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U.S. Transhumanist Party Vote on the Question of Endorsing Candidate James D. Schultz for the New York State Assembly District 2

U.S. Transhumanist Party Vote on the Question of Endorsing Candidate James D. Schultz for the New York State Assembly District 2

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The U.S. Transhumanist Party will hold an electronic vote of the membership for a seven-day period ending on 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, on the question of whether to endorse James D. Schultz, who will be running for New York State Assembly District 2 in the 2018 general election. Registered U.S. Transhumanist Party members as of 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, would be able to cast their ballots on this question and will be sent their ballots via e-mail.

See the Facebook page for Mr. Schultz’s campaign: James Schultz for State Assembly 2018.

Mr. Schultz would officially be running as an independent candidate, but New York law allows independent candidates to use a “political party designation” next to their names. If endorsed by the U.S. Transhumanist Party membership (a majority of those casting their ballots, excluding abstentions), Mr. Schultz would be able to use “Transhumanist Party” as his political party designation.

James D. Schultz

Statement by James Schultz: 

The reason I want to run as a Transhumanist is to expand the party brand and knowledge of its existence. I one day want to run a local chapter of the party. I believe this is the best way to expand.

My current stage is fundraising, and I am waiting for the legal opportunity to get ballot signatures.

James Schultz’s 8-Point Platform and Parallels in the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform

1. Legalization of Marijuana

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform [emphasis added]: 

Section XIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports an end to the costly drug war, which is often an infringement upon the lives and liberties of innocent citizens who do not use drugs but fall victim to militant enforcement of drug prohibitions. The United States Transhumanist Party supports legalization of mild recreational drugs such as marijuana.

2. Removal of Red-Light Cameras

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

[No specific mention of red-light cameras, but the U.S. Transhumanist Party does oppose mass surveillance, and there is the possibility of red-light cameras being overly sensitive in identifying “violations” which may have been immaterial or necessary for safety purposes.]

Section I [Adopted by a vote of the members during January 15-21, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that an individual has chosen to retain within his, her, or its private sphere. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.

3. Government Funding of Student Laptops and Class Smart Boards

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

Section XII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party holds that present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values.

The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to reduce the cost of education while improving its access. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party supports freely available, open-source, methods of learning, teaching, credentialing, and cultural creation that integrate emerging technologies into every facet of the learning process. The United States Transhumanist Party primarily advocates private innovation to deliver such educational improvements, but also advocates the application of these improvements to all publicly funded educational institutions. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that every person should aspire toward intellectual, moral, and esthetic enlightenment and sophistication and should contribute toward bringing about a new Age of Reason, where the highest reaches of intellectual activity are attainable and eagerly pursued by the majority of the population.

The United States has upheld basic education since the American Revolution. The United States Transhumanist Party believes, in keeping with what basic education was in the 1700s, relative to the state of technology given the advancement in society at the time, that ‘basic’ education should be defined as college, and that a key part of our agenda is to help encourage a more successful generation by paying for a ‘basic’ education up to and including college degrees.

4. Term Limits

[No specific mention in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform.]

5. Environmental Protection

Parallels in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

[No generalized mention of environmental protection in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, but there is mention of supporting alternative energy sources and protecting particular species of animals from killing and cruelty, as well as support of the environmentally friendly development of biologically identical meat products that do not involve the killing of animals.]

Section XXIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the promotion of animal welfare to the extent it does not conflict with human well-being. However, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes “animal liberation” movements that seek to return animals to the wilderness or espouse any attempts to separate domesticated animals from human influence. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party supports the prohibition of cruelty to animals and a complete abolition of euthanasia of healthy animals by animal shelters. The United States Transhumanist Party supports a complete prohibition on the killing of non-contagious, non-aggressive dogs, cats, dolphins, whales, elephants, horses, tortoises, parrots, and primates. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party supports the development and widespread consumption of artificially grown, biologically identical meat products that do not involve the killing of animals.

Section XXXVIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]The United States Transhumanist Party supports emerging alternative energy sources and their technological implementations. However, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes government subsidies for any energy source – including fossil fuels. Instead, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that superior, cleaner, and more efficient energy sources will also tend to become less costly and more broadly adopted under a system of unfettered market competition and innovation.

6. State Net Neutrality

Parallels in Positions Expressed by the U.S. Transhumanist Party:

Article XV of the U.S. Transhumanist Bill of Rights states,

“All sentient entities, with the exception only of those in legal detention, have the right to private internet access without such access being prohibited or circumvented by either private corporations or governmental bureaucracy.”

Read the statement by Martin van der Kroon, “The U.S. Transhumanist Party Supports Net Neutrality. Do You?

7. Mandatory Police Body Cameras

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

Section XXXIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]:  The United States Transhumanist Party holds that sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the use of technologies which increase monitoring of police action and policing activities, with expressed goals of increasing policing accountability.

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a requirement that data pertaining to recordings of police action be transmitted and recorded beyond police control, so as to be protected from falsification, deletion, and selective curation by police.

8. Reduced Ballot-Access Requirements

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

Section XIX [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports an end to the two-party political system in the United States and a substantially greater inclusion of “third parties” in the political process through mechanisms such as proportional representation and the elimination of stringent ballot-access requirements. The United States Transhumanist Party also seeks to limit the influence of lobbying by politically connected special interests, while increasing the influence of advocacy by intelligent laypersons.

A Transhumanist Opinion on Privacy

A Transhumanist Opinion on Privacy

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Ryan Starr

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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.

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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.