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

U.S. Transhumanist Party General Discussion Thread for April 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 U.S. Transhumanist Party will endeavor to open one of these general comment threads per month. This comment thread pertains to the month of April 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.

10 thoughts on “U.S. Transhumanist Party General Discussion Thread for April 2017

  1. Hello reader,

    First of, thank you Gennady for creating this discussion thread!

    Let me kick of with, what I think is a fairly controversial topic.
    The thought process is that in order to further development as a species, aside from improving the education system and such, a key factor, and the first point for educational development is done by parents.
    I will be completely frank here, I have witnessed some highly questionable parenting efforts in my immediate surrounding. On the other hand I have also witnessed more skilled parenting, parents with a pedagogic background.

    What will be our stance on parenting, and having children? Do we place the right of the child over the right to parent?
    Do we encourage efforts to educate people, for example high schoolers, on the tremendous responsibility that befalls parents?
    Do we encourage efforts for people to seek pedagogic education by themselves (perhaps through a subsidy for example), before during or after pregnancy, or do we perhaps even encourage it to be incorporated into high school, or college education?

    I mentioned high school, not because I’m a proponent of teens becoming parents per se, but rather because the number of teen pregnancies in the US is the highest in any Western nation.

    Something else we might wish to consider is the definition of ‘parent’ to include a baby born through an entirely artificial means, perhaps without even directly sharing DNA with the parent. Another option would be to redefine ‘surrogate mother’ to include artificial wombs.

    Thanks for reading, and hope we can have a constructive discussion.

    1. While it’s true that parents contribute a great deal to a child’s education, the onus should be on schools to provide all necessary resources and opportunities for a child to have a safe, effective learning environment. After all, despite its potential for effective utility, government control of schools in the United States is already a tenuous subject among American citizens. I don’t think it would be feasible, let alone well-received, to try to apply a similar program to parents.

      1. I agree with your statements. Regarding stimulating, I was more thinking along the lines informing, perhaps in a way similar to ‘Only you can prevent forest fires’. Mandating or forcing is out of the question, and even incentivizing in any form will be met with resistance I believe. I actually think that this is such intervention is something we should oppose. The idea of incorporation some form of pedagogy or informing students on parenting was to provide them some knowledge before they might become parents.
        I also agree that efficiency of government bodies, including education should be tremendously improved. Despite many of us probably not being experts on the working of bureaucracy and the complexities that come with it, I think it would at the very least be a good thought experiment to exchange ideas on how we may view increased efficiency.

        1. That makes more sense, yes. I may have initially misunderstood your original statement: I had thought that you wanted to prioritize the education of children from their parents rather than from formal academic institutions. Education of youth prior to, and in preparation for, their lives as parents would certainly be optimal.

          Regarding efficiency, I must disclose my lack of expertise on the structure and study of education. However, as a participant in the contemporary American education system, I can say that the following should be reformed and improved:

          1. A new public education model emphasizing growth over proficiency. These terms are used in the field of education to refer to the relative amount of improvement that each student undergoes during their academic career versus their ability to conform to a preconceived standard (e.g. grades, standardized tests, etc.).

          2. A periodically, perhaps annually, revised curriculum focusing on which subjects are most helpful to people in the workplace. The base categories, e.g. quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, verbal and nonverbal communication, etc. would remain the same, but trigonometry and calculus, for instance, would be replaced with data analysis and finance to better prepare students for the working world.

          3. Embracing increased use of technology in schools. While current education technology has frequently been criticized and is occasionally hazardous to the well-being of students, increasingly state-of-the-art technologies could turn this perception on its head. If students were fitted with cranial chips that allowed them to download information directly into their brains, with an intranet connection rather than an open Internet connection to prevent hacking, they would be able to use their brains for other things, such as social skills and friendship–vital skills that are not and often cannot be taught in schools but may be gained intuitively. Moreover, it’s been documented that impairment of social skills of American children is increasing annually.

          1. My apologies that my previous comment didn’t make that clear. You phrased it really well with “Education of youth prior to, and in preparation for, their lives as parents would certainly be optimal.” Hopefully this would lead to a generation of parents that would have more knowledge of raising a child, which in turn would benefit the child.

            To respond to your points:
            1: I agree with this basic idea that there should be more focus on progress than grades. I do think that there will be some form of standardization though so that everyone has a set of knowledge roughly equal based on curricula of universities. A problem I could see is that the standards would gradually be lowered to suit the lowest common denominator.

            2: Yes, and no. I agree that Curricula should be adapted, as soon as possible to be useful for students after they leave school. Currently that is impossible due to the slow paced change of crawling educational monoliths. In the future, even after making the educational system more nimble, it would become increasingly difficult due to the increased pace of change, technology is the most common example. What I see happening, is that universities will focus more on basic skill-sets such as: critical thinking, basic math, reasoning, etc..and offer languages. Most other things will either become more specialized fields, or be more in line with a Coursera or EdEx type model, and possibly combined with working in the field of study.

            3: This is something the U.S. Transhumanist Party already supports. I’m in favor of utilizing such technologies too. The main concerns here will most likely be ethical and societal. Will it initially be considered cheating? What if poor people can’t afford it, which would leave them at even more of a disadvantage? What if a person takes an action based on something ‘learned’ but this implant was malfunctioning, who’s fault will it be? (it’s a bit like the DNA-did-it argument that we now face).
            The declining social skills could be an issue, but maybe they are merely changing in a form that we aren’t used to seeing. Social norms and interactions change all the time, the increasing speed of innovations combined with increased interconnectedness may simply be making it more visible.

  2. Hello Reader,

    I’ve been working on an idea for a Party Code of Conduct. I fully understand that this is not complete, nor perfect. There might also be parts that would better be suited within a set of Party rules, or perhaps as planks. I hope by reading this draft idea it becomes clear that at this point I have mainly focused on ensuring and maintaining integrity. I have no reason to believe this to be at odds at anytime, but I reasoned that, aside from being a good to fall back on that it could also serve to showcase to the public that we attempt to improve based on criticisms made, mainly towards the more established parties. I would love to hear, and possibly debate and discuss comments and criticism.
    One last thing, I’m not a lawyer, but did my best to write as thorough and comprehensive as possible. Maybe there are also some redundancies to be resolved.

    U.S. Transhumanist Party Code of Conduct (CoC)

    The U.S. Transhumanist Party shall not engage, or participate in unlawful or criminal activity.

    The U.S. Transhumanist shall not interpret its Code of Conduct or parts thereof in such a manner that would, to a reasonable layman be considered a perversion of the intent of the CoC, including lawyering interpretations of the CoC to circumvent its intended meaning or function.
    Any serious doubt or disagreement regarding the interpretation or parts thereof shall be discussed at the nearest available party meeting. The different interpretations shall be elaborated upon and written down, followed by presenting party member a ballot vote with the different interpretations. The preferred ballot type would be a stacked tally vote (the preference 1 – some number)

    The U.S. Transhumanist Party shall not accept donations from, or participate in favor exchange with private companies, corporations, or a Super-PAC.

    The U.S. Transhumanist Party shall not accept support, including donations from individuals in exchange for favors, such as positions within the U.S. Transhumanist Party.
    This is to ensure the integrity of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s positions, and prevent accusations of being beholden to third party wishes.

    The U.S. Transhumanist Party shall not engage in actions towards politicians, or political candidates reasonably considered to be ‘smear campaigns’. The U.S. Transhumanist Party may, as it wishes, respond with thoughtful communication, based on information available, and acknowledge when gaps of information exist to make definitive statements. The U.S. Transhumanist Party stands for reason, and as such ought to act accordingly.

    The U.S. Transhumanist Party shall not participate, support, endorse, or facilitate any person engaging in violence, threats, intentionally preventing people of a different political view from peacefully assembling, attempt to silence others opinions [possible additions needed] claiming to be a member of, act on behalf of, or in accordance with the U.S. Transhumanist Party. The U.S. Transhumanist Party will distance itself from such individuals, and condemn such actions of irrational behavior.

    The U.S. Transhumanist Party shall lead by example regarding its view on reasoned, rational, constructive, and critical thought, action, and debate. The U.S. Transhumanist Party shall positively acknowledge others regardless of their political position, that engage in reasoned etc. thought, action, and debate.

    If you’ve made it all the way down, thank you very much for your patience and interest.

    Kind regards,
    Martin

    1. Two more proposals for the USTP CoC:

      The U.S. Transhumanist Party shall not dismiss or disregard ideas based on a potential or assumed affiliation with an ideology or religion, but consider ideas based on the merits of the arguments made.

      The U.S. Transhumanist Party envisions that technological innovations and medical advancement are likely to happen at an increasingly accelerated rate regardless of any influence by the U.S. Transhumanist Party. The U.S. Transhumanist Party, however, does not hold ideological constraints limiting the openness to possibilities, and will labor to prevent falling into an ideological trap.

  3. An entirely different matter.
    On the U.S. Transhumanist Party Facebook Page someone asked how soon we would be able to be on the ballot of all 50 States, and if we could do it within 20 years like the Libertarian Party. In prior times this could have been a normal time frame, but I think now this would be way too long, given the increasing pace of change and innovation.

    How can we increase awareness of our existence as a Party?
    Is there a demographic that might be most interested like college students?
    Are there prominent people such as; artists, musicians, politicians, or visionaries that would be willing to publicly support or endorse us? Of course this should come from their belief that we have good ideas and such.

    Just as our ideas on policy look towards the future, so should we look towards the future on how to get the Party on every Ballot.

    I’d love to hear ideas, comments, suggestions?

  4. A few other Plank proposals:

    The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports efforts to have bills proposed without unrelated sub-sections or provisions. This would accomplish three things namely; simplifying a bill making it more accessible and less convoluted, a focused vote for or against a bill without the possibility of having to accept or reject a provision, and lastly prevent an unrelated provision being buried within a bill as a possible tactic to have it passed.
    (Not necessarily to be added in a Plank proposal: Among the more famous example is: H.R. 933, a continuing resolution spending bill, has on page 78 within the bill a provision that protects biotech corporations from litigation.)
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsanto-protection-act-signed-by-obama-gmo-bill-written-by-monsanto-signed-into-law/5329388

    The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports efforts to limit protectionism, and subsidizing of an industry or group of companies. The exception to this would be that of extenuating circumstances such as natural disasters or catastrophes, in which case a limited window of support could be approved. The U.S. Transhumanist Party understands that in a free market society, private businesses ought to adapt to market changes above being shielded from such changes to continue their existence.

    The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports efforts to increase autonomy of individuals to decide over their own bodies, including gender reassignment, hysterectomies, vasectomies, technological augmentation, cosmetic alterations, genetic enhancements, and physical supplementation at the age of 18 years, as long as this does not create health hazards or threats to other individuals.

    1. To the last plank proposal regarding autonomy, I would like to add ‘and decide on the continuation of one’s own life’. This in particular in the possible future of having, by current standards, extremely long lives or perhaps even immortality. I envision that a side effect will be better guidance for those considering suicide/euthanasia which gives an opportunity to have it better thought through and a possible conversation, but also for people who are in extreme pain or are terminally ill.

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