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The Need for an Architect – Article by C. H. Antony

The Need for an Architect – Article by C. H. Antony

 

logo_bgC. H. Antony


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this perspective from one of our members, Mr. C. H. Antony, as a way of motivating discussion about possibilities for effectively spreading transhumanist ideas with a significant impact on contemporary culture and politics.

 ~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, May 10, 2018


Orphan Tech

As a high-school student, I filled my free periods with Architectural Drafting classes. In retrospect, I believe it was the aspect of structured creativity that I found most attractive, indeed, comforting. Here was a way of expressing unique visions of domiciles and utilitarian structures that challenged me to use my imagination applied within a set of established rules; if I wanted to stretch the limits of a design, I had to justify it within the tolerances of the materials used. I would have to be mindful of construction techniques and building codes if I ever wanted to see a schematic make it to the modeling phase of the class. As a result, I was introduced to some surface knowledge of materials sciences, construction, geometry, physics, electrical theory, and so on. But, most importantly, it molded my mind in such a way that I approach all things with the baseline assumption that there are a multitude of variables that influence all things. That you can’t simply analyze a painting on the grounds of colors, canvas, and light. One must also consider the chemistry of paint (e.g. oil, egg tempera, etc.), the medium on which it is painted, the brushes, the cultural context of the artist, ad infinitum. Indeed, imagining all the variables and eliminating them can be as entertaining and transformative as the artist’s work. I say we need to assume a similar attitude as we approach the inevitable convergence of technological and sociopolitical evolution we are collectively calling The Singularity.

It’s pretty clear that there are more technologies than there are applications now. We create seemingly supernatural metamaterials, then study their properties, then figure out where we can apply them. In previous decades, the technology often followed a need. The wheel, the cart, the locomotive, the internal combustion engine, rocket propulsion, jet propulsion, all came along in response to a specific need to convey resources from one place to another. Today, we have fields of research that grew from no particular need at all, save for our insatiable curiosity, in which we now are scrambling to find relevant and marketable applications. Still being a market-driven culture, without a product in which to incorporate these groundbreaking technologies, they die in the womb, no matter how remarkable.

We need a team or committee that can intelligently gather up these technologies in order to advance them toward a specific project goal. It will take more than simply musing about a “metabrain” and offering imaginative graphics of how it could be used by future humans. We need to actually design something! Elon Musk, the man warning us of dangerous AI, rightly so, has an actual plan; the Neuralink project. And I think we can all agree that something like that has nothing to do with the latest gaming platform or smart toaster, and everything to do with the technology that could significantly enhance human intelligence and help get us out ahead of AI.

Often times the developers of these amazing technologies will justify them as applicable to new smartphones or medical devices, almost deliberately avoiding their potential for human enhancement. I suspect that this is because they fear losing project funding. And, again, right they should. Dreamers are feared in business, much as we’d like to think otherwise.

The recent break-through meta-lense that functions similarly to the human iris, but can resolve distance, perspective, parallax, and color shift all at once and magnify sight profoundly, is being applied for integrated camera systems. What a tragedy… Imagine, sliding a meta-lense into the human eye as we do for replacement artificial lenses now, and enhancing our vision beyond anything man has viewed with the healthiest natural eye! Instead of openly discussing this amazing possibility and striving for it, they hope to sell it to Apple for the next generation of selfie-takers.

The Genetics industry has brought us CRISPR/Cas9, MITI, and all the other amazing things above my education. As our ability to run advanced computer models grows less fallible, these techniques could be the very tools that could create a flawless human genome that could be naturally immune to most disease and degeneration, but instead we will lose precious time as scientists are forced to sing for their supper to an audience that is more likely to shelve the technology for fear of losing the vast income of pharmaceutical treatment for indefinite periods of time.

Building a Better World

The list of amazing new science goes on and on, but I fear many of them will miss their mark due to the influence of big industries. A well-organized, funded, and mission-directed committee that is constantly monitoring and ready to save these technologies from their ultimately inglorious applications is essential to realizing the goals of radical life extension (if not true immortality), cognitive and physical enhancement, and cessation of suffering. We also need to be prepared for creating a new form of civilization in which to flourish as enhanced Human 2.0.

It has been often postulated that when one takes the total annual GDP of the United States, adds it with a low and competitive corporate tax, deletes all individual and small-business tax income, then strips down the federal spending, that a Universal Basic Income can be given to all American citizens, without having taken it from the highest earners, thus avoiding the moral pitfalls of wealth redistribution or Socialism. To put a finer point on it, if all entitlement programs and social security programs were stripped away, if five intelligence agencies with individual budgets were wisely consolidated and reorganized into one agency, if the IRS were automated and only employed a few dozen people to maintain the system and analyze for errors, and so on with all aspects of government, there would be likely enough to provide that basic income and top-shelf healthcare to every American citizen. I would ask that far more educated people than I examine these economic hypotheticals. We need a specific and easily conveyable plan to take what we have and make it better. Then the United States could lead the rest of the world by example, not direct influence.

One could argue that after over a century of bending our constitutional position on federal taxes, that we are due a return on our investment. That is where the social engineering speculated on above will come into play. When calculating a reasonable UBI, we should be taking into account that it may be that a generation of workers, those laboring at jobs they dislike, may stop working altogether. Those who have created meaningful careers for themselves will have the freedom to either stay where they are and continue to advance or take the risk of trying other applications for their expertise. But those who are merely working for survival, or the value of a needed benefits package, may need time to explore something more meaningful from the ground up – or not at all. And that will be their choice. But we cannot predict what impact a society free of death, disease, debt, and destitution will have on the sociopolitical future of the United States. I choose to believe that, in the long run, it will make it nearly impossible for future bureaucrats to benefit from miscarriages of their duties. A truly free society won’t tolerate it.

However, the entrenchment of the current establishment is vicious and violent. I won’t go out into the weeds of conspiracy, but I think it can be agreed that we have good reason to fear the tactics of those who would retain their power. As such, the aforementioned plan would need to be made as public as possible. That way, the citizenry as a whole has an opportunity to examine it and freely decide their position on it before it can be spun out of context and meaning. It would enable a discourse that would not only advance our ideas, but enable new ideas and means of implementation to bubble to the surface. It must be done from both the grass-roots level, and from the upper branches. We will need figures with the means and resources to swat down the many scandals that will be heaved in their directions, the false narratives, and manufactured evidence. We’ll need legal teams, private investigators, media specialists, and meticulous care to combat these easily recognizable, yet devastatingly effective, tactics. It will be a fight.

I should explain that I am a proud American. I stand for the ideals of our founding fathers in that the freedom of the individual is paramount. I believe that a representative republic, when not corrupted, is the best form of government we, as human beings, can establish so long as we are in need of a government at all. While I believe that we as a species will ultimately outgrow such things, for now, in our formative years, it is a necessary evil. That is why it is our duty to retain control over it, not relinquish it. I believe it is time to evolve our country into something the world will want to emulate. Our core principles and our Constitution are perfectly adequate, but the endless “interpretations” of them have led to no end of judicial misconduct and entrapment. At no time, I believe, has the will of the people truly and consistently been applied since before the Civil War. With the societal and personal benefits attainable by the U.S. Transhumanist Party, we have an opportunity to return reason and liberty to American politics, to eliminate poverty, disease, and tragedy. We have the ability to change, not only the American experience, but to encourage the change of all of humanity for the extreme betterment of the species. I believe that the founding fathers would have agreed if placed in our modern contexts.

The Perfect Organism

I would argue that we need a product to sell, distasteful as that may sound. Natasha Vita-More has done a wonderful job of illustrating an idealized form, but I respectfully disagree with her lack of explanation of specific applied technologies. In today’s world, driven by millennial consumers, specs count. When a ten-year-old child begs their parent for a smartphone, they will often blend the processing speed, refresh rate, and connectability in with the fact that Sarah’s or Johnny’s parent got them one a month ago. While the child might not completely understand the value of the specifications they are repeating, the behavior of absorbing and comparing specifications from product to product is already ingrained. For this reason, I am reiterating my previous statement that we must develop a plan of approach that clearly delineates the desired technologies, reasonable expectation of cost and time to achieve, and the benefits of the product. Without more tangibility in our proposed future, we’ll never gain the public support for it.

I propose that we create the Human 2.0 in full concept with all the detailed features and the applied sciences necessary to execute it. It must reflect the potentials of current technology, retain enough of the biological self to allow mankind time to grow out of it on it’s own, ensure safety and system security, and fundamentally enhance not only the body, but the mind and experience of the individual. It will require the conversation and debate necessary to agree on a platform that substantially advances the human condition, lays the groundwork for the future expression of individualism and self beyond the original design.

I can only speak for myself, but I for one would prefer a stepped process toward the end of biological man. I believe a measure of maturity is still required and can’t be obtained by the addition of software to wetware. If we do not grow out of our childish ways, I fear we will only carry them with us into a potentially limitless existence with few or no consequences. We need time. But the coming Singularity may not afford us enough time. That, too, is a discussion that must be had – but not here.

Selling the Future

I have previously expressed my call for organizing Transhumanism into something the general public can understand and choose for themselves, or not. That will require a measure of showmanship. I’m not suggesting making dubious claims or using trickery, but there is an art to selling complicated concepts to the lay-public while remaining honest. Such individuals most easily recognizable today are industry leaders like Elon Musk, Natasha Vita-More, Jeff Bezos, Ray Kurzweil, and so on. We must also take care to avoid further marginalization as “fringe”. All that said, let us explore the Sale of Transhumanism:

Example: Genetic Product X will eliminate cell-division errors, allow your healthy cells to infinitely produce telomerase, and never create a cancer cell. You will lose all predispositions to all known degenerative diseases. Heart cells and liver cells will divide the same way as all your other healthy cells. These incredibly over-simplified features alone could end the aging process and death entirely. But, wait! there’s more; these advanced nanocytes will repair any damage caused to your cells by environmental aggressors. They’ll carry more oxygen and remove more CO2 than the rest of your natural hemoglobin. They can deliver medications precisely where needed! With easy firmware updates, they’ll physically destroy pathogens of all kinds if your genetically advanced immune system somehow misses them. And if you call now, we’ll tell you how these amazing advancements will pave the way to increasing your IQ exponentially as you are instantly linked to the total sum of human knowledge. The first million callers will receive sensory enhancements at no additional charge! And so on.

I know how ghastly that sounds. It disgusts me as well. But as ugly as it is, we should always bear in mind that that is precisely the culture we are trying to outgrow. Pretending it doesn’t exist will cause it to lay hidden in the grass, like a viper, waiting to strike at us when we accidentally step on its tail. The right people actively promoting the concept of advancing humanity will make all the difference in how well it is adopted. And I don’t speak only of acceptance; this is a concept that needs to be reconciled with the current state of human nature. It must be attainable by the average-income individual, it must be a free choice, it must not be a threat to the individual sense of self or freedom of thought. And this must be learned by way of vigorous debate centered around the ‘how’ and ‘when’, not the ‘if’. When properly packaged with well-presented and modeled societal changes, we could carefully usher our citizens away from the deceptive and divisive politics of the current system, and into a new age of reason that respects spirituality in all its forms, but is not at the mercy of it.

As I look over the party now, I see a lot of great ideas, a well-thought-out platform, and a constitution that seems to offer a much better life for all than this existential mud-trap we’ve been spinning our wheel in. But it doesn’t have a good spokesman. What it lacks is a face for Transhumanism, a person intelligent enough to fully grasp all the concepts and has the ability to debate them, has the talent for conveying complicated concepts to the layperson, without condescending, that endeared Carl Sagan to those of us lucky enough to have grown up with the original Cosmos series, and is comfortable within the media environment to remain sincere and perform as comfortably in front of a camera as they would in private.

Hope

Ultimately, the Transhumanist Party must convey sincere hope. Anyone who has ever suffered a midlife crisis can attest the overwhelming sense of loss and hopelessness that accompanies it. Loss of one’s youth and potential is the most potent reminder of mortality. Sometimes, we experience the crisis multiple times and long before our hopeful midlife mark. I’ll take this moment to speak of myself, and only for myself.

I grew up rather poor, and with much of the ire that comes with that. I have starved, I have been cold and miserable, I have been marginalized. I have lost a really good job because my five-hundred-dollar car broke down before I had made enough at that job to afford to fix it. There was no bus I could take, nor could I afford the cab fare. So I sucked it up, swallowed the humiliation, and tried to find another job. I’ve even worked four of them at a time. I didn’t get to go to college. At the time, the amount of job-hours necessary to keep an apartment, an extremely modest means of conveyance, and the required insurances, meant that time wasn’t available. So I worked harder, gained a broader skill set, and, over time, got better job opportunities. As a result, I spent all those years one usually does amassing memories of fun summers with friends working my tail off to improve my station in life. I’ve done all right, but not so far as the stress of each paycheck and the pockets it ends up in doesn’t haunt me. I’m riddled with anxiety and stress-induced chest pains, and most sadly, the crushing realization that I missed so much joy and discovery toiling away my youth in hopes of never despairing of a cold night or empty stomach again.

I’ve always loved Star Trek. I love science fiction in general, but Star Trek in particular. I have a favorite spin-off, Deep Space Nine, but I truly love them all. Gene Roddenberry’s future for humanity was both inspiring and believable when one was interested enough to put together all the fictional historical points that led us to the stars: high hopes for perfecting the species, the resulting war, and the hard lessons learned along the way. It took half a century after the human race was decimated by its own hand to raise itself up and take the fateful step that brought us to the attention of other life in the great Out There. From that point on, it took only another century to clean up the environment, eliminate poverty and disease, and build our first ships to travel beyond our solar system. I’m afraid we simply don’t have that kind of time to grow up, not with the rate at which our technology is advancing, and our enlightenment seems to be retarding. But, nevertheless, I often wished that I might fall asleep one night and wake up on the Promenade of DS9, with no bills and no demands on my labor, so that I might pursue at my own pace something I could be passionate about.

As a man, I have studied history with a far less biased perspective than that of a young man’s dreams, grown to understand the Master/Slave Morality proposed by Nietzsche, understand the dance of control and deception that now embodies American politics. Transhumanism as a movement means hope for stripping away all the waste and corruption of our current system, while preserving principles of individual freedom, the right of self-manifestation, a government in service of its people, and the preservation of liberty.

I find this current trend of using social media and mainstream media to shame individuals into accepting the group-think of a few outraged individuals nauseating. It is no less discriminatory to ruin a person’s livelihood and reputation for having a different outlook than another, or on the basis of an accusation without evidence, than to deny a person service in one’s establishment on the grounds of that outlook. It is morally on the level of terrorism and extortion. Yet, this is the level of maturity and decency that we have reached as a result of the interconnectedness that our modern world allows for. I’m not denouncing technology, or social evolution. I’m pointing out how viciously we’ve applied it. This viciousness will continue unless we move back toward a society of personal accountability, while moving toward a society that transcends today’s prevalent pettiness. The safe-zones, public shaming, social justice, whitewashing, and hypocrisy of the liberal society is frighteningly Orwellian, and most of the practitioners of these behaviors are too ignorant to realize it. Likewise, conservatism has lost all compassion and is polluted by religious doctrine and cronyism as badly as the liberal side of the coin. Libertarians seem dangerously naive of how other countries might not be as innately friendly as they are now, if we were to suddenly pull back our military might. So, the emergence of a political party that calls for rational discussion and governance, financial freedom, and unabashed pursuit of infinite life and health is a shining beacon of hope for one who has been deceived and disenfranchised by the two-party system, only occasionally tickled by a third or fourth upstart.

Unless we present the public with facts and steps toward this future, in a manner that carefully points out the lies they’ve lived on, we have no chance of ever seeing a human future that transcends the current stagnation. AI will become a weapon, instead of a partner, and we will wipe ourselves out. We will wallow in this carefully concealed slavery while the machinations we’ve created bring us our end.

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

Beginners’ Explanation of Transhumanism – Bobby Ridge and Gennady Stolyarov II

Beginners’ Explanation of Transhumanism – Bobby Ridge and Gennady Stolyarov II

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Bobby Ridge
Gennady Stolyarov II


Bobby Ridge, Secretary-Treasurer of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, and Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, provide a broad “big-picture” overview of transhumanism and major ongoing and future developments in emerging technologies that present the potential to revolutionize the human condition and resolve the age-old perils and limitations that have plagued humankind.

This is a beginners’ overview of transhumanism – which means that it is for everyone, including those who are new to transhumanism and the life-extension movement, as well as those who have been involved in it for many years – since, when it comes to dramatically expanding human longevity and potential, we are all beginners at the beginning of what could be our species’ next great era.

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside.

See Mr. Stolyarov’s presentation, “The U.S. Transhumanist Party: Pursuing a Peaceful Political Revolution for Longevity“.

In the background of some of the video segments is a painting now owned by Mr. Stolyarov, from “The Singularity is Here” series by artist Leah Montalto.

Boosting Bone Healing Using a Key Protein – Article by Steve Hill

Boosting Bone Healing Using a Key Protein – Article by Steve Hill

Steve Hill


Editor’s Note: In this article, Mr. Steve Hill highlights research on selective bone regeneration using a protein called Jagged-1. This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                   ~ Kenneth Alum, Director of  Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, March 7, 2018

Today, we would like to highlight a recent study in which researchers show a way to selectively accelerate bone regeneration. They have achieved this by delivering Jagged-1 to injuries instead of the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) that have been traditionally used.

What is Jagged-1?

Jagged-1 is an osteoinductive protein that activates the Notch signaling pathway, which regulates bone healing at the site of injury. Osteoinduction is the process by which osteogenesis is induced.

Osteoinduction involves recruiting immature cells and stimulating them to change into preosteoblasts. In a bone healing situation, such as during a fracture, the majority of bone healing depends on osteoinduction.

The new technique avoids the issues of inappropriate or excessive bone growth because, unlike BMPs, it targets osteoinductive mechanisms that are more directly associated with the regenerative process.

Testing their hypothesis

The researchers led by Kurt Hankenson, D.V.M., Ph.D., a professor of orthopedic surgery at Michigan Medicine, hypothesized for some years that by binding Jagged-1 to a biomaterial structure and delivering it to the site of injury, it could improve healing of the bone.

The published study results confirm this to be the case [1]. Mice and rats that were given Jagged-1, applied using a wet collagen sponge, saw improvements to both femoral and skull injuries. In contrast, the rodents treated with BMPs benefited but also experienced problematic bone hypertrophy, which is also observed in humans using BMPs.

The findings of this study suggest that the use of Jagged-1 for location-specific bone injury could potentially be developed into a therapy to help people recover from fractures and broken bones.

Conclusion

The use of signal molecules rather than drugs to encourage tissue regeneration is likely to increase in popularity in the coming years as the process becomes increasingly refined. This study is yet another example of how researchers are exploring the use of signalling molecules produced naturally in the body as an alternative to drug approaches, which can often have unwanted side effects. It should prove interesting to see how this approach develops in the next few years.

Literature

[1] Youngstrom, D. W., Senos, R., Zondervan, R. L., Brodeur, J. D., Lints, A. R., Young, D. R., … & Loomes, K. M. (2017). Intraoperative delivery of the Notch ligand Jagged-1 regenerates appendicular and craniofacial bone defects. NPJ Regenerative medicine, 2(1), 32.

About  Steve Hill

As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity technologies, Steve has provided the community with multiple educational articles, interviews and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity reporter, Psychology Today and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book “Aging Prevention for All” – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

Gene Cocktail Helps Hearts to Regenerate – Article by Steve Hill

Gene Cocktail Helps Hearts to Regenerate – Article by Steve Hill

Steve Hill


Editor’s Note: In this article, Steve Hill explains a technique that enables significant human tissue regeneration, so that it becomes possible to repair damaged human hearts. This technique can also be potentially applied to other body organs.  This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                   ~ Kenneth Alum, Director of  Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, March 4, 2018

The human heart is an organ whose cells rarely divide, making tissue repair and regeneration a huge problem following a heart attack. Many animals, such as zebrafish and salamanders, are different; they can regenerate damaged hearts easily.

As humans, we also once had the same regenerative capacity during our early development, but after we were born, we lost this ability. This is also true for many other organs, including the brain, spinal cord, and pancreas. The cells in these tissues divide very rarely if at all, and this is a big problem. But, what if we could get that regenerative ability back and repair damage to our hearts the way these amazing animals do?

Researchers have been trying for decades to find out how we can enjoy the same tissue regeneration, but they have met with limited success—until now.

Unlocking cell division in cardiomyocytes

A research team led by Dr. Deepak Srivastava, president of the Gladstone Institutes, has finally achieved this long sought-after goal in a study published in the journal Cell [1]. The researchers have developed an efficient and reliable way of making non-dividing adult cardiomyocytes divide so that they can repair damaged hearts.

They identified four genes that regulate cell division in adult cardiomyocytes. When all four of them are combined together, they cause the cardiomyocytes to re-enter the cell cycle and start dividing quickly. They also demonstrated that following heart failure, these combined genes improve cardiac function significantly.

The researchers tested the technique in animal models using cardiomyocytes derived from human stem cells. They stained newly divided cells with a special dye in order to track them; they found that between 15 to 20 percent of the cells divided and remained alive thanks to the four-gene combo. This is a vast improvement on previous studies, which have only managed around 1 percent cell division in adult cardiomyocytes.

The team also made the technique simpler by identifying drugs that could replace two of the four genes involved in the combination. This still produced the same result as using all four genes and is significantly easier, logistically speaking.

Could be used in multiple tissues

As mentioned, the heart is not the only tissue that has cells that either do not divide or do so very slowly. The researchers believe that their technique could also potentially be applied to encourage other tissues and organs to regenerate. This is because the four genes are not unique to the heart and are found in other cells around the body.

If science can unlock the same regeneration in nerve cells, pancreatic cells, and retinal cells, this could be the basis of therapies for heart failure, brain damage, diabetes, blindness, and many other conditions. The good news is these four genes encourage cell division the same way in mice, rats, and human cells.

Conclusion

Manipulating non-dividing cells and returning them to the cell cycle to boost regeneration in organs and tissues holds great potential. Scientists have been working for decades to achieve this in the heart, and now it has been achieved. The next big step is to translate this approach to humans, and we wish them the very best in their future research.

Literature

[1] Mohamed, T. M., Ang, Y. S., Radzinsky, E., Zhou, P., Huang, Y., Elfenbein, A., … & Srivastava, D. (2017). Regulation of Cell Cycle to Stimulate Adult Cardiomyocyte Proliferation and Cardiac Regeneration.

About  Steve Hill

As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity technologies Steve has provided the community with multiple educational articles, interviews and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity reporter, Psychology Today and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book “Aging Prevention for All” – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Institute of Exponential Sciences Discussion Panel on Cryptocurrencies

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Institute of Exponential Sciences Discussion Panel on Cryptocurrencies

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Gennady Stolyarov II
Demian Zivkovic
Chantha Lueung
Laurens Wes
Moritz Bierling


On Sunday, February 18, 2018, the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Institute of Exponential Sciences hosted an expert discussion panel on how cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based technologies will possibly affect future economies and everyday life. Panelists were asked about their views regarding what is the most significant promise of cryptocurrencies, as well as what are the most significant current obstacles to its realization.

Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, and Demian Zivkovic, President of the Institute of Exponential Sciences, are the moderators for this panel.

Panelists

Moritz Bierling

Moritz Bierling, in his work for Exosphere Academy – a learning and problem-solving community – has organized a Space Elevator bootcamp, an Artificial Intelligence conference, and an Ethereum training course while also authoring a Primer on the emerging discipline of Alternate Reality Design. As Blockchain Reporter for the Berlin blockchain startup Neufund, he has educated the city’s Venture Capital and startup scene, as well as the broader public on the applications of this groundbreaking technology. His work has appeared in a number of blockchain-related and libertarian media outlets such as CoinTelegraph, The Freeman’s Perspective, Bitcoin.com, and the School Sucks Project. See his website at MoritzBierling.com.

Chantha Lueung

Chantha Lueung is the creator of Crypto-city.com, which is a social-media website focused on building the future world of cryptocurrencies by connecting crypto-enthusiasts and the general public about cryptocurrencies. He is a full-time trader and also participates in the HyperStake coin project, which is a Bitcoin alternative that uses the very energy-efficient Proof of Stake protocol, also known as POS.

Laurens Wes

Laurens Wes is a Dutch engineer and chief engineering officer at the Institute of Exponential Sciences. Furthermore he is the owner of Intrifix, a company focused on custom 3D-printed products and software solutions. He has also studied Artificial Intelligence and is very interested in transhumanism, longevity, entrepreneurship, cryptocurrencies/blockchain technology, and art (and a lot more). He is a regular speaker for the IES and is very committed to educating the public on accelerated technological developments and exponential sciences.

The YouTube question/comment chat for this Q&A session has been archived here and is also provided below.

Visit the U.S. Transhumanist Party Facebook page here.

See the U.S. Transhumanist Party FAQ here.

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside.

Become a Foreign Ambassador for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

References

 

Chat Log from the Discussion Panel on Cryptocurrencies of February 18, 2018

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The Abolition of Aging – A Book Review – Article by Nicola Bagalà

The Abolition of Aging – A Book Review – Article by Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà


Editor’s Note: In this article, Mr. Nicola Bagalà provides a book review of the book The Abolition of Aging by David Wood, a book which explains in great detail the benefits that would derive from a successful implementation of the “rejuveneering project”.  This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                   ~ Kenneth Alum, Director of  Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, February 13, 2018

As you might recall, in my review of Ending Aging, I said that the book could have benefited from a more in-depth discussion of the benefits of rejuvenation as well as the concerns and objections often raised against it. Anyone else sharing the same feeling will find what they’re looking for in The Abolition of Aging, by Chair of London Futurists David Wood.

Written in an elegant, clear style, The Abolition of Aging brilliantly accomplishes the difficult task of guiding the reader through all the turns and twists of the topic, explaining in great detail the benefits that would derive from a successful implementation of the “rejuveneering project”—as Wood calls it—presenting all the typical objections and related counterarguments, and—in the words of 3G Doctor Director David Doherty—providing innumerable “stunning references and observations”.

Just like there’s no time to waste if we want to defeat aging in time for currently living people to benefit, Wood wastes no time with lengthy preambles; the very first line of the foreword comes directly to the point, bluntly stating what readers unfamiliar with the topic may find shocking: the possibility of eliminating biological aging is now within striking distance.

Possibly preventing the reader’s reaction, the author immediately gives a preliminary discussion of the traditional responses to his claim: “it’s not possible” and “it’s not desirable”, which Wood ascribes—correctly, in my opinion—in no small part to a great desire to avoid an unpleasant discussion that would force us to reconsider many assumptions on the inevitable finitude of human existence, with which most of us have already made our peace.

To succeed in his task of getting us to snap out of a multi-millenary Stockholm syndrome that pushes humanity to praise the tyranny of old age, Wood resorts to every weapon in his arsenal, making a very convincing case that rejuvenation is very much desirable as well as possible.

Skeptics who assume that the technology necessary to rejuvenate people is centuries away will be surprised to learn about how advanced the field actually is and how much faster it is likely to grow than conventional wisdom would have it. The word of senior scientists who claim that the reversal of aging is nothing but a pipe dream, as Wood warns us, should be taken with a grain of salt: The Abolition of Aging provides plenty of examples of luminaries and eminent experts of the past summarily dismissing scientific theories and technologies that today are well-established and taken for granted by everyone. (Among many such examples, one I really cannot abstain from mentioning is the hilariously wrong 1903 prediction by the New York Times that human flight, if at all possible, would take one to ten million years to come true. Less than 70 years later, not only was human flight commonplace, but human beings had landed on the Moon.)

Nonetheless, Wood’s optimism should not be mistaken for complacency. He makes no mystery that the success of the rejuveneering project is a mere possibility, however likely, and not at all a certainty. Many are the unknowns—scientific, political, societal, financial, and more—that could well thwart our efforts in this direction if we’re not careful. Wood offers advice on how to deal with these issues standing in the way of an aging-free world as well as those that might lurk beyond. After all, the functioning of society as we know it hinges on the existence of aging; our lives, our policies, and our customs are built around it. Eliminating aging would require a serious rethinking of much of society’s inner workings, and this operation is not free of risks, as Wood rightfully concedes. Great changes for the better often come with potential downsides, but we should not let this deter us; rather, we should appreciate how the fruits to be reaped are well worth the potential risks involved and act now to prevent or mitigate any unwanted consequences. A world without aging would need to be managed in a different way, but that is not a problem.

A particular obstacle on the way to a world without aging is represented by adverse psychology, to which Wood dedicates an entire chapter. Ever since we had the ability to reflect upon ourselves and the human condition, as the author explains, we’ve had to face our own mortality and fear of death. Fear of death is a very useful adaptation to increase the chance that an individual will live long enough to reproduce, but in the case of a highly self-aware species like us, it’s a double-edged sword. Our deep desire to express ourselves, to learn, create, grow, to live, inevitably clashes against the knowledge of our apparently inescapable demise.

If left unresolved, this inner conflict could strike terror so paralyzing that living our lives would be impossible. With no hope of defeating an apparently all-powerful enemy such as death, the young human race had to devise other ways out of this conundrum—psychological expedients to sugar the pill or even make it appear better than the alternative; for some, having children, creating art, changing the world through their work and so on may all offer the comforting thought of their legacy, and thus part of themselves, carrying on at least to some extent; believers have faith that their immortal souls will continue existing even after their bodies will have perished; others assume a world without death would, for one reason or another, be so unbearable that oblivion would be preferable.

These mental devices have existed for so long that they’ve shaped our society and our morals; accepting death has become a sign of wisdom while trying to avoid or delay it when “the right time” has come is seen as a sign of immaturity and selfishness. These views are so entrenched in most people that any attempt to question their validity is likely to trigger aggressive defensive reactions or, sometimes, contempt and ridicule. For these reasons, life extension is not an easy idea to sell. In his detailed discussion, though, Wood provides valuable advice to ease the advocates’ task, listing the dos and don’ts of how to present the subject.

Rejuvenation is not all the book deals with. Wood’s futurist soul fully reveals itself in his vision of the futures of humanity, faith, and death, which are discussed in the chapter “Towards Humanity+” as well as in the possibilities outlined in chapter 12, “Radical alternatives”, such as cryonics, head transplants, and mind uploading. While these ideas are often plagued by abundant hype and unjustified premature enthusiasm, I find that Wood simply presented relevant facts as they are, with an appropriate dose of healthy skepticism where needed but without any undue disbelief. Cryonics in particular, which is usually unjustly regarded as a scam to part rich fools from their money, is presented as a valid backup plan for those who don’t expect to live long enough to see the dawn of rejuvenation; just like cryonics companies themselves, Wood makes no mystery that it is uncertain if bringing back to life cryopreserved patients will ever be possible, despite encouraging successes with transplantation of cryopreserved animal organs. Then again, I would add that if the chances of coming back to life from cryopreservation are uncertain, there’s no chance whatsoever of coming back after being buried or cremated.

Summing up, I believe that The Abolition of Aging is a must-read for experienced advocates and newcomers alike. People who haven’t made up their minds about supporting rejuvenation will be fully equipped to make an informed decision after reading this book, or, at the very least, will be able to research the topic further; advocates will have plenty of references and useful information for their advocacy efforts. Together with Ending Aging, this book answers pretty much all the whats, whens, hows, and whys to the best of our current understanding.

About Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà has been an enthusiastic supporter and advocate of rejuvenation science since 2011. Although his preferred approach to treating age related diseases is Aubrey de Grey’s suggested SENS platform, he is very interested in any other potential approach as well. In 2015, he launched the blog Rejuvenaction to advocate for rejuvenation and to answer common concerns that generally come with the prospect of vastly extended healthy lifespans. Originally a mathematician graduated from Helsinki University, his scientific interests range from cosmology to AI, from drawing and writing to music, and he always complains he doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to all of them which is one of the reasons he’s into life extension. He’s also a computer programmer and web developer. All the years spent learning about the science of rejuvenation have sparked his interest in biology, in which he’s planning to get a university degree.

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

Zeb2-NAT Molecule May Reverse Cellular Aging – Article by Nicola Bagalà

Zeb2-NAT Molecule May Reverse Cellular Aging – Article by Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà


Editor’s Note: In this article, Mr. Nicola Bagalà explains a study that shows aged cells that usually resist reprogramming can be regenerated by reducing the level of Zeb2-NAT without harming the cells’ developmental potency.  This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                   ~ Kenneth Alum, Director of  Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, January 28, 2018

Researchers have found that by manipulating a single RNA molecule, they can reverse some aspects of cellular aging and regenerate aged cells.

Old cells resist regeneration

As we grow older, our cells gradually age, leading to the development of various diseases. Therefore, inducing cellular regeneration is one of the approaches that researchers are using to combat the age-related diseases associated with cellular aging. Unfortunately, aged cells are often highly resistant to therapies aimed at inducing regeneration.

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is responsible for the creation of cellular proteins. However, a special type of molecule called non-coding RNA is never made into protein. In fact, when they mapped the human genome in 2001, they discovered that only around 2% of RNA is actually made into proteins.

Now, researchers have found a way to bypass the resistance of aged cells to being regenerated and becoming functionally more youthful.

What the study found out

In a recent Nature Communications paper, a team led by Dr. Bruno Bernardes de Jesus of the Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) João Lobo Antunes in Lisboa discusses a technique that allowed the team to achieve easier cellular reprogramming of old fibroblasts into pluripotent cells [1].

Fibroblasts are connective tissue cells in animals that synthesize both the extracellular matrix, which is a “scaffolding” made up of extracellular molecules that provides structural and biochemical support to cells, and collagen, which is the main structural protein of connective tissues in animal bodies.

The study showed that the fibroblasts of old mice express higher levels of the transcription factor Zeb2. A transcription factor is a protein that regulates the DNA-to-messenger-RNA transcription rate, and Zeb2, in particular, induces epithelial cells to transition to mesenchymal cells. Epithelial cells are one of the four basic tissue types of animal cells, whereas mesenchymal cells are multipotent stem cells that give rise to fibroblasts, among others.

The synthesis of Zeb2 is controlled by the ribonucleic acid Zeb2-NAT (NAT stands for “natural antisense transcript”). What the scientists demonstrated in this paper is that by knocking down Zeb2-NAT in old mouse fibroblasts, Zeb2 can be downregulated significantly, which, in turn, leads to an enhanced fibroblast ability to turn into pluripotent cells rather than mesenchymal cells. The difference is that while mesenchymal cells can turn into only a certain range of related cells, pluripotent stem cells can turn into nearly all types of cells.

The way the researchers silenced Zeb2-NAT was by transfecting the fibroblasts with certain ribonucleic acid sequences—in other words, they introduced these sequences into the fibroblasts’ nuclei to modify their behavior.

Essentially, what they demonstrated is that aged cells that usually resist reprogramming can be regenerated by reducing the level of Zeb2-NAT without harming the cells’ developmental potency.

Conclusion

This study results spotlight the role of non-coding RNA in the fine-tuning and expression of protein-coding genes involved in pluripotency, differentiation, and reprogramming.

This opens the door for the regeneration of aged cells and tissues in an effort to prevent or reverse age-related diseases caused by cellular aging.

Literature

[1] Bernardes de Jesus, B., Pires Marinho, S., Barros, S., Sousa-Franco A., Alves-Vale, C., Carvalho, T., Carmo-Fonseca, M. (2018). Silencing of the lncRNA Zeb2-NAT facilitates reprogramming of aged fibroblasts and safeguards stem cell pluripotency. Nature Communications.

About Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà has been an enthusiastic supporter and advocate of rejuvenation science since 2011. Although his preferred approach to treating age related diseases is Aubrey de Grey’s suggested SENS platform, he is very interested in any other potential approach as well. In 2015, he launched the blog Rejuvenaction to advocate for rejuvenation and to answer common concerns that generally come with the prospect of vastly extended healthy lifespans. Originally a mathematician graduated from Helsinki University, his scientific interests range from cosmology to AI, from drawing and writing to music, and he always complains he doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to all of them which is one of the reasons he’s into life extension. He’s also a computer programmer and web developer. All the years spent learning about the science of rejuvenation have sparked his interest in biology, in which he’s planning to get a university degree.

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

Alzheimer’s Drug Turns Back the Clock in Mitochondria – Article by Steve Hill

Alzheimer’s Drug Turns Back the Clock in Mitochondria – Article by Steve Hill

Steve Hill


Editor’s Note: In this article, Mr. Steve Hill discusses an experimental drug, J147, for treating Alzheimer’s disease and also how Alzheimer’s disease is closely linked to aging.  This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                   ~ Kenneth Alum, Director of  Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, January 26, 2018

J147 is an experimental drug that has been shown to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and it also appears to reverse some aspects of aging. It is also poised to enter human clinical trials in the near future, although how it works has been somewhat of a puzzle.

A new study  published in the journal Aging Cell has changed all that, and the results are quite intriguing [1]. Researchers at the Salk Institute have solved the mystery of how J147 works and why it makes old flies, mice, and cells more youthful.

Rejuvenating mitochondria

The drug apparently works because it binds to a protein found in mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells; this, in turn, causes cells to function in a more youthful manner. Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the hallmarks of aging and is thought to be a key reason why we age and develop age-related diseases [2]. This drug appears, at least partially, to address some of that dysfunction.

Finding the target of J147 was the key to revealing the link between Alzheimer’s disease and the aging process. It was the critical information the researchers needed and was holding the drug back from clinical trials.

Dave Schubert, head of Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, and his team originally developed the J147 drug in 2011. The team screened numerous plant-sourced compounds with the potential to reverse the cellular and molecular signs of aging in the brain. The drug was developed as a modified version of a molecule found in the spice curcumin, a common ingredient in Asian foods such as curry.

Since then, the researchers have shown that J147 can reverse memory deficits, increases the production of brain cells, and slows the progression of Alzheimer’s in mice [3]. However, at that point, they did not understand how J147 worked.

Finding the target

During the new study lead by Dave Schubert and Salk Research Associate Josh Goldberg, the researchers used a number of approaches to find out how J147 worked. They eventually identified that the target of J147 was the mitochondrial protein known as ATP synthase, specifically ATP5A, a subunit of that protein. ATP synthase is involved in the mitochondrial generation of ATP, which cells use for energy.

The researchers demonstrated that by reducing the activity of ATP synthase, they were able to protect neuronal cells from a number of toxicities associated with the aging of the brain. One reason for this neuroprotective effect is thought to be the role of excitotoxicity in neuronal cell damage.

Excitotoxicity is the pathological process by which neurons are damaged and killed by the overactivation of receptors for the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Think of it being a bit like a light switch being turned on and off so rapidly that it ends up causing the light bulb to blow.

Recently, the role of ATP synthase inhibition for neuroprotection against excitotoxic damage was demonstrated in a mouse study [4]. The second study showed that mouse models expressing the human form of mutant ATPase inhibitory factor 1 (hIF1), which causes a sustained inhibition of ATP synthase, were more resilient to neuronal death after excitotoxic damage. This data is consistent with this new J147 study, in which an increase in IF1 in the mice reduced the activity of ATP synthase (specifically ATP5A) and was neuroprotective.

ATP synthase is implicated in aging

ATP synthase has previously been shown to influence aging in C. elegans worms and flies. Given that aging is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, it is no surprise that the target of the drug is also involved in the aging process.

The team also revealed that by modulating the activity of ATP synthase, they could influence the levels of ATP and other molecules and were able to encourage healthier, more stable mitochondria during aging. Mice given the compound showed profound changes, appearing to look younger at a cellular and molecular level.

The researchers believe that these results are not only encouraging for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, they suggest that J147 may also be useful in treating other age-related diseases.

“People have always thought that you need separate drugs for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke,” said Dave Schubert. “But it may be that by targeting aging we can treat or slow down many pathological conditions that are old-age-associated.”

With J147 having just completed the FDA required toxicology testing in animals, the next step is phase 1 human clinical trials, and the road to approval begins.

Conclusion

It is very heartening to hear important researchers suggesting that in order to treat age-related diseases, one needs to treat the aging processes themselves. This is the exactly what Dr. Aubrey de Grey and others have been saying for many years. It is good to hear more voices joining the call to tackle age-related diseases at their root: the hallmarks and damages where they all begin.

The process of age-related disease begins long before the familiar signs and diagnoses are made; by targeting the early processes that are not given specific disease names, we might yet defeat horrific diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, which rob us of who we are.

Literature

[1] Joshua Goldberg et al. The mitochondrial ATP synthase is a shared drug target for aging and dementia. Aging Cell, 2018 DOI: 10.1111/acel.12715
[2] López-Otín, C., Blasco, M. A., Partridge, L., Serrano, M., & Kroemer, G. (2013). The hallmarks of aging. Cell, 153(6), 1194-1217.
[3] Prior, M., Dargusch, R., Ehren, J. L., Chiruta, C., & Schubert, D. (2013). The neurotrophic compound J147 reverses cognitive impairment in aged Alzheimer’s disease mice. Alzheimer’s research & therapy, 5(3), 25.
[4] Formentini, L., Pereira, M. P., Sánchez‐Cenizo, L., Santacatterina, F., Lucas, J. J., Navarro, C., … & Cuezva, J. M. (2014). In vivo inhibition of the mitochondrial H+‐ATP synthase in neurons promotes metabolic preconditioning. The EMBO journal, 33(7), 762-778.

About Steve Hill

As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity technologies Steve has provided the community with multiple educational articles, interviews and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity reporter, Psychology Today and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book “Aging Prevention for All” – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

Concrete Transhumanism – An Overview of Emerging Instantiations and the Transhuman Present Project

Concrete Transhumanism – An Overview of Emerging Instantiations and the Transhuman Present Project

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Gennady Stolyarov II


Note: This post was also published on Steemit, where Mr. Stolyarov publishes under an account with the username gstolyarovii.

Transhumanism is a philosophy of lofty aspirations and universally applicable substance. Yet, when articulated at its usual level of abstraction, it is often misunderstood, especially if commonplace cultural connotations, myths, and fears from popular fiction inject nefarious undertones into what ought to be seen straightforwardly as a salutary overcoming of (deleterious) human limitations and a dramatic expansion of our potential through the application of science, technology, and rationality. Some accuse transhumanists of being a cabal of Illuminati who somehow secretly run the world. (How is this even possible, I wonder?) Others believe that transhumanists seek to turn humankind into the Borg from Star Trek or to create a dystopia where only a handful of rich Silicon Valley entrepreneurs will live forever at everyone else’s expense. Of course, no transhumanist actually even remotely resembles these stereotypes – and while it would have been quite helpful to have a few more Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as allies, the reality remains that the vast majority of transhumanists, including leaders of the movement, are people of ordinary means and relatively ordinary life situations. Transhumanists as people have much more in common with those who are unaware of, or hold misconceptions regarding, transhumanism than the latter persons think!

So what, then, sets transhumanists apart? Although we are generally people of ordinary means and circumstances, we are also people of extraordinary vision, and we see the world around us as in the midst of technological transformation which not only will have, but is already having, paradigm-shifting effects on everyday life. We are not beholden to status quo bias; we recognize that the present is a transitional state, and that life has not always been like this, nor will it always remain the way it is now.

Until recently, few efforts have been made to illustrate this observation concretely. But dedicated small associations of transhumanists are emerging to show the world what a transhuman present looks like. Through the projects they put into practice, the general public might get a glimpse of a transhuman existence, and in what directions it may head during the coming years and decades.

The Transhuman House and Foundation Library

If today’s technological capabilities were fully integrated into a residence, or even a room inside a residence, what would this look like? The Transhuman House, established in 2017, aims to answer this question. Version 1.0 of the Transhuman House opened to the public in Provo, Utah, in June 2017, even including an option for guests to rent a room via AirBnB.  (See images from a 3D tour of Version 1.0 here.) The Transhuman House contains a showcase of emerging technologies, such as Nest, Alexa, and the Microsoft HoloLens. While observing and interacting with these examples of today’s devices – which either are already available or soon will become available for consumer adoption – visitors have the opportunity to read and study works from the Foundation Library – a wide-ranging collection of philosophical, scientific, technological, and fictional works exploring the ideas of transhumanism as well as visions of potential futures and specific pathways toward bringing those futures into being. In November 2017 the Transhuman House expanded into Version 2.0, moving into a larger (3-bedroom) building and adding touch screens and a giant touch-operable wall panel with which visitors can interact to learn about ongoing projects by transhumanist entrepreneurs and activists. Might most residences ten years in the future look somewhat like the Transhuman House? Now that there is a concrete illustration of what is possible even today, visitors have the opportunity to ponder the question of its wider applicability. The creators of the Transhuman House have given us a glimpse into what everyday life might look like with the emerging “transhuman” technologies more fully integrated into it. Some of these technologies are already available to consumers – so if you would like to create your own partial version of a “Transhuman House”, you may have the opportunity to begin setting up some of the components today.

Zero State – The Alternate Reality Game

The Zero State is a Social Futurist Community – described as “an organization formed in 2011 to work toward the establishment of a pro-technology, Transhumanist, distributed, virtual State. ZS’ motto is ‘Positive Social Change Through Technology’.” As one of the Zero State’s co-founders, Dirk Bruere, explains, the primary meaning of the name “Zero State” is “the lowest energy state of a system, the place to which everything returns when the energy runs out.” The Zero State has had several incarnations, the latest of which is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), whose fictional premise is that the participants are representatives of twelve technologically advanced Houses, which have become the dominant influences in a post-dystopian late 21st century – a new era subsequent to the turmoil that (in this fictional timeline) would characterize the proximate future. The real-world application of the game involves members of the twelve Zero State Houses undertaking projects today which would enable the more salutary aspects of that distant future to take shape. Through the approach of gamification and interesting storylines woven into concrete projects, it is hoped that this format will motivate more people who are interested in the promise of emerging technologies and their societal impacts to take specific actions to realize the kind of world we would wish to see.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party, of which I am the Chairman, recently initiated a collaboration with the Zero State under the auspices of House Rhadamanth. I anticipate that the gamification format will be particularly useful in achieving projects where large numbers of distributed, volunteer participants are required for success. There is a strong potential for synergies between the Zero State and the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Transhuman Present project, announced below.

The Transhuman Present Project

The U.S. Transhumanist Party represents a broad spectrum of members from throughout the world, who consider themselves transhumanists and who have expressed alignment with our three Core 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.

The Transhuman Present project is our next step for reaching out to our members and others who consider themselves transhumanists and inviting them to show us what transhumanism means for them in their own lives. Participation is easy and available in a variety of formats. Here is how to get involved:

  1. Create a post on any social medium with the hashtags #TranshumanPresent and/or #IAmTranshuman. To render us aware of the post, you can either link it to the U.S. Transhumanist Party Facebook page, or e-mail Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II at gennadystolyarovii [at] gmail [dot] com with your submission. Make sure that we are able to download or otherwise access the content of the post.
  2. The post should contain some manner of specific illustration – for instance, a photo, video, drawing, diagram, audio file, or other interactive medium – showing how your life, environment, or aspirations can already be recognized as “transhuman” in terms of incorporating emerging technologies to expand your potential and the potential of those around you. The post may also include artistic elements that express your vision and aspirations for the future – as long as these elements are your original work or specific to your setting. (In other words, we would like to see how individual transhumanists have made their own lives more transhuman – not just reposts of images highlighting the work of famous individuals like Aubrey de Grey, Ray Kurzweil, or Elon Musk.)
  3. The goal of the project is to collect many contributions from a diverse range of transhumanists and to illustrate to the public that the ideals we hold are accessible, capable of integration with ordinary life, and of practical relevance to living in today’s technological era. You are encouraged to use the tools of social media to promote your post and the hashtags #TranshumanPresent and #IAmTranshuman. Consider creative ways of spreading these messages (for instance, integrating the hashtags into videos or taking a photograph of yourself holding a poster beginning with “#IAmTranshuman because…”) The best submissions will focus on answering questions such as the following:
  • a. How are you using technology in ways that greatly broaden your potential compared to what was possible in even the proximate past?
  • b. How does your life look differently now as a result of emerging technologies? In what directions is your life being recognizably transformed?
  • c. What previously insurmountable barriers has technology enabled you to overcome?
  • d. What achievements can you show the world, which were possible due to the role that technology has played in your life?

Contributions to the project are open to the general public, and one does not need to be a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party in order to contribute. However, the U.S. Transhumanist Party reserves the right to curate any submissions and to assemble videos, collages, or other media using the content therein. Furthermore, by making a submission, the content creator grants the U.S. Transhumanist Party and any of its Officers a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive right to use and distribute the content at their discretion, without any further requirement of additional permissions or express or implied compensation.

Because the U.S. Transhumanist Party is an all-volunteer, non-monetary organization, the contributions to the Transhuman Present project will not receive monetary compensation, but they are likely to receive public exposure and may benefit the contributor through increased recognition and inspiration for others to adopt the contributor’s ideas and values toward the realization of a better future.

Contributions to the Transhuman Present project are open until July 1, 2018, at which time the U.S. Transhumanist Party will compile the results into videos, collages, and potentially other media that will show the world the range of transhumanist endeavors and improvements to living standards that are possible today. While we are a young political party, and the road toward winning elections is a long one, we can profoundly influence public opinion much sooner by providing a reputable and appealing vision of what is possible if our principles are put into practice.

Gennady Stolyarov II, FSA, ACAS, MAAA, CPCU, ARe, ARC, API, AIS, AIE, AIAF, is the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. Find out more about Mr. Stolyarov here.

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space – Umberto Boccioni

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space – Umberto Boccioni

Umberto Boccioni


 

The ideas of Transhumanism and post-humanist thought may seem as if they belong to the 21st century, but humans have been capturing such an imagination of the future by means of artistic expression way before they could see the state of technology today.

It was an 1909 when Italian poet F.T. Marinetti laid out the core tenets of the Futurism Movement in his manifesto. Futurism can be seen as one of the points of origin for the beautiful relationship of transhumanism and art. Born out of an era of a growing disdain for the fascist government in Italy and the state of the world at the time, Futurism called upon the prospect of bringing a future of youth, industry, and advancing technology. The Futurist Movement thus gave birth to an era of artists that aimed to capture the essence of a possible future where the lines between technology and human were completely blurred.

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space is a bronze cast sculpture that is heavily regarded as one of the core works that truly represent the aesthetic of the Futurist Movement. It’s creator was Italian artist, Umberto Boccioni. Boccioni was one of the principal figures that shaped the art of Futurism as he advocated the use of dynamic movement and the deconstruction of masses.

In Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Boccioni presents viewers with a human figure with deconstructed masses that appear to be aerodynamic. The figure is engaged in pursuing one direction, almost as if it were its sole purpose; to move forward against the winds of demise. The deconstructed masses and lack of arms, or face for that matter, allows the viewer to perceive something that could be beyond human. It is evident that Boccioni wants us to see our body as nothing but a mere vessel that can be molded and shaped in any way imaginable, allowing us to transcend the boundaries of the physical, organic body. The lack of a discernible face implies that Boccioni believes that we should no longer identify who we are by how we perceive our current physical form. We are not bound by how we look in the mirror.

It is the creative minds like Boccioni that provoke the most profound questions concerning the state of humanity. Art is the very force that propels our human imagination forward. Now that we are nearing the end of 2017, I love looking back at how far we have come as a species despite the abundant setbacks. Art will never cease to encourage the human spirit to move forward because in the end, it is life that imitates art.

Many of the works of Umberto Boccioni and the Futurist Movement can be experienced at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, December 8, 2017