party is free of monetary cost. To become a member, please fill out the Membership Application. We request the following information:

(1) Your name.

(2) Are you eligible to vote in any United States elections? (Answer “Yes” or “No”. The answer will determine whether you will be a United States Member or an Allied Member. You will not be rejected due to a “No” answer.)

(3) Do you agree with the following Core Ideals of the Transhumanist Party (however you may interpret those ideals)? (Answer “Yes” or “No”. You will not be rejected for membership due to a “No” answer and will still be able to participate in discussions. However, voting on platform planks and organizational structure may, at the Chairman’s discretion, be limited to those members who answered “Yes” to this question, in order to ensure that the platform and party structure are representative of the views of those who hold core transhumanist ideals.)

Ideal 1. The Transhumanist Party supports significant life extension achieved through the progress of science and technology.

Ideal 2. The Transhumanist Party supports a cultural, societal, and political atmosphere informed and animated by reason, science, and secular values.

Ideal 3. The Transhumanist Party supports efforts to use science, technology, and rational discourse to reduce and eliminate various existential risks to the human species.

Interim Constitution

The drafting of the Constitution of the United States Transhumanist Party has begun. Article I has been developed to express certain immutable principles which may not be altered going forward. Article II has been developed to facilitate an effective transition. The remainder will be crafted with the input of members once an active, involved membership base has been established.

Please join our effort and help us create the infrastructure for an enduring political party of the future.

Can we make a positive science-fiction future the reality of our lifetimes?

maxime-delcambre-sci-fi-city-md-bannerjpgNote: Left-click on this image to get a full view of this digital work of art.

Art: “Sci-Fi City” by Maxime Delcambre – Created by digital artist Maxime Delcambre, this futuristic matte painting portrays a flourishing science fiction cityscape.

Visit Maxime Delcambre’s portfolio for more of his matte paintings and illustrations.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License and was originally posted on DeviantArt.