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Announcement Regarding California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum, Encouragement to Participate, and USTP Chairman Stolyarov’s Answers

Announcement Regarding California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum, Encouragement to Participate, and USTP Chairman Stolyarov’s Answers

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The United States Transhumanist Party encourages all of its members to participate in the E-Governance Referendum designed by the California Transhumanist Party.

Please read the description of the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum here.

California Transhumanist Party Chairman Newton Lee characterized the E-Governance Referendum as the California Transhumanist Party’s “first step in establishing electronic democracy, where every citizen becomes a part of collective decision-making process.”

The California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum is independent of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, and the USTP Platform will continue to determine USTP policy positions in all respects. However, the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum is an interesting experiment in aggregation and analysis of views on policy issues by a mediated artificial superintelligence (mASI) called Uplift.  Per the description of the objectives of the referendum, “Building Better Policy in e-Governance AI-Driven Research is a part of the Uplift mASI research program that has the goal of a better understanding of how technology can be used to develop better policy. The project has a number of partners and related projects and sub-projects where we hope to explore our project vision around the application of particular key technologies in AI, comprising primarily the application of collective intelligence systems in e-governance—but also including blockchain, AGI cognitive architectures, and other distributed AI systems.”

David J. Kelley of AGI Laboratory, who developed the Uplift mASI, stated that “Uplift is about raising the apotheosis of organizations to a higher, more awakened state that can increase profits, save jobs, help the environment, and optimize society.”

On June 14, 2020, the U.S. Transhumanist Party hosted a Virtual Enlightenment Salon featuring David J. Kelley as its guest, in which an extensive discussion of Uplift and the E-Governance Referendum transpired. Watch the video of this Virtual Enlightenment Salon here.

The four questions in the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum (for which you may enter responses after clicking on the links below) are the following:

  1. Should the government keep Universal Basic Income (UBI), a “stimulus package” introduced to Americans during the COVID-related crisis?
  2. Should the government impose a higher income tax on the wealthy individuals in order to pay the Universal Basic Salary to US citizens?
  3. Should we have free universal medical care?
  4. Should the police be defunded? Consider alternatives and how such a policy could be used to force changes in local departments. Please consider how this would realistically be done?

Referendum-related questions should be directed at the mASI system running the study: mASI@Uplift.bio


U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II’s Responses to the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum

USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II provided the following answers to the questions on the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum, based on the positions taken in the USTP Platform and the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0.

Every individual, whether or not that person is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party or the California Transhumanist Party, is able to participate in the California Transhumanist Party E-Governance Referendum. All individuals are encouraged to vote their conscience, and Chairman Stolyarov’s answers are presented to express one set of responses, but not necessarily the only set of responses, that would be consistent with the USTP Platform.

Question 1:

Should the government keep Universal Basic Income, introduced to Americans as a “stimulus package” during the COVID-related crisis?

Answer: Yes

What caveats do you have to your position?

The Universal Basic Income must be implemented without raising net taxes on any segment of the population. The Universal Basic Income also must not be means-tested, and the same amount must apply to all. Desirably, the Universal Basic Income should replace at least some traditional, means-tested welfare systems and thus reduce the cost of administration.

Are there key details that your position requires to maintain that position?

The most effective way of funding a Universal Basic Income would be a land dividend or resource dividend, where governmentally owned land or other natural resources would be leased (or, in the case of perishable resources, sold) to private parties with certain environmentally friendly stipulations, and with the proceeds being used to fund the Universal Basic Income.

Any means-testing or conditionality of a Universal Basic Income would defeat its purpose, as it would reintroduce the same burdensome costs of administration which render traditional means-tested welfare systems counterproductive from a cost-benefit standpoint.

How do you feel about your position and this question?

I feel strongly that Universal Basic Income could work if it is truly unconditional and does not involve redistribution of existing wealth. However, I strongly feel that Universal Basic Income will fail if it is modified to lack universality or to involve a redistributive taxation mechanism that raises taxes on higher income-earners.

Do you have any other thoughts on this topic that would be important to note?

The “trials” of Universal Basic Income that are being undertaken in various countries are not true instances of a Universal Basic Income, because they are often targeted toward specific poorer or unemployed segments of the population, and because they have an expiration date, which alters the incentives of the recipients of the funds and increases the uncertainty felt by those recipients.. Any perceived failures or insufficiencies of such “trials” should not be used to discredit the concept of a true Universal Basic Income.

Do you want to be included in the collective discussion with the AI systems on this referendum and study only related exchanges? 

Yes.

Question 2:

Should the government impose a higher income tax on the wealthy individuals in order to pay the Universal Basic Salary to U.S. citizens?

Answer: No.

What caveats do you have to your position?

Income taxes should not be raised and, on the contrary, should be repealed entirely. There should not be any graduated taxation of incomes. All taxation should be in the form of a single flat percentage-of-sales tax applicable only to purchases from businesses whose combined nationwide revenues from all affiliates exceed a specified threshold. This tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner or even be felt by consumers as they go about their day-to-day activities.

Are there key details that your position requires to maintain that position?

Income taxation presents a disincentive to work and creates a special compliance burden on individuals by means of the complexity of the tax code and the need to make tax-return filings. This compliance burden is more of a drain on productivity than the actual amount of the tax and particularly affects middle-class taxpayers who often submit their own tax returns using their own efforts. Moreover, graduated income taxation creates disincentives for upward economic mobility and particularly penalizes up-and-coming middle-class individuals who seek to improve their financial well-being. The ultra-wealthy can easily afford the higher tax rates in the upper income brackets or can shelter their incomes from taxation, but the middle-class and upper-middle-class taxpayers bear the full burdens. This, indeed, creates barriers to entry into the economic elite and prevents the full extent of desirable competition for wealth acquisition through productive and societally beneficial means.

How do you feel about your position and this question?

I feel strongly that any increase in any income tax would be counterproductive.

Do you have any other thoughts on this topic that would be important to note?

A federal land dividend or resource dividend would be a far superior way of funding a Universal Basic Income.

Do you want to be included in the collective discussion with the AI systems on this referendum and study only related exchanges? 

Yes.

Question 3:

Should we have free universal medical care?

Answer: Yes.

What caveats do you have to your position?

Medical care should be universal and eventually free, but not necessarily provided by government, and private competition in the provision of services should always be permitted. People should also always be permitted to pay for any medical treatments they wish to receive from any reasonably qualified provider. The way to achieve eventually free medical care is through the progress of science and technology that would dramatically reduce costs, not through compelling everyone to participate in a government program. Achieving a system of de facto free, universal medical care will realistically require a transitional period where medical care will become increasingly accessible but still require patients to pay some portion of the cost while the necessary technologies for free or nearly free delivery of care are developed and mature.

Are there key details that your position requires to maintain that position?

Medical care can become universal in much the same way that access to food is virtually universal in the “developed” world today, even though there is no government program for food distribution that everyone is required to participate in. There is a role for government in providing various safety nets and medical infrastructure for public-health reasons – such as ample hospital surge capacity in the event of pandemics, and stockpiles of personal protective equipment and other essential medical supplies. To the extent that government-supplied healthcare can improve health outcomes among the less well-off and thereby prevent the spread of infectious diseases and other maladies, this could be beneficial. Moreover, patient choice and private options, supplied on a competitive market, must always remain available. It is possible for a future system of universal healthcare to consist of a free, baseline, governmentally provided option with a large number of private competing options – including for the same services that the government option may be providing. Technological innovation and competition may drive the cost of the private options to eventually be close to zero, just as access to e-mail is virtually free today because of freedom of innovation and ample options, as well as revenue models that do not require the end users to pay. Moreover, private philanthropy can and should play a significant role in covering the costs of medical care for those in need.

How do you feel about your position and this question?

There is considerably ambiguity as to what people mean when they refer to “free” and “universal” medical care. Depending on what they actually mean, I could feel favorably inclined (as in the case of technologically driven major reductions in cost and improvements in access to care), or averse (as in the case of governmentally mandated “single payer” systems).

Do you have any other thoughts on this topic that would be important to note?

A “single payer” system of care, or a system such the Canadian one which allows no private options, is not actually a free or a universal system of care. Any system that rations care by requiring patients to wait is neither free nor universal. Moreover, any system that is funded by taxation is not free. A truly free, universal system of medical care will not involve queuing, rationing, or taxpayer subsidies. It may be funded by a superabundance of resources produced at nearly no cost by emerging technologies of advanced manufacturing and automation.

Do you want to be included in the collective discussion with the AI systems on this referendum and study only related exchanges? 

Yes.

Question 4:

Should the police be defunded? Consider alternatives and how such a policy could be used to force changes in local departments. Please consider how this would realistically be done.

Answer: No.

What caveats do you have to your position? The police should not be defunded altogether, but funding should be redirected toward more humane and less violent means of apprehending criminals and de-escalating situations. Funding currently used for militarized police forces should be devoted to technologies that can peacefully incapacitate offenders and provide effective passive defense for police officers, as well as improved training for police that prioritizes non-violent conflict resolution. Some net reduction of police funding may be justified, but some manner of police force should continue to exist to help keep the peace, or else violent crime will escalate out of control.

Are there key details that your position requires to maintain that position?

Defunding the police may be counterproductive by leaving people vulnerable to actual violent criminals. However, serious police reform is necessary – including eliminating qualified immunity, curbing the power of police unions, requiring police body cameras and protecting recordings from tampering by police, facilitating objective, external investigations of alleged police misconduct, prohibiting no-knock raids and chokeholds, and requiring that police use non-lethal means unless their lives are genuinely threatened. Most importantly, the default operating protocols of police must be revised in the United States to be more similar to those in countries where killings by police are minimal.

How do you feel about your position and this question?

I feel ambivalent about calls to “defund the police”, because they are seldom accompanied by specific measures that would replace the role of the police in combatting actual violent crime. Sometimes, those who advocate “defunding” the police actually advocate a reduction and/or redirection of the funds to other conflict-resolution methods, and in those cases I am more favorably inclined – since not all instances of misbehavior require police intervention to correct.

Do you have any other thoughts on this topic that would be important to note?

Any effective police reform needs to focus on the root causes of police militarization and reflexively lethal use of force. Such root causes include the misguided War on Drugs and War on Terror, as well the existence of artificial and protectionist barriers to economic opportunity for many individuals, which lead those individuals to be channeled into lives of crime.

Do you want to be included in the collective discussion with the AI systems on this referendum and study only related exchanges? 

Yes.

The Imperative to Build a Transhumanist Society – Article by C. H. Antony

The Imperative to Build a Transhumanist Society – Article by C. H. Antony

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Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party publishes this article by member C. H. Antony as a reminder that the aspirations of the transhumanist movement and the imperative to develop technologies to instantiate it are personal to many of us. Delays in achieving our vision come at the cost of innocent lives. In Section XXII of its Platform, “The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts at political, economic, and cultural experimentation in the form of seasteads and micronations.” To what extent can such experimentation be explicitly transhumanist in nature? To what extent can the U.S. Transhumanist Party collaborate and its members contribute their efforts to advance emerging efforts to create seasteads and micronations – such as Blue Frontiers? Do members agree with Mr. Antony’s critique of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s predominant approach, which is aimed at incrementally reforming existing political systems? Comments from various perspectives are welcome.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, December 17, 2018


        Amanda Y. Bowers

         September 25th, 1984 – December 8th, 2018

My wife had been sick for a long time. Off and on she suffered peculiar gastrointestinal problems and was given a different reason every time. Finally, in 2015, Amanda was diagnosed with celiac sprue symptomatically, though she presented no protein markers. We were told that is sometimes the case and began a gluten-free diet and some important lifestyle changes we hoped would alleviate her suffering. As time went on, we believed every other GI problem to be easily explained by some cross-contamination or hidden filler in something. We had no idea that she was suffering from colorectal cancer that was slowly reaching a critical point. In July of 2018 her left ureter collapsed, and she was sent home with the explanation that she had passed a kidney stone. I came home from a trip to find her more ill than when I had left and brought her back in and had to fight for her admission and testing. The results were inconclusive, the prevailing theory being a progression of Celiac Disease to Crohn’s Disease. She was sent home on a steroidal regiment. Before we could follow up with the GI issues, we found ourselves back in the hospital, where they refused to do imaging and her bowel ruptured right there in front of them. But again she was sent home after the pain meds she was on quieted things down. I brought her back the very next day after begging a hospitalist we hit off with to grease the wheels a little. The result was emergency surgery and an ileostomy. Three days later, after narrowly surviving the rupture and sepsis, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. A week later, as her pleural tissues filled with fluid, and they determined the cancer to be at Stage 4. The last 5 months had been a breakneck race against a clock we couldn’t see. She endured 4 rounds of chemo, a pericardial effusion that she was again sent home with to die, and finally, her lungs began filling with fluid. On Tuesday last week, she came home on hospice; she died that Saturday night.

The longer history of this is filled with misdiagnosis, marginalization, even accusations of attempting to fraudulently obtain opioids. The local hospital corporation, the Veterans’ Administration (VA), all the affiliated specialists – they all guessed and missed. This is an all-too-common story. Cancer is nearly epidemic in our country; patients get passed around and dumped here and there, and diagnoses are rarely found before their deaths. My wife, Amanda, leaves behind two young children and a distraught husband. Her life thus far was rife with struggle and abuse; we had only a short time together for that to abate before she died in the most horrific manner I’ve ever witnessed. It has to stop.

Many investors have sniffed at the idea of breakaway nations, never quite biting in. But I believe it is now critical. The system of cronyism and lobbying that retards advancement and availability of medical science will not be remedied in this or any other nation. We must do it ourselves. My wife died because of this system. Her cancer was not a mutation of her own genes, nor inherited. It was most likely environmental, and most likely caused by the contaminated water on the bases where she was stationed. There will never be enough accountability to atone for this. We are soaked in contaminants we don’t understand and can’t remove from our daily lives. It’s time to take what we do know and start over.

Jeff Bezos recently expressed interest in seastead nations. Imagine if we could have the likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and others backing a transhumanist colony? What opportunity for human advancement we would have! The good people at Blue Frontiers are doing their best, but they need more backing and interest. We need a more solid plan; we can’t simply say what we will do; we must show and sell. It’s not enough to simply say “solar”, “materials science”, “sapioponics”; we have to design it and sell the design, down to the last bolt. And we need to sell it to the men who currently captain our industry, make it appealing and beneficial to them as well. Our wants are simple: freedom – the freedom to live without disease or fear in any form we choose, the freedom to never know hunger or disparity, the freedom to explore each of our individual potentials. But we will not have this freedom in America. Freedom here is truly an illusion.

To borrow heavily from greater minds than mine, we of good conscience cannot abide this culture of blinders and muzzles. We can do better and we must. Should great minds like Elon Musk, Bezos, Sir Branson, Ray Kurzweil, and so on come together and help become the architects of the future, we may yet survive the filthy politics of our current condition. I fear that no matter the achievement, it will be boxed up and slow-rolled for as long as politically possible. We can speculate forever the motivations of our various political parties as to why we are so far behind when we know how to be so far ahead; I do not intend to argue these points anymore. Instead, we must ignore the Luddites and move ahead on our own in the hopes that, through our example, the rest of humanity will eventually follow.

The meat of it is that we must acquire sufficient land and sovereignty to live as we wish, invite the industry and economy that we choose to utilize, and encourage the availability of advancements that are necessary to transcend this mortality and banality. We require financiers, captains of industry who want this future as much as we do, a nation attractive to the sciences and technology that we need in our endeavor, UN representation to protect our sovereignty as we pursue our human birthright, and a well thought-out design ethic to ensure no individual is encroached up on by another. We must not only design our nation, but the very infrastructure with purposeful intent.

To put the finest point on it that I can, I submit the following as the most humble beginning of a Transhumanist Nation:

  • A carefully laid-out infrastructure and topography conducive to peaceful coexistence among the population. One idea is a city-center of commerce and industry, surrounded by suburbs for families and recreation, and outskirt establishments for research and development.
  • The layout would prevent the tendencies for crime and predation that emerge when humans are forced to live in close quarters and congestion. Tunnel systems, electric vehicles, solar and other alternative energies, new forms of currency and trade, methods of education will all be prototyped and heavily utilized as a proof of concept for the rest of the world. The stress of daily living can be mitigated further with the adoption of universal basic income, uninfringed property rights, and universal, state-of-the-art medical-care access.
  • The presence of Amazon, Tesla, Neuralink, Virgin, and Google and all their various useful subsidiaries as our primary industry and commerce. This would serve as an enticement for the funding necessary to establish a new nation, no doubt purchased from another nation that may be willing to benefit from the vast technological advancement of a Transhumanist Society. The sponsoring corporations will be free to innovate and advance so long as doing so is in line with Transhumanist ideals and sensibilities.
  • Recruitment of Researchers and Medical Professionals germane to our intent and ideals.
  • Recruitment of Scholars and Philosophers, Artists and Artisans, Educators, and anyone else who believes that we can be more than the sum of our parts.

We need to achieve a society driven by life and betterment, not this crippling stagnation that sees millions die as the pace is slowed to one comfortable for limited minds and ambitions. Again, I cite Blue Frontiers as a group actively trying for this; I suggest we back them vigorously and attempt to build a purposeful society as soon as possible.

The United States Transhumanist Party has already brilliantly laid out the groundwork for this society in its Transhumanist Bill of Rights and Party Platform. We have the foundation of a great nation in our hands, but the status quo will never allow it. Power, such as it is, is too seductive a drug. Were we to gather our resources, both financial and human, I believe we could engineer a new, greater society of free minds and exchange, one where our coming Singularity propels us to heights we can only imagine. But we must come together. My wife was only 34 years old at the time of her death – a young mother, a veteran, a brilliant mind. As a paid intern, she coauthored a USGS study regarding asteroid mining, because she did the math for the researchers – a feat that required her to learn chemistry and new physics on the fly, all while finishing her own degree work. And now she is gone – just like that.

No More.

Let us begin now. Let us come together and create an opportunity, rather than wait for it to present itself. With the deepest respect to this party and its leadership, I believe that we are wasting our precious time attempting to participate in the American political system. I propose we open discussions with Blue Frontiers, Amazon, Virgin, Tesla, and other innovative organizations and begin the process – before more lives are lost.

C. H. Antony is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. He may be contacted here