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Video of Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum at the Nevada State Legislature – May 15, 2019

Video of Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum at the Nevada State Legislature – May 15, 2019

Gennady Stolyarov II
Anastasia Synn
R. Nicholas Starr


Watch the video containing 73 minutes of excerpts from the Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum, held on May 15, 2019, at the Nevada State Legislature Building.

The Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum at the Nevada Legislature on May 15, 2019, marked a milestone for the U.S. Transhumanist Party and the Nevada Transhumanist Party. This was the first time that an official transhumanist event was held within the halls of a State Legislature, in one of the busiest areas of the building, within sight of the rooms where legislative committees met. The presenters were approached by tens of individuals – a few legislators and many lobbyists and staff members. The reaction was predominantly either positive or at least curious; there was no hostility and only mild disagreement from a few individuals. Generally, the outlook within the Legislative Building seems to be in favor of individual autonomy to pursue truly voluntary microchip implants. The testimony of Anastasia Synn at the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 26, 2019, in opposition to Assembly Bill 226, is one of the most memorable episodes of the 2019 Legislative Session for many who heard it. It has certainly affected the outcome for Assembly Bill 226, which was subsequently further amended to restore the original scope of the bill and only apply the prohibition to coercive microchip implants, while specifically exempting microchip implants voluntarily received by an individual from the prohibition. The scope of the prohibition was also narrowed by removing the reference to “any other person” and applying the prohibition to an enumerated list of entities who may not require others to be microchipped: state officers and employees, employers as a condition of employment, and persons in the business of insurance or bail. These changes alleviated the vast majority of the concerns within the transhumanist and cyborg communities about Assembly Bill 226.

 

From left to right: Gennady Stolyarov II, Anastasia Synn, and Ryan Starr (R. Nicholas Starr)

This Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum comes at the beginning of an era of transhumanist political engagement with policymakers and those who advise them. It was widely accepted by the visitors to the demonstration tables that technological advances are accelerating, and that policy decisions regarding technology should only be made with adequate knowledge about the technology itself – working on the basis of facts and not fears or misconceptions that arise from popular culture and dystopian fiction. Ryan Starr shared his expertise on the workings and limitations of both NFC/RFID microchips and GPS technology and who explained that cell phones are already far more trackable than microchips ever could be (based on their technical specifications and how those specifications could potentially be improved in the future). U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II introduced visitors to the world of transhumanist literature by bringing books for display – including writings by Aubrey de Grey, Bill Andrews, Ray Kurzweil, Jose Cordeiro, Ben Goertzel, Phil Bowermaster, and Mr. Stolyarov’s own book “Death is Wrong” in five languages. It appears that there is more sympathy for transhumanism within contemporary political circles than might appear at first glance; it is often transhumanists themselves who overestimate the negativity of the reaction they expect to receive. But nobody picketed the event or even called the presenters names; transhumanist ideas, expressed in a civil and engaging way – with an emphasis on practical applications that are here today or due to arrive in the near future – will be taken seriously when there is an opening to articulate them.

The graphics for the Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum were created by Tom Ross, the U.S. Transhumanist Party Director of Media Production.

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References

Gennady Stolyarov II Interviews Ray Kurzweil at RAAD Fest 2018

• “A Word on Implanted NFC Tags” – Article by Ryan Starr

Assembly Bill 226, Second Reprint – This is the version of the bill that passed the Senate on May 23, 2019.

Amendment to Assembly Bill 226 to essentially remove the prohibition against voluntary microchip implants

Future Grind Podcast

Synnister – Website of Anastasia Synn

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Achieves Its First Legislative Victory

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Achieves Its First Legislative Victory

Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party has achieved its first legislative victory. We previously issued an alert about Nevada Assembly Bill 226 (AB226), which originally was written only to prohibit compulsory microchip implants, but whose sponsor, Assemblyman Richard “Skip” Daly, proposed an amendment to also prohibit all voluntary programs for the implantation of a microchip. This concerned us greatly, as it would have essentially prohibited both medical implants with electronic components, as well as implants pursued for reasons of esthetics, self-expression, and functional improvement.

Although we learned of the proposed amendment only two days before the March 15, 2019, Work Session at the Assembly Judiciary Committee, the dedicated grassroots activists among our membership sprang into action. USTP activists quickly published an article, circulated tens of posts via social media, informed prominent transhumanists via e-mail, submitted comments on the Nevada Legislature and to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, and reached out to Legislators. We greatly appreciate that Assemblyman Richard “Skip” Daly took our concerns into account and proposed Subsection 3 within his amendment (below), which defines “microchip implant” in quite a narrow manner, addressing his concerns about potential future institutional pressure to use implanted identification markers, while exempting from the bill’s scope any medical devices, artistic implants, or implants pursued for reasons of personal expression. This amendment was incorporated into AB226 at the Assembly Judiciary Committee Work Session on March 15, 2019.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party believes that AB226, as amended, is no longer a cause for significant concern. While we are not thrilled about any restrictions on voluntary, peaceful activity, we believe that medical innovators, patients, artists, biohackers, grinders, cyborgs, fitness enthusiasts, and many other users of functional implantable technologies will not be at risk from this bill. Thank you to the transhumanist community for mobilizing so effectively to achieve this victory!

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It is also noteworthy that AB226 has not yet been enacted into law. It will still need to come before a vote of the full Assembly Floor Session, after which the bill would move to the Senate, where a public hearing and a Senate Judiciary Committee work session would need to be held before a full Senate vote. The public hearing in the Senate would be the opportunity of those with remaining concerns to testify on AB226. Furthermore, the Nevada Legislature website allows members of the public to submit their opinions about specific bills, and it is also possible to contact Assemblyman Richard “Skip” Daly,  the sponsor of AB226, as well as the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee to express one’s views. AB226 can also be monitored on NELIS, the Nevada Legislature’s online informational system.

To respond to some of the critical comments made by R. Nicholas Starr in his dissenting article, it is important to recognize that the inclusion of Subsection 3 in AB226 is at least an incremental victory, because it turned an essentially absolute ban on all implants (which would have crippled medical progress) into a more limited ban on implantation of NFC devices used as identification markers. It is still possible that a technical reading of the text – particularly of the phrase “intended to act as an identification marker” – in fact creates a safe harbor for many NFC implants that are not intended for identification purposes. For instance, if Person X were to have a functional NFC implant that enabled him to open car doors but that did not specifically identify him as Person X, a strong case could be made that participating in a voluntary program to receive this implant would not be prohibited if AB226 were to be enacted.

The NFC tag may have a number assigned to it, but if the number is not also assigned to an individual, this tag may not be an “identification marker”. For instance, a person could hypothetically have two or more tags with distinct numbers that have a similar or identical intended function. If neither of the unique tag numbers would necessarily be associated with that person as an individual, then one could make the argument that the number of the object (the tag) is not a number that has any relevance to the identity of the person in whom the tag is implanted.

The USTP does acknowledge, however, that services which specifically market themselves as providing identity-related security and verification would find the amended version of AB226 problematic, and representatives of such services are encouraged to voice their views, including by using the Legislative contact information and opinion-sharing functionality linked herein.