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The Overpopulation Myth – Article by Arin Vahanian

The Overpopulation Myth – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


Of all the objections to life extension, one of the most pernicious is that there are too many people on Earth. Indeed, this objection in particular is rather harmful not just because it appears to advocate for suffering and death, but also because it appears to be a valid objection on a surface level.

Visions of mass starvation, billions of people living in deplorable conditions, and wars over resources, help fuel the popularity of this objection. However fascinating these sorts of overly dramatic, sensational Hollywood scenarios may seem to some people, believing in the inevitability of these scenarios would be ignoring the countless ways that science and technology have allowed us, time and again, to exceed our limitations, improve health outcomes, and create a better environment for humanity to thrive in.

There are many reasons why these dreadful scenarios continue to exist in peoples’ minds. One of the reasons why doomsday thinking has managed to remain a part of our zeitgeist is because the entertainment industry is addicted to it, constantly proliferating nightmarish scenarios of technology being a destructive force hell-bent on the devastation of humanity and the world. A less obvious reason is also because some well-meaning influential people have been fabulously wrong and have continued to double-down on being wrong over the years.

Biologist Paul Ehrlich famously said in 1968 that “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.”

Looking at this statement more than 50 years later, Paul Ehrlich wasn’t just wrong, he was completely wrong. None of his Malthusian predictions even came close to being true. I suppose that supporters of this sort of doomsday thinking will say in response that even though Ehrlich has been wrong for decades, he will one day be right. Even if a broken clock is right twice a day, we shouldn’t base the future of humanity on such faulty thinking. While it is possible for these horrific scenarios to come true, it does not mean that these scenarios are destiny. Humanity has weathered challenges and difficulties en route to coming up with amazing technological and medical innovations that have improved the quality of life for billions of people. And while challenges such as climate change should be taken very seriously, the fact that these challenges exist does not mean that humanity is doomed. It simply means that we need to make adjustments and to utilize science and technology to their fullest in order to resolve these threats.

Further, rather than extrapolate wildly and bring forth doomsday scenarios, we should bring forth data and facts to support our arguments. As I mentioned in a previous article, according to The World Bank and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, the worldwide population growth rate is slowing down and is projected to eventually stabilize and begin falling. Nowhere is this more apparent than in countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, China, Russia, and even the United States, where birth rates are below the 2.1 live births per woman required to just maintain population equilibrium. Additionally, even countries such as India, which used to have a very high birth rate, have seen huge declines in birth rates in recent years. Finally, according to a study published in the Lancet, the global population is expected to peak at 9.73 billion in 2064, before dropping to 8.79 billion in 2100. As a result, more than 23 countries are likely to see their populations halve by the end of this century. This includes countries such as Spain, Italy, Ukraine, and China.

Even if the above trends were somehow reversed, and human beings suddenly began reproducing more, we would be able to accommodate the increased population through solutions such as seasteading, vertical farming, 3D printing, and nanotechnology. Indeed, these technologies, and more, are among the many that would allow us to overcome limitations and alleviate potential threats resulting from an increased population. And I have not even begun speaking about space exploration.

The simple fact is that there is no fixed number of people who should be living on Earth at any given moment. In fact, we should rightfully be laughed out of the room if we asked the question, “What should the world’s population be?” We may as well ask how long a piece of string is. How many people is too many people? Further, how does one decide how many people is too many? Do you see how absurd this sort of thinking is? Even if we were to run detailed calculations on how many people the Earth could accommodate at any given point in time, what is true right now may not be true later, as planet Earth is dynamic, human beings are dynamic, and the forces of physics are dynamic. More importantly, we would be ignoring the awesome power of technology to allow us to do more, with less.

Therefore, let us move away from the pessimism, the doomsday scenarios, and the lack of vision, and move toward data, facts, science, and technological innovations that have allowed us, and will continue to allow us, to accommodate the needs of humanity. This does not mean that we should ignore challenges and perils and hope that everything will work out in the end. It does mean, however, that we should recognize the threats humanity is facing, and then take swift, concerted action toward eliminating those threats by using advancements in science, technology, and modern medicine.

But to go back to the topic, and frame the argument in a simpler way, one might want to ask proponents of the overpopulation myth whether they would have wanted their own parents to hold the same views about there being too many people on Earth. Of course, such critics of life extension would never want this to be the case, because it would mean that they themselves would not exist.

I would urge those who are critical of life extension to refrain from trying to decide how many people should be living on Earth. Indeed, rather than playing judge, jury, and executioner, I would recommend them to take a look in the mirror and appreciate the tremendous gift they were given – the gift of life. Had their parents held the faulty belief that there are too many people on Earth, these critics wouldn’t be able to offer their criticisms now. I am not suggesting that people should not offer valid criticisms of life extension. Nor am I suggesting that we gloss over the present and future challenges the Earth is facing. I am suggesting, however, that critics provide data, facts, and valid arguments to support their conclusions, rather than paint doomsday scenarios and claim that there are “too many people already.”  Indeed, the next time you hold a loved one in your arms, think about how you would feel if this person had never been born, or if this person was mercilessly ripped away from you.

So far, the likes of Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich have been completely wrong with their predictions, though it is possible for them and others like them, to be right someday. However, we should not take pleasure in being right, we should take pleasure in being better people. Being right is not what is important – being able to actualize oneself, improve the human condition, and make the world a better place to live, is what is important. And we cannot do that if we extrapolate wildly, spread fear, and insist that humanity is doomed. The truth is that humanity’s future hasn’t even been written yet. But when we do write it, we should do so utilizing the best that science and technology have to offer, in order to improve the human condition.  Overpopulation, calamity, and starvation are not destiny – but human improvement is, and has been, since the dawn of time.

Arin Vahanian is the Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. 

Opinions From Around the World: Obah Isaac Ebuka – 3D-Printing Organs for Transplant

Opinions From Around the World: Obah Isaac Ebuka – 3D-Printing Organs for Transplant

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Obah Isaac Ebuka


Editor’s Note: It is extremely important that supporters of transhumanism understand the opinions of peoples from every nation. I, Kimberly Forsythe, decided to reach out to people from other cultures and asked them to give me their opinions on the topic of transhumanist tech. My goal is to better understand why some may object to the idea based on various cultural differences.

As I receive the essays, I will publish them. My hope is that we can work together to build more international bridges and achieve progress that works for as many people as possible. This essay regarding the promises of 3D-printing of organs and the remaining challenges of implementing this technology was written by Obah Isaac Ebuka. 

~ Kimberly Forsythe, Member, United States Transhumanist Party, December 13, 2020


3D-Printing Organs for Transplant

What if it was possible to mass-produce organs – to grow hearts and lungs in a lab, readily accessible by the hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for organs? The affirmative answer to that question has been the goal of many researchers over the years, and their results are very promising.

The Promise of 3D-Printing

In 1988, a researcher modified a basic HP inkjet printer into using cells instead of regular ink and used the printer to write on a surface using cytoscribing technology. Now in 2019, scientists in Israel have been able to print a miniature human heart complete with contracting blood vessels using human cells. A lot of work and technology through the years led up to this incredible feat of human bio-engineering.

3D-printing organs is still not completely perfected, but the technology at present shows that it is possible. Current biotechnology makes it possible to print incredibly complex organ scaffold structures that mimic the structures of human organs and tissues with high anatomical precision using synthetic but biocompatible materials. These scaffolds can then be used as the spatial matrix on which cells can be built upon to create life-sized vascularized organs that possess the vital microstructures of real organs.

Current Challenges for Bioprinting

Biological Complexity

There are still many challenges to bioprinting that are yet to be addressed. One of these is that human organs are more incredibly complex than current technology can create. It might have been possible to create a miniature heart with the major aortae and coronary arteries, but scientists have yet to replicate vessel structures like the millions of capillary networks which are micrometers in diameter and essential to the life of organs.

Also, organs are much more than their structures and shapes. There a lot of details about organs that we are yet to understand such as how certain genes, hormones, and other factors in the body interact with organs and vice versa. An example of this is how the heart is an endocrine organ and not simply a blood pumper. So a true heart replacement also has to be able to create Atrial Natriuretic Peptides (ANP), which lower blood pressure.

Practicability

Hindrances from a bioengineering perspective aren’t the only things to worry about. It is also very challenging to design clinical trials that will test the longevity and compatibility of these experimental organs in humans. There is also the challenge of securing sustainable sources of cells, biocompatible material, as well as large-scale manufacturing capabilities needed for 3D-printing to be a viable and affordable replacement for real organ transplants.

Ethnic and Religious beliefs

Ethnicity and religious belief inhibit technological changes. In Nigeria, a country in western Africa, some groups of religious fanatics believe that each organ is sacred and would not have their organs changed. This view is not only shared in Nigeria particularly, but it is commonplace and widespread for natives to abhor mending or replacing what they come to see as natural.

Proposed solutions to these barriers

Natives should be enlightened. They should be taught the need for bioprinting organs, seeing that the ultimate aim is to save lives.

Author: Obah Isaac Ebuka

Abuja, Nigeria.

Twitter handle: @AiTweet01

Results of Platform Vote #8 and Adopted Sections on COVID-19 Responses

Results of Platform Vote #8 and Adopted Sections on COVID-19 Responses

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party conducted its fourteenth vote of the members and the eighth vote on its platform planks between March 25 and March 28, 2020. Official ballot options can be found here.

Detailed results of the voting have been tabulated here. In two instances, where no majority was reached in the first round of voting, options were selected based on the ranked-preference method with instant runoffs.

As a result, the following new or amended sections of Article VI of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution were adopted.

These sections are also compiled in a special area of the USTP Platform pertaining to COVID-19 responses.

Watch U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II and Vice-Chairman J. Ben Zion discuss the results of the vote on the Debt Nation show with Steele Archer here.

It is time to reorient the economy and society toward pursuit of public health and longevity. We are already effectively on a war footing, so let us take the war on the offensive against death and disease. Either the world will succumb to this pandemic, or we can turn around the situation to step fully into the Transhuman Era. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is proud to put forward these proactive ideas for winning this war.


Section XCVIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for rapid construction of hospitals to begin immediately throughout the United States, with one new hospital constructed for every 50,000 in population. Rapid construction techniques, pioneered in China during the COVID-19 outbreak, should be utilized in the United States to build new hospitals in 10 days or less. However, unlike the rapidly constructed Chinese hospitals, the new hospitals constructed in the United States should become permanent.

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediately waiving any zoning restrictions and building codes that would in any manner delay, prevent, or interfere with such rapid construction of hospitals.

Architectural designs for the rapidly constructed hospitals should:
(i) Be prepared and updated as new and superior building techniques and technologies are developed;
(ii) Include plans for multi-purpose facilities for patient care and research, or protocols for how to flexibly convert patient-care facilities into research facilities and vice versa as the need arises; and
(iii) Include separate entrances and generally separate facilities for patients infected with COVID-19 and all other patients, so as to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19 to hospital visitors who do not have it.

Once the new permanent hospitals have been established, the United States Transhumanist Party supports a mandate for these hospitals to remain open to patients and fully staffed in perpetuity, regardless of profitability or patient influx. After the COVID-19 outbreak subsides, the new hospitals would provide major additional capacity to respond to epidemics and also conduct research on fighting diseases, including biological aging.

After the construction of the new hospitals, the United States Transhumanist Party supports an indefinite obligation for the U.S. federal government to indefinitely remedy any shortfall in funds to a new hospital in order to prevent its closure. Any hospital receiving such federal assistance shall be limited in the charges it may impose for its services to 110% of the cost of providing such services.

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the construction and retrofit of buildings adjacent to the hospitals, which could be used for any of a variety of unrelated purposes in normal times, but which could rapidly be converted into hospital space in times of pandemics by means of features that enable easy customizability, modularity, and accessibility to patients and medical personnel.

The United States Transhumanist Party views a vast and permanent expansion of hospital capacity as a necessary component of a permanent reorientation of the economy and broader society toward the pursuit of improved public health and widespread life extension. The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the extent of the disruption and suffering that can occur if these goals are not made explicit and not supported by guaranteed allocations of resources immune from macroeconomic vicissitudes.

Section XCIX [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports for an immediate, universal, unconditional basic income of at least $1000 per month to be provided to every United States citizen for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak and its immediate aftermath, without regard for individuals’ means or other sources of income. The priority for this program should be to prevent massive and irreparable economic disruptions to the lives of Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Section C [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: In recognition of the severe, sudden, and often all-encompassing adverse economic impacts resulting from governmental measures taken to limit the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, and in the conviction that the principles of justice require that governmental policies – even if necessary, unavoidable, or beneficial on balance – not damage innocent parties without just compensation, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the United States federal government to take the following actions:

(i) Fully compensate all adversely affected businesses for all loss of income and property resulting from governmental measures taken to contain the COVID-19 epidemic. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any businesses receiving such compensation should be
    (a) Prohibited from engaging in buybacks of their own stocks; and
    (b) Prohibited from increasing executive pay if that pay currently exceeds $500,000 per executive per year.

(ii) Fully compensate all individuals who lost their jobs or self-employment income, or suffered a reduction in working hours, as a result of governmental measures taken to contain the COVID-19 epidemic. This compensation shall be in addition to, and not a substitute for, the universal basic income received by those individuals.

Section CI [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: In recognition that the recent screening bottlenecks at United States airports create situations of unacceptable crowding which further contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediate admittance through security checkpoints of the vast majority travelers currently waiting at airports in the United States. Such travelers may be required to subsequently undergo health screenings at other facilities within the United States within a certain period of time, as long as such screenings do not involuntarily place the individuals being screened in close physical proximity to one another.

Section CII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the recall of all United States military personnel from overseas stations as soon as possible and their deployment for the purpose of rapid hospital construction in the United States, as well as for providing rapid emergency aid and essential infrastructure improvements. Continued military presence abroad only unnecessarily exposes American troops to the risk of infection, while the expertise of American military personnel in crisis response is urgently needed within American borders.

Section CIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the rapid research into effective cures and vaccines for COVID-19 and the harnessing of synergies from this research to also develop a cure for the common cold and more effective vaccination against influenza. Such research should proceed with no barriers, subject to the researchers’ expression of ethical intentions, and any regulations or processes that would delay the progress of such research should be immediately waived or repealed. In the effort to accelerate progress in this field, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate $100 billion funding package for the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with all volunteers being accepted into human trials as soon as practicable. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for government funding and ownership of any cure for COVID-19, to be distributed free of charge to those infected with the virus.

Section CIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: Because biological aging is the number-one risk factor for mortality and severe complications from COVID-19 infections, as well as infections of virtually every sort, the United States Transhumanist Party emphasizes the importance of reversing biological aging as rapidly as possible and thereby protecting more lives from future pandemics. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a permanent, annual $100 billion funding package for anti-aging research, to be immediately distributed to leading research organizations in the field which have in the past specifically identified the defeat and reversal of biological aging as their goals.

Section CV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the immediate institution of a program of micropayments to everyone participating in citizen-science initiatives, such as Foldit, with the specific aim of developing cures or vaccines for COVID-19. Micropayments should be proportional to the amount of time and/or computing power spent contributing to any given initiative, with additional bounties provided for results with meaningful practical applications.

Section CVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: In response to the dire shortage of ventilator components and other crucial equipment in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the rapid 3D-printing of additional components through both private and governmental initiatives, as well as the deployment of on-site 3D-printers in every hospital and medical clinic to enable the future production of such components on demand. Immediate bounties should be offered by federal, state, and local government to individuals and businesses capable of producing such components. Policy initiatives should empower individuals and communities to explore the suitability of alternative manufacturing processes to produce needed parts and equipment to deal with the crisis.

Section CVII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate allowance for remote learning to satisfy the completion or graduation requirements of all K-12 schools and all publicly funded colleges and universities indefinitely going forward. Not only is physical proximity not necessary for effective learning in light of rapidly advancing technologies allowing immersive interaction at a distance, but the encouragement of remote learning also allows individuals more flexibility in advancing at their own pace and focusing on subjects and skill sets which result in the greatest fulfillment and most improved life prospects. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the maximal adoption of diverse homeschooling approaches throughout the United States, suited to the individual aptitudes, preferences, and learning styles of students.

The United States Transhumanist Party also supports refocusing the education system on producing the goods and services necessary to maintain United States independence, including vocational studies in electricity, metalwork, ceramics, auto mechanics, graphic arts, and coding in the classroom.

Section CVIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: In recognition that unsanitary living conditions are a primary cause of the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the United States Transhumanist Party supports the immediate and mandatory housing of the homeless, achieved by means of the rapid construction of tiny homes, including 3D-printed homes, without regard for building codes or zoning regulations, which must be immediately waived to allow such construction.

Every homeless individual discovered by local authorities would be required to move into a separate small home free of monetary cost and would be granted free conditional title to the home. The conditions of the title would be that the new homeowner would be obligated to perform litter-cleanup and other community-service duties for a specified time period per day under supervision, until and unless he or she is able to find different or better housing independently. The new housing communities would be subject to actively enforced covenants and restrictions prohibiting alcohol and recreational drugs. Such prohibitions will have the side benefit of transitioning the homeless toward meaningful social participation and useful work.

Section CIX [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports establishing a rapid three-month training and certification program for hundreds of thousands medical personnel specifically for responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and other pandemics. While the newly trained medical practitioners would not be full-fledged medical doctors, they would be provided with fundamental knowledge of epidemiology, first aid, sanitary practices, and patient care, including the operation of the devices used to assist severely ill patients. This would greatly supplement the available personnel to respond effectively to the COVID-19 outbreak and also anticipate future pandemics. The new COVID-19 medical responders would be compensated generously and selected from among high-performing students and other populations with demonstrated competence and aptitude for learning. For any first responders with student loans, those loans would be forgiven in exchange for a commitment to serve until the COVID-19 pandemic is eradicated. Those medical responders who remain in their positions afterward will receive continuous training on effective pandemic response so as to be in a superior position to anticipate, prevent, and mitigate future outbreaks.

Section CX [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the immediate deployment of as many COVID-19 diagnostic tests as possible to the general population, with the aim of achieving universal testing of every American, even those without symptoms, free of charge. Universal testing is necessary to understand the true prevalence of COVID-19 infections and the proportion of serious cases and fatalities relative to actual total cases, not merely reported cases. This would enable a true understanding of the extent of the epidemic’s spread as well as how the rates of serious complications and death compare to the common cold and influenza. The United States Transhumanist Party supports generous aid to both private and governmental research teams working in parallel on developing effective testing kits and approaches, particularly those which do not require large numbers of people to congregate.

The United States Transhumanist Party also advocates for COVID-19 testing kits to be developed that could result in tests being self-administered by individuals in their own homes and then mailed to laboratories for evaluation. This would minimize the physical contact of individuals being tested with medical practitioners and other patients.

Section CXI [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the establishment of facilities, such as warehouses, where essential supplies would be temporarily stored in large quantities in case of emergencies such as COVID-19. Distributors would supply to these warehouses a large surplus of essential goods, and hospitals, medical research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and other medical organizations would get their normal supplies, including masks, soap, hand-sanitizer, and common device components, from there in the event of any shortages. In case of an epidemic, there will be enough supplies on hand to provide such institutions for a prolonged period of time.

The essential supplies stored by such facilities would include ready-made hazmat suits that could be distributed to both medical practitioners and the population at large in the event of a highly contagious disease outbreak, along with clear and layperson-friendly instructions of how to put on and use the hazmat suits effectively.

Section CXII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party holds that, as a proactive measure, the United States should spearhead an initiative to collaborate with other wealthy nations, or by means of the World Health Organization (WHO), to set up a financial and material package of supplies and infrastructure to be deployed anywhere in the world in case a pathogen is found that needs to rapidly be contained in a foreign nation. This could be particularly important if the origin country is one that cannot itself manage to contain the outbreak due to poverty or lack of resources. This could help prevent a pathogen from ever coming to the United States.

A committee or part of an existing office should research and collaborate with other nations to learn and establish best or improved practices and update emergency plans accordingly. Likewise such collaborative efforts could establish which practices are not effective and remove those accordingly.

Section CXIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts by the federal government to begin an initiative in collaboration with businesses to create packages of emergency medical supplies, akin to a first-aid kit box, for civilians to buy for an affordable price, and offered for free to those who fall below the poverty line. Such a package could include advanced face masks, hand-sanitizer, soap, latex gloves, and other important items for effective epidemic response. The kit should come with clear instructions on how and when to use it, as well as instructions regarding self-quarantining and the express notice that the kit should not be re-sold, because the health and safety of everyone depends on the maximum number of people participating. This advance provision of response kits would have the effects of lowering the pressure on supply when there is an emergency and enabling people to be better prepared from the start, thus immediately limiting the spread of a pathogen.

Section CXIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the inclusion of education on epidemic crises in the curricula of schools. Science-based instruction on key attributes of epidemics and pandemics, historical instances, and effective responses could be incorporated within related courses, such as biology.

Section CXV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the immediate and complete repeal of all “certificate of need” laws, which currently, in many jurisdictions, prohibit the construction of new hospitals or the expansion of capacity of existing hospitals, unless “need” is demonstrated using arbitrary criteria overseen by incumbents within the hospital industry. “Certificate of need” laws are entirely deleterious and have no redeeming features of any sort. They constitute pure protectionism for the incomes of incumbents, at the expense of available and affordable health care, especially in times of increased strain, such as pandemics.

Section CXVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the development of vaccines under conditions that do not afford patents to the developers but instead compensate the developers in the form of bounties for safe, effective vaccines and their rapid production and deployment. Patents, as grants of exclusive monopoly privilege for as long as twenty years, operate to limit the supply of a vaccine and render it artificially expensive. Bounties and other forms of compensation based on production and distribution of vaccines would be better aligned with the urgent public interest in those vaccines’ rapid availability to the general population.

Section CXVII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the deployment of robots and automated systems wherever possible to assist COVID-19 patients and individuals who are at greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19. These systems could include autonomous vehicles, food-delivery robots and drones, and production robots in as many industries as possible to reduce the human presence in factories while continuing to manufacture many goods necessary for human life and well-being.

Section CXVIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 25-28, 2020]: Given the extreme delays, bottlenecks, and expenses created by the mandatory approval processes on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Transhumanist Party supports abolishing the FDA and replacing it with a Radical Life Extension Administration (RLEA), whose mandate would be to prioritize the rapid development of potential disease cures, treatments, and vaccines – including any possible cures or vaccines for COVID-19, as well as treatments to mitigate and reverse the disease of biological aging, the major risk factor for COVID-19. The RLEA would allow the marketing and collection of patient data on any potential cure, treatment, or vaccine which has passed affordable safety testing at a reasonably acceptable threshold.

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #8 on COVID-19 Response

Official Ballot Options for Platform Vote #8 on COVID-19 Response

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The 3-day electronic voting period on the eighth set of proposed platform planks of the U.S. Transhumanist Party in response to the COVID-19 crisis (21 potential planks in total) will occur from 1:01 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time on March 25, 2020, to 1:01 p.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on March 28, 2020. All members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party (USTP) who have applied before 1:01 p.m. on March 25, 2020, will be eligible to vote, as long as they have expressed agreement with the three Core Ideals of the USTP or have otherwise been rendered eligible to vote at the discretion of the Chairman.

All members who are eligible to vote will be sent a link to an electronic submission form whereby they will be able to cast their ballot.

When you are voting, it is strongly recommended that you keep this page of official ballot options and the submission form open simultaneously in different windows so that you can reference the relevant options as you vote on them. Due to space limitations, the submission form does not list the entire text of all the options.

It is also recommended that you set aside at least thirty minutes to consider and vote on all of the options and read their text closely, as some of the options contain minor variations upon other options. 

For some questions, electronic voting is  conducted by a ranked-preference method on individual articles where more options are possible than would be accommodated by a simple “Yes” or “No” vote. Members should keep in mind that the ranked-preference method eliminates the incentives for strategic voting – so members are encouraged to vote for the options that reflect their individual preferences as closely as possible, without regard for how other members might vote.

Results of the voting will be tabulated during late March 2020, with the intent to announce the results approximately 2-3 days after all votes have been submitted.

NOTE: The titles of the questions and potential Sections are descriptive and informational only and will not appear in the final adopted platform planks (which will be incorporated into Article VI of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution). They are intended as concise guides to the subject matter of the questions and potential Sections. Likewise, the letters assigned to Sections within this ballot will not reflect the numbering of the final adopted provisions, which will depend on which Sections are selected by the membership.

NOTE II: The inclusion of any proposals on this ballot does not indicate any manner of endorsement for those proposals by the U.S. Transhumanist Party at this time – except to place those proposals before the members to determine the will of the members with regard to whether or not the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform should incorporate any given proposal.


Voter Identification

E-mail address

Provide the same e-mail address you used to register for U.S. Transhumanist Party membership. Your ballot will be cross-referenced to our membership rolls, and only ballots with matching e-mail addresses will be counted.

What is your name?

At minimum, first and last name are required, unless you are publicly known by a single-name pseudonym which is not itself a common name. Your identity will not be publicly disclosed by the Transhumanist Party, unless you choose and/or authorize its disclosure. The nature of the selections made by the members may be disclosed, but, if they are, each individual vote will not be associated with the identity of the voter but rather will be presented in an anonymized manner.

Navigate the Options

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E8-A. Rapid Construction of Hospitals
Question II. Section E8-A. Rapid Construction of Hospitals – Ancillary Provisions
Question III. Section E8-B. Emergency Universal Basic Income
Question IV. Section E8-C. Full Compensation of Affected Businesses and Workers
Question V. Section E8-C. Full Compensation of Affected Businesses and Workers – Ancillary Provisions
Question VI. Section E8-D. Elimination of Bottlenecks at Airports
Question VII. Section E8-E. Rapid Domestic Deployment of Military Personnel from Overseas
Question VIII. Section E8-F. Rapid Research into Cures for COVID-19, Common Cold, and Influenza
Question IX. Section E8-G. Emergency Funding Package for Anti-Aging Research
Question X. Section E8-H. Micropayments for Citizen-Science Initiatives
Question XI. Section E8-I. Rapid 3D-Printing of Ventilator Components and Other Crucial Medical Equipment
Question XII. Section E8-J. Refocusing of the Education System toward Remote Learning
Question XIII. Section E8-J. Refocusing of the Education System toward Remote Learning – Ancillary Provision
Question XIV. Section E8-K. Mandatory Free Housing of the Homeless
Question XV. Section E8-L. Rapid Training for Medical Personnel
Question XVI. Section E8-M. Universal Free COVID-19 Testing
Question XVII. Section E8-M. Universal Free COVID-19 Testing – Ancillary Provision
Question XVIII. Section E8-N. Establishment of Facilities to Store Essential Supplies
Question XIX. Section E8-N. Establishment of Facilities to Store Essential Supplies – Ancillary Provision
Question XX. Section E8-O. Collaboration with Other Nations on Pandemic Response
Question XXI. Section E8-P. Creation of Packages of Emergency Medical Supplies
Question XXII. Section E8-Q. Educational Programs on Epidemics
Question XXIII. Section E8-R. Repeal of “Certificate of Need” Laws
Question XXIV. Section E8-S. Patentless Development of Vaccines
Question XXV. Section E8-T. Utilization of Robots to Assist Patients and Vulnerable Individuals
Question XXVI. Section E8-U. Abolition of the Food and Drug Administration and Its Replacement with a Radical Life Extension Administration

Proposed Platform Sections

Question I. Section E8-A. Rapid Construction of Hospitals

Rank-order the Section E8-A Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

Option E8-A-1. [Proposal for Rapid Construction of Permanent Hospitals] The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for rapid construction of hospitals to begin immediately throughout the United States, with one new hospital constructed for every 50,000 in population. Rapid construction techniques, pioneered in China during the COVID-19 outbreak, should be utilized in the United States to build new hospitals in 10 days or less. However, unlike the rapidly constructed Chinese hospitals, the new hospitals constructed in the United States should become permanent.

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediately waiving any zoning restrictions and building codes that would in any manner delay, prevent, or interfere with such rapid construction of hospitals.

Once the new permanent hospitals have been established, the United States Transhumanist Party supports a mandate for these hospitals to remain open to patients and fully staffed in perpetuity, regardless of profitability or patient influx. After the COVID-19 outbreak subsides, the new hospitals would provide major additional capacity to respond to epidemics and also conduct research on fighting diseases, including biological aging.

After the construction of the new hospitals, the United States Transhumanist Party supports an indefinite obligation for the U.S. federal government to indefinitely remedy any shortfall in funds to a new hospital in order to prevent its closure. Any hospital receiving such federal assistance shall be limited in the charges it may impose for its services to 110% of the cost of providing such services.

The United States Transhumanist Party views a vast and permanent expansion of hospital capacity as a necessary component of a permanent reorientation of the economy and broader society toward the pursuit of improved public health and widespread life extension. The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the extent of the disruption and suffering that can occur if these goals are not made explicit and not supported by guaranteed allocations of resources immune from macroeconomic vicissitudes.

Option E8-A-2. [Proposal by Marlin Adams for Rapid Construction of Temporary Hospitals]

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for rapid construction of temporary hospitals to begin immediately throughout the United States, with one new hospital constructed for every 50,000 in population. Rapid construction techniques, pioneered in China during the COVID-19 outbreak, should be utilized in the United States to build new hospitals in 10 days or less.

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediately waiving any zoning restrictions and building codes that would in any manner delay, prevent, or interfere with such rapid construction of hospitals.

☐ Option E8-A-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question II. Section E8-A. Rapid Construction of Hospitals – Ancillary Provisions 

If Section E8-A regarding the rapid construction of hospitals is adopted as part of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, shall any of the following ancillary provisions be appended to that Section?

Select all the options you support. (You can select multiple options for this question.)  Any option receiving the majority of votes cast will be included in the ultimately adopted plank, unless Option E8-A-NO prevails in the vote on Question I above. If you do not favor any of the options below, then you may leave this question blank.

☐ Ancillary Provision E8-A-i. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] Architectural designs for the rapidly constructed hospitals should be prepared and updated as new and superior building techniques and technologies are developed.

Ancillary Provision E8-A-ii. [Based on Proposal by Jason Geringer] Architectural designs for the rapidly constructed hospitals should include plans for multi-purpose facilities for patient care and research, or protocols for how to flexibly convert patient-care facilities into research facilities and vice versa as the need arises.

☐ Ancillary Provision E8-A-iii. [Based on Proposal by Sylvester Geldtmeijer] Architectural designs for the rapidly constructed hospitals should include separate entrances and generally separate facilities for patients infected with COVID-19 and all other patients, so as to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19 to hospital visitors who do not have it.

☐ Ancillary Provision E8-A-iv. [Based on Proposal by Sylvester Geldtmeijer] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the construction and retrofit of buildings adjacent to the hospitals, which could be used for any of a variety of unrelated purposes in normal times, but which could rapidly be converted into hospital space in times of pandemics by means of features that enable easy customizability, modularity, and accessibility to patients and medical personnel.

☐ Ancillary Provision E8-A-v. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] While many unoccupied sites could be used as locations for the new hospitals, burial sites, especially native burial grounds, and other areas that have cultural or historical sensitive backgrounds should be avoided if possible. This is to prevent depriving native minorities of their ancestral legacies, as well as possible litigation afterward, which could lead to forceful closure of a hospital or medical facility after the emergency has subsided, leaving the situation with two losing sides.

Question III. Section E8-B. Emergency Universal Basic Income

Rank-order the Section E8-B Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E8-B-1. The United States Transhumanist Party supports for an immediate, universal, unconditional basic income of at least $1000 per month to be provided to every United States citizen for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, without regard for individuals’ means or other sources of income. The priority for this program should be to prevent massive and irreparable economic disruptions to the lives of Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic.

☐ Option E8-B-2. [Based on Suggestion by Marlin Adams to Extend UBI to the Immediate Aftermath of the Outbreak] The United States Transhumanist Party supports for an immediate, universal, unconditional basic income of at least $1000 per month to be provided to every United States citizen for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak and its immediate aftermath, without regard for individuals’ means or other sources of income. The priority for this program should be to prevent massive and irreparable economic disruptions to the lives of Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic.

☐ Option E8-B-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question IV. Section E8-C. Full Compensation of Affected Businesses and Workers

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

In recognition of the severe, sudden, and often all-encompassing adverse economic impacts resulting from governmental measures taken to limit the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, and in the conviction that the principles of justice require that governmental policies – even if necessary, unavoidable, or beneficial on balance – not damage innocent parties without just compensation, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the United States federal government to take the following actions:

(i) Fully compensate all adversely affected businesses for all loss of income and property resulting from governmental measures taken to contain the COVID-19 epidemic; and

(ii) Fully compensate all individuals who lost their jobs or self-employment income, or suffered a reduction in working hours, as a result of governmental measures taken to contain the COVID-19 epidemic. This compensation shall be in addition to, and not a substitute for, the universal basic income received by those individuals.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question V. Section E8-C. Full Compensation of Affected Businesses and Workers – Ancillary Provisions

If Section E8-C regarding the full compensation of affected businesses and workers is adopted as part of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, shall any of the following ancillary provisions be appended to that Section?

Select all the options you support. (You can select multiple options for this question.)  Any option receiving the majority of votes cast will be included in the ultimately adopted plank, unless Option E8-A-NO prevails in the vote on Question I above. If you do not favor any of the options below, then you may leave this question blank.

☐ Ancillary Provision E8-C-i. [Based on Proposal by Jason Geringer] The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any businesses receiving such compensation should be prohibited from engaging in buybacks of their own stocks.

☐ Ancillary Provision E8-C-ii. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any businesses receiving such compensation should be prohibited from increasing executive pay if that pay currently exceeds $500,000 per executive per year.

Question VI. Section E8-D. Elimination of Bottlenecks at Airports

Rank-order the Section E8-D Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E8-D-1. In recognition that the recent screening bottlenecks at United States airports create situations of unacceptable crowding which further contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediate and unconditional admittance through security checkpoints of all travelers currently waiting at airports in the United States. Such travelers may be required to subsequently undergo health screenings at other facilities within the United States within a certain period of time, as long as such screenings do not involuntarily place the individuals being screened in close physical proximity to one another.

☐ Option E8-D-2. [Based on Proposal by Ophelia_Drowned to Remove Unconditional Admittance, Replace It with Admittance of the Vast Majority] In recognition that the recent screening bottlenecks at United States airports create situations of unacceptable crowding which further contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediate admittance through security checkpoints of the vast majority travelers currently waiting at airports in the United States. Such travelers may be required to subsequently undergo health screenings at other facilities within the United States within a certain period of time, as long as such screenings do not involuntarily place the individuals being screened in close physical proximity to one another.

☐ Option E8-D-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question VII. Section E8-E. Rapid Domestic Deployment of Military Personnel from Overseas

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the recall of all United States military personnel from overseas stations as soon as possible and their deployment for the purpose of rapid hospital construction in the United States, as well as for providing rapid emergency aid and essential infrastructure improvements. Continued military presence abroad only unnecessarily exposes American troops to the risk of infection, while the expertise of American military personnel in crisis response is urgently needed within American borders.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question VIII. Section E8-F. Rapid Research into Cures for COVID-19, Common Cold, and Influenza

Rank-order the Section E8-F Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E8-F-1. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the rapid research into effective cures and vaccines for COVID-19 and the harnessing of synergies from this research to also develop a cure for the common cold and more effective vaccination against influenza. Such research should proceed with no barriers, subject to the researchers’ expression of ethical intentions, and any regulations or processes that would delay the progress of such research should be immediately waived or repealed. In the effort to accelerate progress in this field, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate $100 billion funding package for the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with all volunteers being accepted into human trials as soon as practicable.

☐ Option E8-F-2. [Based on Suggestion by Marlin Adams for Government Funding and Ownership of the Cure and Its Free Distribution] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the rapid research into effective cures and vaccines for COVID-19 and the harnessing of synergies from this research to also develop a cure for the common cold and more effective vaccination against influenza. Such research should proceed with no barriers, subject to the researchers’ expression of ethical intentions, and any regulations or processes that would delay the progress of such research should be immediately waived or repealed. In the effort to accelerate progress in this field, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate $100 billion funding package for the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with all volunteers being accepted into human trials as soon as practicable. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for government funding and ownership of any cure for COVID-19, to be distributed free of charge to those infected with the virus.

☐ Option E8-F-3. [Option Mentioning Free Distribution of the Cure for COVID-19 But No Mention of Nature of Ownership] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the rapid research into effective cures and vaccines for COVID-19 and the harnessing of synergies from this research to also develop a cure for the common cold and more effective vaccination against influenza. Such research should proceed with no barriers, subject to the researchers’ expression of ethical intentions, and any regulations or processes that would delay the progress of such research should be immediately waived or repealed. In the effort to accelerate progress in this field, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate $100 billion funding package for the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with all volunteers being accepted into human trials as soon as practicable. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for any cure for COVID-19 to be distributed free of charge to those infected with the virus.

☐ Option E8F-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question IX. Section E8-G. Emergency Funding Package for Anti-Aging Research

Rank-order the Section E8-G Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option for “No Section of this sort” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no language is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Option E8-G-1. Because biological aging is the number-one risk factor for mortality and severe complications from COVID-19 infections, as well as infections of virtually every sort, the United States Transhumanist Party emphasizes the importance of reversing biological aging as rapidly as possible and thereby protecting more lives from future pandemics. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an emergency $100 billion funding package for anti-aging research, to be immediately distributed to leading research organizations in the field which have in the past specifically identified the defeat and reversal of biological aging as their goals.

☐ Option E8-G-2. [Suggestion by Mike DiVerde for a Permanent, Annual $100 Billion Funding Package.]  Because biological aging is the number-one risk factor for mortality and severe complications from COVID-19 infections, as well as infections of virtually every sort, the United States Transhumanist Party emphasizes the importance of reversing biological aging as rapidly as possible and thereby protecting more lives from future pandemics. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a permanent, annual $100 billion funding package for anti-aging research, to be immediately distributed to leading research organizations in the field which have in the past specifically identified the defeat and reversal of biological aging as their goals.

☐ Option E8-G-NO. No Section of this sort.

Question X. Section E8-H. Micropayments for Citizen-Science Initiatives

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the immediate institution of a program of micropayments to everyone participating in citizen-science initiatives, such as Foldit, with the specific aim of developing cures or vaccines for COVID-19. Micropayments should be proportional to the amount of time and/or computing power spent contributing to any given initiative, with additional bounties provided for results with meaningful practical applications.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XI. Section E8-I. Rapid 3D-Printing of Ventilator Components and Other Crucial Medical Equipment

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

In response to the dire shortage of ventilator components and other crucial equipment in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the rapid 3D-printing of additional components through both private and governmental initiatives, as well as the deployment of on-site 3D-printers in every hospital and medical clinic to enable the future production of such components on demand. Immediate bounties should be offered by federal, state, and local government to individuals and businesses capable of producing such components. Policy initiatives should empower individuals and communities to explore the suitability of alternative manufacturing processes to produce needed parts and equipment to deal with the crisis.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XII. Section E8-J. Refocusing of the Education System toward Remote Learning

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate allowance for remote learning to satisfy the completion or graduation requirements of all K-12 schools and all publicly funded colleges and universities indefinitely going forward. Not only is physical proximity not necessary for effective learning in light of rapidly advancing technologies allowing immersive interaction at a distance, but the encouragement of remote learning also allows individuals more flexibility in advancing at their own pace and focusing on subjects and skill sets which result in the greatest fulfillment and most improved life prospects. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the maximal adoption of diverse homeschooling approaches throughout the United States, suited to the individual aptitudes, preferences, and learning styles of students.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIII. Section E8-J. Refocusing of the Education System toward Remote Learning – Ancillary Provision

If Section E8-J regarding refocusing the education system toward remote learning is adopted as part of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, shall the following ancillary provision be appended to that Section?

The United States Transhumanist Party also supports refocusing the education system on producing the goods and services necessary to maintain United States independence, including vocational studies in electricity, metalwork, ceramics, auto mechanics, graphic arts, and coding in the classroom.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIV. Section E8-K. Mandatory Free Housing of the Homeless

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

In recognition that unsanitary living conditions are a primary cause of the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the United States Transhumanist Party supports the immediate and mandatory housing of the homeless, achieved by means of the rapid construction of tiny homes, including 3D-printed homes, without regard for building codes or zoning regulations, which must be immediately waived to allow such construction.

Every homeless individual discovered by local authorities would be required to move into a separate small home free of monetary cost and would be granted free conditional title to the home. The conditions of the title would be that the new homeowner would be obligated to perform litter-cleanup and other community-service duties for a specified time period per day under supervision, until and unless he or she is able to find different or better housing independently. The new housing communities would be subject to actively enforced covenants and restrictions prohibiting alcohol and recreational drugs. Such prohibitions will have the side benefit of transitioning the homeless toward meaningful social participation and useful work.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XV. Section E8-L. Rapid Training for Medical Personnel

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party supports establishing a rapid three-month training and certification program for hundreds of thousands medical personnel specifically for responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and other pandemics. While the newly trained medical practitioners would not be full-fledged medical doctors, they would be provided with fundamental knowledge of epidemiology, first aid, sanitary practices, and patient care, including the operation of the devices used to assist severely ill patients. This would greatly supplement the available personnel to respond effectively to the COVID-19 outbreak and also anticipate future pandemics. The new COVID-19 medical responders would be compensated generously and selected from among high-performing students and other populations with demonstrated competence and aptitude for learning. For any first responders with student loans, those loans would be forgiven in exchange for a commitment to serve until the COVID-19 pandemic is eradicated. Those medical responders who remain in their positions afterward will receive continuous training on effective pandemic response so as to be in a superior position to anticipate, prevent, and mitigate future outbreaks.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XVI. Section E8-M. Universal Free COVID-19 Testing

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the immediate deployment of as many COVID-19 diagnostic tests as possible to the general population, with the aim of achieving universal testing of every American, even those without symptoms, free of charge. Universal testing is necessary to understand the true prevalence of COVID-19 infections and the proportion of serious cases and fatalities relative to actual total cases, not merely reported cases. This would enable a true understanding of the extent of the epidemic’s spread as well as how the rates of serious complications and death compare to the common cold and influenza. The United States Transhumanist Party supports generous aid to both private and governmental research teams working in parallel on developing effective testing kits and approaches, particularly those which do not require large numbers of people to congregate.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XVII. Section E8-M. Universal Free COVID-19 Testing – Ancillary Provision

If Section E8-M regarding universal free COVID-19 testing is adopted as part of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, shall the following ancillary provision be appended to that Section?

The United States Transhumanist Party also advocates for COVID-19 testing kits to be developed that could result in tests being self-administered by individuals in their own homes and then mailed to laboratories for evaluation. This would minimize the physical contact of individuals being tested with medical practitioners and other patients.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XVIII. Section E8-N. Establishment of Facilities to Store Essential Supplies

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the establishment of facilities, such as warehouses, where essential supplies would be temporarily stored in large quantities in case of emergencies such as COVID-19. Distributors would supply to these warehouses a large surplus of essential goods, and hospitals, medical research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and other medical organizations would get their normal supplies, including masks, soap, hand-sanitizer, and common device components, from there in the event of any shortages. In case of an epidemic, there will be enough supplies on hand to provide such institutions for a prolonged period of time.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XIX. Section E8-N. Establishment of Facilities to Store Essential Supplies – Ancillary Provision

If Section E8-N regarding establishment of facilities to store essential supplies is adopted as part of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, shall the following ancillary provision be appended to that Section?

The essential supplies stored by such facilities would include ready-made hazmat suits that could be distributed to both medical practitioners and the population at large in the event of a highly contagious disease outbreak, along with clear and layperson-friendly instructions of how to put on and use the hazmat suits effectively.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XX. Section E8-O. Collaboration with Other Nations on Pandemic Response

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party holds that, as a pro-active measure, the United States should spearhead an initiative to collaborate with other wealthy nations, or by means of the World Health Organization (WHO), to set up a financial and material package of supplies and infrastructure to be deployed anywhere in the world in case a pathogen is found that needs to rapidly be contained in a foreign nation. This could be particularly important if the origin country is one that cannot itself manage to contain the outbreak due to poverty or lack of resources. This could help prevent a pathogen from ever coming to the United States.

A committee or part of an existing office should research and collaborate with other nations to learn and establish best or improved practices and update emergency plans accordingly. Likewise such collaborative efforts could establish which practices are not effective and remove those accordingly.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XXI. Section E8-P. Creation of Packages of Emergency Medical Supplies

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts by the federal government to begin an initiative in collaboration with businesses to create packages of emergency medical supplies, akin to a first-aid kit box, for civilians to buy for an affordable price, and offered for free to those who fall below the poverty line. Such a package could include advanced face masks, hand-sanitizer, soap, latex gloves, and other important items for effective epidemic response. The kit should come with clear instructions on how and when to use it, as well as instructions regarding self-quarantining and the express notice that the kit should not be re-sold, because the health and safety of everyone depends on the maximum number of people participating. This advance provision of response kits would have the effects of lowering the pressure on supply when there is an emergency and enabling people to be better prepared from the start, thus immediately limiting the spread of a pathogen.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XXII. Section E8-Q. Educational Programs on Epidemics

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the inclusion of education on epidemic crises in the curricula of schools. Science-based instruction on key attributes of epidemics and pandemics, historical instances, and effective responses could be incorporated within related courses, such as biology.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XXIII. Section E8-R. Repeal of “Certificate of Need” Laws

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the immediate and complete repeal of all “certificate of need” laws, which currently, in many jurisdictions, prohibit the construction of new hospitals or the expansion of capacity of existing hospitals, unless “need” is demonstrated using arbitrary criteria overseen by incumbents within the hospital industry. “Certificate of need” laws are entirely deleterious and have no redeeming features of any sort. They constitute pure protectionism for the incomes of incumbents, at the expense of available and affordable health care, especially in times of increased strain, such as pandemics.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XXIV. Section E8-S. Patentless Development of Vaccines

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the development of vaccines under conditions that do not afford patents to the developers but instead compensate the developers in the form of bounties for safe, effective vaccines and their rapid production and deployment. Patents, as grants of exclusive monopoly privilege for as long as twenty years, operate to limit the supply of a vaccine and render it artificially expensive. Bounties and other forms of compensation based on production and distribution of vaccines would be better aligned with the urgent public interest in those vaccines’ rapid availability to the general population.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XXV. Section E8-T. Utilization of Robots to Assist Patients and Vulnerable Individuals

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the deployment of robots and automated systems wherever possible to assist COVID-19 patients and individuals who are at greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19. These systems could include autonomous vehicles, food-delivery robots and drones, and production robots in as many industries as possible to reduce the human presence in factories while continuing to manufacture many goods necessary for human life and well-being.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

Question XXVI. Section E8-U. Abolition of the Food and Drug Administration and Its Replacement with a Radical Life Extension Administration

Shall the following language be adopted as a new Section within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform?

Given the extreme delays, bottlenecks, and expenses created by the mandatory approval processes on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Transhumanist Party supports abolishing the FDA and replacing it with a Radical Life Extension Administration (RLEA), whose mandate would be to prioritize the rapid development of potential disease cures, treatments, and vaccines – including any possible cures or vaccines for COVID-19, as well as treatments to mitigate and reverse the disease of biological aging, the major risk factor for COVID-19. The RLEA would allow the marketing and collection of patient data on any potential cure, treatment, or vaccine which has passed affordable safety testing at a reasonably acceptable threshold.

Select one of the following options.

 Yes.

 No.

 Abstain.

 

Emergency 7-Day Exposure Period for Platform Vote #8 on COVID-19 Response Platform Proposals

Emergency 7-Day Exposure Period for Platform Vote #8 on COVID-19 Response Platform Proposals

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party (USTP) announces its upcoming emergency eighth Platform vote in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the extreme urgency of the situation, the duration of the exposure period shall be shortened to 7 days, and the duration of the voting period shall be shortened to 3 days.

Watch this special episode of the Debt Nation show, in which USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II outlines the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s emergency proposals for responding to the COVID-19 epidemic. This episode also features analysis and commentary by host Steele Archer.

A vote will be scheduled on some or all of the items below once they have been exposed for at least 7 days. For each item, a 3-day voting period is expected to be opened at the earliest on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

During the exposure period, please post your comments on this thread. If you post comments intended to be considered in voting and/or amending any of these planks in any other electronic medium, please note that you thereby give your consent to have your comments reproduced with attribution or linked within this discussion thread, in order to direct members’ attention and consideration to them.

After the exposure period, a 3-day electronic voting period will occur. Instructions for electronic voting will be sent to members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Party via e-mail at that time. All individuals who are members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party as of the end of the exposure period and who have expressed agreement with its three Core Ideals will be eligible to vote thereafter. You can still vote if you become a member during the exposure period, so please apply here if you are interested. During the 3-day electronic voting period, you will still be able to become a member – but you will only be able to vote in subsequent elections, since we seek for voting on any given issue to be done by those members who have had an opportunity to thoroughly consider that issue and be involved in deliberations regarding it.

Electronic voting will be conducted by a ranked-preference method if more than a single option is presented for the wording of a particular plank or segment of a plank. Members will be able to rank-order their preferred selections on each individual Platform Section. The original text of each Section will be available for selection, as well as any reasonable amendments proposed by any member. Leadership of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party reserves the right to edit any proposed amendment for correctness of spelling and grammar. “No Section of this sort” will also be a choice, and any Section where a majority of votes favors this option will be not be adopted. Members will also be able to abstain from voting on any given Section.

The ranked-preference method has the advantage of eliminating a “winner-take-all” or “first-past-the-post” mentality and preventing people from being channeled into voting for sub-optimal choices (in their view) just because they fear an even less palatable alternative prevailing. Within the ranked-preference methodology, if no option obtains a clear majority as voters’ first choice, the option having the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated from consideration, and all those who voted for that option will have their votes assigned to their second-choice options. This process of elimination continues until one particular option has a clear majority of votes.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages all members to participate in this process and for other transhumanists to sign up for membership during the exposure period. 

The Section titles below are provisional and will be replaced with official numbers for each plank that is adopted. The Section titles are informational only and will not be included in the adopted versions of the platform planks.


Section E8-A. Rapid Construction of Hospitals

Option E8-A-1. [Proposal for Rapid Construction of Permanent Hospitals] The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for rapid construction of hospitals to begin immediately throughout the United States, with one new hospital constructed for every 50,000 in population. Rapid construction techniques, pioneered in China during the COVID-19 outbreak, should be utilized in the United States to build new hospitals in 10 days or less. However, unlike the rapidly constructed Chinese hospitals, the new hospitals constructed in the United States should become permanent.

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediately waiving any zoning restrictions and building codes that would in any manner delay, prevent, or interfere with such rapid construction of hospitals.

Once the new permanent hospitals have been established, the United States Transhumanist Party supports a mandate for these hospitals to remain open to patients and fully staffed in perpetuity, regardless of profitability or patient influx. After the COVID-19 outbreak subsides, the new hospitals would provide major additional capacity to respond to epidemics and also conduct research on fighting diseases, including biological aging.

After the construction of the new hospitals, the United States Transhumanist Party supports an indefinite obligation for the U.S. federal government to indefinitely remedy any shortfall in funds to a new hospital in order to prevent its closure. Any hospital receiving such federal assistance shall be limited in the charges it may impose for its services to 110% of the cost of providing such services.

The United States Transhumanist Party views a vast and permanent expansion of hospital capacity as a necessary component of a permanent reorientation of the economy and broader society toward the pursuit of improved public health and widespread life extension. The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the extent of the disruption and suffering that can occur if these goals are not made explicit and not supported by guaranteed allocations of resources immune from macroeconomic vicissitudes.

Option E8-A-2. [Proposal by Marlin Adams for Rapid Construction of Temporary Hospitals]

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for rapid construction of temporary hospitals to begin immediately throughout the United States, with one new hospital constructed for every 50,000 in population. Rapid construction techniques, pioneered in China during the COVID-19 outbreak, should be utilized in the United States to build new hospitals in 10 days or less.

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediately waiving any zoning restrictions and building codes that would in any manner delay, prevent, or interfere with such rapid construction of hospitals.

[Questions on Section E8-A will allow members to select any, all, or none of the ancillary provisions below, with any measure receiving a majority of the votes being included in the ultimately adopted plankThe ancillary provisions are compatible with each of the main options above.]

Ancillary Provision E8-A-i. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] Architectural designs for the rapidly constructed hospitals should be prepared and updated as new and superior building techniques and technologies are developed.

Ancillary Provision E8-A-ii. [Based on Proposal by Jason Geringer] Architectural designs for the rapidly constructed hospitals should include plans for multi-purpose facilities for patient care and research, or protocols for how to flexibly convert patient-care facilities into research facilities and vice versa as the need arises.

Ancillary Provision E8-A-iii. [Based on Proposal by Sylvester Geldtmeijer] Architectural designs for the rapidly constructed hospitals should include separate entrances and generally separate facilities for patients infected with COVID-19 and all other patients, so as to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19 to hospital visitors who do not have it.

Ancillary Provision E8-A-iv. [Based on Proposal by Sylvester Geldtmeijer] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the construction and retrofit of buildings adjacent to the hospitals, which could be used for any of a variety of unrelated purposes in normal times, but which could rapidly be converted into hospital space in times of pandemics by means of features that enable easy customizability, modularity, and accessibility to patients and medical personnel.

Ancillary Provision E8-A-v. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] While many unoccupied sites could be used as locations for the new hospitals, burial sites, especially native burial grounds, and other areas that have cultural or historical sensitive backgrounds should be avoided if possible. This is to prevent depriving native minorities of their ancestral legacies, as well as possible litigation afterward, which could lead to forceful closure of a hospital or medical facility after the emergency has subsided, leaving the situation with two losing sides.

Section E8-B. Emergency Universal Basic Income

Option E8-B-1. The United States Transhumanist Party supports for an immediate, universal, unconditional basic income of at least $1000 per month to be provided to every United States citizen for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, without regard for individuals’ means or other sources of income. The priority for this program should be to prevent massive and irreparable economic disruptions to the lives of Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Option E8-B-2. [Based on Suggestion by Marlin Adams to Extend UBI to the Immediate Aftermath of the Outbreak] The United States Transhumanist Party supports for an immediate, universal, unconditional basic income of at least $1000 per month to be provided to every United States citizen for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak and its immediate aftermath, without regard for individuals’ means or other sources of income. The priority for this program should be to prevent massive and irreparable economic disruptions to the lives of Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Section E8-C. Full Compensation of Affected Businesses and Workers

Option E8-C-1. In recognition of the severe, sudden, and often all-encompassing adverse economic impacts resulting from governmental measures taken to limit the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, and in the conviction that the principles of justice require that governmental policies – even if necessary, unavoidable, or beneficial on balance – not damage innocent parties without just compensation, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the United States federal government to take the following actions:

(i) Fully compensate all adversely affected businesses for all loss of income and property resulting from governmental measures taken to contain the COVID-19 epidemic; and

(ii) Fully compensate all individuals who lost their jobs or self-employment income, or suffered a reduction in working hours, as a result of governmental measures taken to contain the COVID-19 epidemic. This compensation shall be in addition to, and not a substitute for, the universal basic income received by those individuals.

[Questions on Section E8-C will allow members to select any, all, or none of the ancillary provisions below, with any measure receiving a majority of the votes being included in the ultimately adopted plankThe ancillary provisions are compatible with each of the main options above.]

Ancillary Provision E8-C-i. [Based on Proposal by Jason Geringer] The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any businesses receiving such compensation should be prohibited from engaging in buybacks of their own stocks.

Ancillary Provision E8-C-ii. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that any businesses receiving such compensation should be prohibited from increasing executive compensation if that compensation currently exceeds $500,000 per executive per year.

Section E8-D. Elimination of Bottlenecks at Airports

Option E8-D-1. In recognition that the recent screening bottlenecks at United States airports create situations of unacceptable crowding which further contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediate and unconditional admittance through security checkpoints of all travelers currently waiting at airports in the United States. Such travelers may be required to subsequently undergo health screenings at other facilities within the United States within a certain period of time, as long as such screenings do not involuntarily place the individuals being screened in close physical proximity to one another.

Option E8-D-2. [Based on Proposal by Ophelia_Drowned to Remove Unconditional Admittance, Replace It with Admittance of the Vast Majority] In recognition that the recent screening bottlenecks at United States airports create situations of unacceptable crowding which further contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for immediate admittance through security checkpoints of the vast majority travelers currently waiting at airports in the United States. Such travelers may be required to subsequently undergo health screenings at other facilities within the United States within a certain period of time, as long as such screenings do not involuntarily place the individuals being screened in close physical proximity to one another.

Section E8-E. Rapid Domestic Deployment of Military Personnel from Overseas

Option E8-E-1. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the recall of all United States military personnel from overseas stations as soon as possible and their deployment for the purpose of rapid hospital construction in the United States, as well as for providing rapid emergency aid and essential infrastructure improvements. Continued military presence abroad only unnecessarily exposes American troops to the risk of infection, while the expertise of American military personnel in crisis response is urgently needed within American borders.

Section E8-F. Rapid Research into Cures for COVID-19, Common Cold, and Influenza

Option E8-F-1. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the rapid research into effective cures and vaccines for COVID-19 and the harnessing of synergies from this research to also develop a cure for the common cold and more effective vaccination against influenza. Such research should proceed with no barriers, subject to the researchers’ expression of ethical intentions, and any regulations or processes that would delay the progress of such research should be immediately waived or repealed. In the effort to accelerate progress in this field, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate $100 billion funding package for the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with all volunteers being accepted into human trials as soon as practicable.

Option E8-F-2. [Based on Suggestion by Marlin Adams for Government Funding and Ownership of the Cure and Its Free Distribution] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the rapid research into effective cures and vaccines for COVID-19 and the harnessing of synergies from this research to also develop a cure for the common cold and more effective vaccination against influenza. Such research should proceed with no barriers, subject to the researchers’ expression of ethical intentions, and any regulations or processes that would delay the progress of such research should be immediately waived or repealed. In the effort to accelerate progress in this field, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate $100 billion funding package for the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with all volunteers being accepted into human trials as soon as practicable. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for government funding and ownership of any cure for COVID-19, to be distributed free of charge to those infected with the virus.

Option E8-F-3. [Option Mentioning Free Distribution of the Cure for COVID-19 But No Mention of Nature of Ownership] The United States Transhumanist Party supports the rapid research into effective cures and vaccines for COVID-19 and the harnessing of synergies from this research to also develop a cure for the common cold and more effective vaccination against influenza. Such research should proceed with no barriers, subject to the researchers’ expression of ethical intentions, and any regulations or processes that would delay the progress of such research should be immediately waived or repealed. In the effort to accelerate progress in this field, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate $100 billion funding package for the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with all volunteers being accepted into human trials as soon as practicable. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for any cure for COVID-19 to be distributed free of charge to those infected with the virus.

Section E8-G. Emergency Funding Package for Anti-Aging Research

Option E8-G-1. Because biological aging is the number-one risk factor for mortality and severe complications from COVID-19 infections, as well as infections of virtually every sort, the United States Transhumanist Party emphasizes the importance of reversing biological aging as rapidly as possible and thereby protecting more lives from future pandemics. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an emergency $100 billion funding package for anti-aging research, to be immediately distributed to leading research organizations in the field which have in the past specifically identified the defeat and reversal of biological aging as their goals.

Option E8-G-2. [Suggestion by Mike DiVerde for a Permanent, Annual $100 Billion Funding Package.]  Because biological aging is the number-one risk factor for mortality and severe complications from COVID-19 infections, as well as infections of virtually every sort, the United States Transhumanist Party emphasizes the importance of reversing biological aging as rapidly as possible and thereby protecting more lives from future pandemics. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a permanent, annual $100 billion funding package for anti-aging research, to be immediately distributed to leading research organizations in the field which have in the past specifically identified the defeat and reversal of biological aging as their goals.

Section E8-H. Micropayments for Citizen-Science Initiatives

Option E8-H-1. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the immediate institution of a program of micropayments to everyone participating in citizen-science initiatives, such as Foldit, with the specific aim of developing cures or vaccines for COVID-19. Micropayments should be proportional to the amount of time and/or computing power spent contributing to any given initiative, with additional bounties provided for results with meaningful practical applications.

Section E8-I. Rapid 3D-Printing of Ventilator Components and Other Crucial Medical Equipment

Option E8-I-1. In response to the dire shortage of ventilator components and other crucial equipment in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the rapid 3D-printing of additional components through both private and governmental initiatives, as well as the deployment of on-site 3D-printers in every hospital and medical clinic to enable the future production of such components on demand. Immediate bounties should be offered by federal, state, and local government to individuals and businesses capable of producing such components. Policy initiatives should empower individuals and communities to explore the suitability of alternative manufacturing processes to produce needed parts and equipment to deal with the crisis.

Section E8-J. Refocusing of the Education System toward Remote Learning

Option E8-J-1. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for an immediate allowance for remote learning to satisfy the completion or graduation requirements of all K-12 schools and all publicly funded colleges and universities indefinitely going forward. Not only is physical proximity not necessary for effective learning in light of rapidly advancing technologies allowing immersive interaction at a distance, but the encouragement of remote learning also allows individuals more flexibility in advancing at their own pace and focusing on subjects and skill sets which result in the greatest fulfillment and most improved life prospects. The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the maximal adoption of diverse homeschooling approaches throughout the United States, suited to the individual aptitudes, preferences, and learning styles of students.

[A question on Section E8-J will allow members to select or reject the following ancillary provision being included in the ultimately adopted plankThe ancillary provision is compatible with the main option above.]

Ancillary Provision E8-J-i. [Based on Proposal by Marlin Adams]

The United States Transhumanist Party also supports refocusing the education system on producing the goods and services necessary to maintain United States independence, including vocational studies in electricity, metalwork, ceramics, auto mechanics, graphic arts, and coding in the classroom.

Section E8-K. Mandatory Free Housing of the Homeless

Option E8-K-1. In recognition that unsanitary living conditions are a primary cause of the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the United States Transhumanist Party supports the immediate and mandatory housing of the homeless, achieved by means of the rapid construction of tiny homes, including 3D-printed homes, without regard for building codes or zoning regulations, which must be immediately waived to allow such construction.

Every homeless individual discovered by local authorities would be required to move into a separate small home free of monetary cost and would be granted free conditional title to the home. The conditions of the title would be that the new homeowner would be obligated to perform litter-cleanup and other community-service duties for a specified time period per day under supervision, until and unless he or she is able to find different or better housing independently. The new housing communities would be subject to actively enforced covenants and restrictions prohibiting alcohol and recreational drugs. Such prohibitions will have the side benefit of transitioning the homeless toward meaningful social participation and useful work.

Section E8-L. Rapid Training for Medical Personnel

Option E8-L-1. The United States Transhumanist Party supports establishing a rapid three-month training and certification program for hundreds of thousands medical personnel specifically for responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and other pandemics. While the newly trained medical practitioners would not be full-fledged medical doctors, they would be provided with fundamental knowledge of epidemiology, first aid, sanitary practices, and patient care, including the operation of the devices used to assist severely ill patients. This would greatly supplement the available personnel to respond effectively to the COVID-19 outbreak and also anticipate future pandemics. The new COVID-19 medical responders would be compensated generously and selected from among high-performing students and other populations with demonstrated competence and aptitude for learning. For any first responders with student loans, those loans would be forgiven in exchange for a commitment to serve until the COVID-19 pandemic is eradicated. Those medical responders who remain in their positions afterward will receive continuous training on effective pandemic response so as to be in a superior position to anticipate, prevent, and mitigate future outbreaks.

Section E8-M. Universal Free COVID-19 Testing

Option E8-M-1. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the immediate deployment of as many COVID-19 diagnostic tests as possible to the general population, with the aim of achieving universal testing of every American, even those without symptoms, free of charge. Universal testing is necessary to understand the true prevalence of COVID-19 infections and the proportion of serious cases and fatalities relative to actual total cases, not merely reported cases. This would enable a true understanding of the extent of the epidemic’s spread as well as how the rates of serious complications and death compare to the common cold and influenza. The United States Transhumanist Party supports generous aid to both private and governmental research teams working in parallel on developing effective testing kits and approaches, particularly those which do not require large numbers of people to congregate.

[A question on Section E8-M will allow members to select or reject the following ancillary provision being included in the ultimately adopted plankThe ancillary provision is compatible with the main option above.]

Ancillary Provision E8-M-i. [Based on Proposal by Sylvester Geldtmeijer]

The United States Transhumanist Party also advocates for COVID-19 testing kits to be developed that could result in test being self-administered by individuals in their own homes and then mailed to laboratories for evaluation. This would minimize the physical contact of individuals being tested with medical practitioners and other patients.

Section E8-N. Establishment of Facilities to Store Essential Supplies

Section E8-N-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for the establishment of facilities, such as warehouses, where essential supplies are temporarily stored in large quantities in case of emergencies such as COVID-19. Distributors would supply to these warehouses a large surplus of essential goods, and hospitals, medical research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and other medical organizations would get their normal supplies, including masks, soap, hand-sanitizer, and common device components, from there in the event of any shortages. In case of an epidemic there will be enough supplies on hand to provide such institutions for a prolonged period of time.

[A question on Section E8-N will allow members to select or reject the following ancillary provision being included in the ultimately adopted plankThe ancillary provision is compatible with the main option above.]

Ancillary Provision E8-N-i. [Based on Proposal by Sylvester Geldtmeijer] The essential supplies stored by such facilities would include ready-made hazmat suits that could be distributed to both medical practitioners and the population at large in the event of a highly contagious disease outbreak, along with clear and layperson-friendly instructions of how to put on and use the hazmat suits effectively.

Section E8-O. Collaboration with Other Nations on Pandemic Response

Section E8-O-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party holds that, as a pro-active measure, the United States should spearhead an initiative to collaborate with other wealthy nations, or by means of the World Health Organization (WHO), to set up a financial and material package of supplies and infrastructure to be deployed anywhere in the world in case a pathogen is found that needs to rapidly be contained in a foreign nation. This could be particularly important if the origin country is one that cannot itself manage to contain the outbreak due to poverty or lack of resources. This could help prevent a pathogen from ever coming to the United States.

A committee or part of an existing office should research and collaborate with other nations to learn and establish best or improved practices and update emergency plans accordingly. Likewise such collaborative efforts could establish which practices are not effective and remove those accordingly.

Section E8-P. Creation of Packages of Emergency Medical Supplies

Section E8-P-1. [Based on Proposal by Martin van der Kroon] The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts by the federal government to begin an initiative in collaboration with businesses to create packages of emergency medical supplies, akin to a first-aid kit box, for civilians to buy for an affordable price, and offered for free to those who fall below the poverty line. Such a package could include advanced face masks, hand-sanitizer, soap, latex gloves, and other important items for effective epidemic response. The kit should come with clear instructions on how and when to use it, as well as instructions regarding self-quarantining and the express notice that the kit should not be re-sold, because the health and safety of everyone depends on the maximum number of people participating. This advance provision of response kits would have the effects of lowering the pressure on supply when there is an emergency and enabling people to be better prepared from the start, thus immediately limiting the spread of a pathogen.

Section E8-Q. Educational Programs on Epidemics

Section E8-Q-1. [Based on suggestion by Martin van der Kroon]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the inclusion of education on epidemic crises in the curricula of schools. Science-based instruction on key attributes of epidemics and pandemics, historical instances, and effective responses could be incorporated within related courses, such as biology.

Section E8-R. Repeal of “Certificate of Need” Laws

Section E8-R-1. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the immediate and complete repeal of all “certificate of need” laws, which currently, in many jurisdictions, prohibit the construction of new hospitals or the expansion of capacity of existing hospitals, unless “need” is demonstrated using arbitrary criteria overseen by incumbents within the hospital industry. “Certificate of need” laws are entirely deleterious and have no redeeming features of any sort. They constitute pure protectionism for the incomes of incumbents, at the expense of available and affordable health care, especially in times of increased strain, such as pandemics.

Section E8-S. Patentless Development of Vaccines

Section E8-S-1. [Based on suggestion by Sylvester Geldtmeijer]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the development of vaccines under conditions that do not afford patents to the developers but instead compensate the developers in the form of bounties for safe, effective vaccines and their rapid production and deployment. Patents, as grants of exclusive monopoly privilege for as long as twenty years, operate to limit the supply of a vaccine and render it artificially expensive. Bounties and other forms of compensation based on production and distribution of vaccines would be better aligned with the urgent public interest in those vaccines’ rapid availability to the general population.

Section E8-T. Utilization of Robots to Assist Patients and Vulnerable Individuals

Section E8-T-1. [Based on suggestion by Sylvester Geldtmeijer]

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the deployment of robots and automated systems wherever possible to assist COVID-19 patients and individuals who are at greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19. These systems could include autonomous vehicles, food-delivery robots and drones, and production robots in as many industries as possible to reduce the human presence in factories while continuing to manufacture many goods necessary for human life and well-being.

Section E8-U. Abolition of the Food and Drug Administration and Its Replacement with a Radical Life Extension Administration

Section E8-U-1. [Based on suggestion by J. Ben Zion and Gennady Stolyarov II]

Given the extreme delays, bottlenecks, and expenses created by the mandatory approval processes on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Transhumanist Party supports abolishing the FDA and replacing it with a Radical Life Extension Administration (RLEA), whose mandate would be to prioritize the rapid development of potential disease cures, treatments, and vaccines – including any possible cures or vaccines for COVID-19, as well as treatments to mitigate and reverse the disease of biological aging, the major risk factor for COVID-19. The RLEA would allow the marketing and collection of patient data on any potential cure, treatment, or vaccine which has passed affordable safety testing at a reasonably acceptable threshold.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II and Tobias Teufel Discuss Science, Technology, Politics, and Transhumanism

U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II and Tobias Teufel Discuss Science, Technology, Politics, and Transhumanism

Tobias Teufel
Gennady Stolyarov II


On July 9, 2019, U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II conversed with Tobias Teufel, a transhumanist from Germany and Allied Member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, regarding a variety of subjects – including a comparison / contrast of the voting systems in Germany and the United States, robotics, 3D printing, space colonization, life extension, possibilities for persuading those who are reluctant to accept emerging technologies, as well as some thoughts that Mr. Teufel had in connection with the recent First Virtual Debate of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Presidential primary candidates. Overall, Mr. Teufel shared some excellent insights regarding technological possibilities – including many that are open to ordinary people today – and some promising ways in which the Transhumanist Party can continue to reach out and educate the public about ongoing technological advances and their uses. Watch the conversation on YouTube here.

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party for free, no matter where you reside. Apply here in less than a minute.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party Responds to Jeremy Rifkin’s Plan for a Third Industrial Revolution

The U.S. Transhumanist Party Responds to Jeremy Rifkin’s Plan for a Third Industrial Revolution

Gennady Stolyarov II


Photograph of Jeremy Rifkin by Stephan Röhl

Editor’s Note: Below is a response to Jeremy Rifkin’s plan for a Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy by Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. The original post of this documentary can be found here.

    ~ Dinorah Delfin, Director of Admissions and Public Relations, U.S. Transhumanist Party, March 10, 2018

When it comes to Jeremy Rifkin’s thoughts on the future, and what humankind will and will not be able to accomplish, Arthur C. Clarke’s famous First Law encapsulates my reaction: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

I think that Rifkin has many ideas that would be aligned with transhumanism, although his general worldview is not transhumanist in itself. I wholly support the concepts of the sharing economy, the goal of production at zero marginal cost, and the smart infrastructure that he describes would support the Third Industrial Revolution. A redesign of our infrastructure – especially in such a way that would facilitate modular upgrades at a local and even individual level – is essential for overcoming some of the current bottlenecks to technological progress and rising standards of living. I also think that Rifkin is correct that, in the short term, building this new infrastructure will require humans and will mean jobs for those humans. This is probably a good thing, although it is dependent on whether the systems for financing the new projects and appropriately recruiting and treating the workers (e.g., giving them high-quality jobs with good pay, safety precautions, and ample assistance from machines and narrow AIs where possible) can come together in time.

Where I think Rifkin falls short of the transhumanist vision is in his rejection of the goal of a society where basic human problems – including mortality and many of the other key causes of suffering – can be eliminated or at least greatly reduced. He characterizes this as “utopian” thinking, but at every stage of the way, the approach toward these goals would not be utopia, but rather steady improvement. It would be a shame to reject the goals especially as the technologies for making them possible are becoming available. As I have often stated, it is not a matter of if we will have indefinite life extension, but when – and this matters a lot from the standpoint of how many people alive today could be saved.

Where I also differ from Rifkin is that, instead of his focus on the negative (“humans are destroying the Earth”), I and the Transhumanist Party prefer to focus on the positive potentials (humans can improve both our own lives and the Earth through emerging technologies). Many of the solutions may look quite similar – e.g., smart infrastructure, greater energy-efficiency, and renewable energy sources that would move humankind away from fossil fuels (although, unlike Rifkin, I also strongly support the next generation of nuclear reactors, which would use thorium, would be meltdown-proof, and would not be subject to the need for cooling via massive amounts of water that Rifkin criticizes). I think that the way forward is through technological advancement; Rifkin is halfway there – certainly much better than the Neo-Luddite thinkers who have often dominated the environmental movement. But his goals are not in conflict with life extension, massive economic growth, and super-abundance of material prosperity for everyone. In fact, humans need to move along all of these avenues simultaneously and in parallel, as their achievements will reinforce one another and enable progress to occur more readily.

Article III, Section IX of our Platform – http://transhumanist-party.org/constitution/#Article3 – actually summarizes this sentiment quite nicely: “The United States Transhumanist Party supports all emerging technologies that have the potential to improve the human condition – including but not limited to autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, economical solar power, safe nuclear power, hydroelectricity, geothermal power, applications for the sharing of durable goods, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, rapid transit, 3D printing, vertical farming, electronic devices to detect and respond to trauma, and beneficial genetic modification of plants, animals, and human beings.”

Again, Clarke’s First Law comes to mind. To the extent that Rifkin sees potential in any of the above technologies and others, he is correct. To the extent that he does not see it or considers those technologies to be detrimental, he is mistaken.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion on Prosthetics, Neuroscience, and the Future of Human Potential

U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion on Prosthetics, Neuroscience, and the Future of Human Potential

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Gennady Stolyarov II

Bobby Ridge

Scott Jurgens


U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II speaks with Secretary-Treasurer Bobby Ridge and Director of Applied Innovation Scott Jurgens regarding their areas of interest in research and study. Topics addressed include emerging advances in prosthetics, orthotics, 3D printing, 3D scanning, the science behind neuroplasticity, brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), artificial intelligence, and the societal implications of these technologies – including the extent to which they, combined with a universal basic income, may facilitate increased self-actualization by more people.

Conversations such as this one are prime examples of why the U.S. Transhumanist Party and the transhumanist movement are positioned to be the vanguard of the next era of our civilization, ready to rebuild it and take it to new heights, given sufficient recognition from and collaboration with the general public.

References

– Hugh Herr – “The new bionics that let us run, climb, and dance” – TED – March 2014
LimbForge – Enable Community Foundation
Autodesk Fusion 360
Thingiverse
– “Metal Gear Solid 5 Inspires an Amazing Prosthetic Arm” – Kendall Ashley – Nerdist – May 23, 2016

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Fill out our Membership Application Form here.

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The Importance of 3D Printing to Ensuring the Viability of Interplanetary City Construction

The Importance of 3D Printing to Ensuring the Viability of Interplanetary City Construction

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B.J. Murphy


Starting on March 26, members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party are taking part in the latest platform vote, which include 22 potential planks in total. Before the voting ends on April 2, I’d like to briefly discuss one of those potential planks – in particular, Section E3-G. Space Colonization. To be a little more clear, I wish to present a possible solution to one distinct question we’ll likely need to ask ourselves once actual space colonization efforts are underway.

A little over a year ago, a friend and fellow author Manu Saadia (author of Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek) posed a question to me about the viability of creating actual cities on other planets. It was, in his mind, one of the few things about Star Trek which seemed unrealistic, because of the fact that cities here on Earth thrive due to one important reason: imports/exports, i.e. resource exchange.

I’ll quote him below on his exact phrasing:

“[S]ettling a far away colony on Mars or a bunch of habitats in orbit is not a recipe for prosperity for these space-based outposts. Without fast and reliable means of exchange, I don’t see how these settlements could take full advantage of the network effects and of the endogenous dynamism of Earth’s great cities.”

He is correct in his assessment that, without the fast import and export of necessary resources, today’s cities simply wouldn’t survive. However, as I noted to him, I believe his strict reliance on economics, and much less so on technology, prevents him from understanding how interplanetary cities are still a viable prospect.

That is, he seems to completely ignore key technologies, such as 3D printing, which would directly address the current problem of importing and exporting resources from planet to planet. My own assessment was:

“Thanks to the company Made in Space, astronauts on the ISS are able to receive digital data from Earth that activates their 3D printer to print whatever supplies they need. It’s still in its infancy, but this really isn’t all that different from Star Trek’s teleportation technology.

Once it matures, I can easily see us establishing a base of developing trade agreements between different planets via 3D printing or other advanced technologies that’ll supersede 3D printing.”

If members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party were to successfully vote in favor of Section E3-G, I believe it will be our duty in discussing all of the obstacles that stand in between us and our space colonization aspirations. This brief article here will serve as only one possible solution, for which we should all discuss and consider as a Party.

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B.J. Murphy is the Director of Social Media of the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

The Future Business of Body Shops (h/t to Alcott Evans’s ‘Transhumanism, Meet Business’)

The Future Business of Body Shops (h/t to Alcott Evans’s ‘Transhumanism, Meet Business’)

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B.J. Murphy

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The following essay was originally published as a chapter for The Future of Business: Critical Insights into a Rapidly Changing World from 60 Future Thinkers that was edited by Rohit Talwar under Fast Future Publishing. This is not intended to be a response to Party member Alcott Evans’s article, “Transhumanism, Meet Business;” rather to serve as an extension upon its premise that the Transhumanist goal of body modification is now entering the business world.


How will cybernetics, 3D printing, and the biohacking movement change the way we enhance people?

Emergence of a new business sector

In the near future, I expect that the cyberpunk fantasy of cyborgs and genetically enhanced humans will become a lucrative business opportunity. Google co-founder Larry Page once said: “Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.”[1] We are presently accelerating into a future where people can enhance and augment themselves at their whim. The question we need to ask ourselves, and one which I hope to answer in this chapter, is: how will a viable industry business model evolve for a future dominated by cyborgs?

The future of any business is nothing more than a race against time itself. It requires a keen eye on what is going on throughout the different sectors of science and technology, and subsequently a proactionary drive to move forward revolutionary ideas, even with the prospect of there being risks. To not move forward would be to remain in stasis. If you stand still or retreat, the future will continue accelerating, watching as you wither away – cast into the dustbin of history. If you are a business owner, or have any plans to become one in the future, this should scare the hell out of you.

Technology today is accelerating at an exponential pace, with computing power maintaining Moore’s Law – the doubling of transistors in a dense integrated circuit every 18 to 24 months. In addition, most other information technologies are adhering to what inventor Ray Kurzweil refers to as the law of accelerating returns – the exponential growth of evolutionary systems, including but not limited to technological growth.[2] Keeping this in mind, the success of a business – both small and large – requires exponential thinking, as opposed to a linear outlook. My aim is to help you envision that future, consequently allowing you to weigh up the available options carefully and determine the best method of moving your business forward into the future. So keep calm, take a breath, and let’s jump into the rabbit hole, shall we?

Introducing Body Shops

Let me first tell you my vision of this near-future business practice. My vision requires an open-minded understanding of what makes us human and what we can do to help ourselves and others address our current biological limitations. In the next 15 to 20 years, I expect the emergence of what I call Body Shops – that is, essentially, a shop where you walk in human and leave as a cyborg.[3] These shops will be on a par with tattoo and piercing shops in terms of access and popularity. The difference is that with tattoo and piercing shops you merely require staff with experience in both art and the proper means of piercing the body in non-detrimental ways. With Body Shops however, they will require people who are experienced in the fields of both plastic surgery and biotechnology – capable of delivering what I consider to be fast-food plastic surgery.

What do I mean when I say fast-food plastic surgery? Understanding this primarily requires insight into what makes the fast-food industry so popular, as opposed to sit-down restaurants. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the growing popularity of fast food boils down to three simple factors:

  1. Speed – Their service is quick;
  2. Convenience – The restaurants are easy to get to; and
  3. Cost – They are inexpensive compared to full-service restaurants.[4]

When we think of plastic surgery, however, these three factors are practically nonexistent. Plastic surgery requires a lot of time to complete procedures and the healing process; the practice is limited to hospitals and private business establishments; and the price tag for a single procedure costs an arm and a leg (pun intended). So when I say fast-food plastic surgery, I’m basically advocating the idea that we will eventually reach the point where the business practice of modifying the human body will become fast, readily available, and inexpensive for the common person. This will become an essential business model for mass-market Body Shops. Let’s now explore the underlying enablers – cybernetic implants, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs, and biohacking.

Cybernetic implants and 3D-printed prosthetic technology 

Demand for augmentation of the human body is on the rise. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), from just 2012 to 2013, they witnessed a clear increase of interest among 30-to-70-year-olds in modifying their bodies via plastic surgery. In 2013 alone, 15.1 million more cosmetic enhancements were undertaken, alongside a 5.7 million increase in reconstructive procedures.[5] ASPS President Robert X. Murphy, Jr., MD, reported that “Facial rejuvenation procedures were especially robust last year, with more Americans opting for facelifts, forehead lifts, eyelid surgery, fillers and peels. With new devices and products hitting the market each year, there are more options and choices available to consumers wanting to refresh their look or [undergo] a little nip and tuck.”[6]

What Dr. Murphy said is especially important, for it paves the way to understanding the growing popularity of modifying the human body, for both medical and non-medical reasons. As more products hit the market, the more options people are given. Increasingly, this offers the opportunity to start re-looking at ourselves and re-defining what our body can and should do, whether it’s how it should appear or how it should affect our daily lives. We can reasonably assume that, the more technological advances create the potential to enhance our currently limited biology, the more people will take the leap forward and embrace the opportunity to modify themselves in ever-more fundamental and dramatic ways.

In fact, we’re already witnessing an increase in the number of people acquiring cybernetic implant procedures. In 2014, CNN Money interviewed Amal Graafstra, founder and CEO of biohacking company Dangerous Things. Graafstra discussed his company’s business practice of providing people with implantable radio frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) tags. Doing so would allow them to control electronics and other devices with simple gestures like waving their hand. “A couple of years ago,” Amal said, “I was selling a tag maybe once a week. Now we’re looking at least one a day. We’ve sold probably around 23,000 implants across all of the different types.”[7]

Dangerous Things isn’t the only company providing implants to help people unleash their inner cyborg either. Grindhouse Wetware is best known for its popular magnetic finger-tip implants. These allow people to acquire the physical sensation of feeling the shape and current of electromagnetic waves.[8] If provision of cybernetic implants is a reality in 2015, imagine what could happen in the next 15 to 20 years!

Pioneering the cybernetic limb market

At the forefront of this revolutionary new stage of human existence are Aimee Mullins and Hugh Herr – two very successful individuals at polar opposites in terms of profession. Both are pushing this train of thought beyond its originally perceived limits by ensuring that cybernetic artificial limbs are readily available, low in cost, and vary in design to help each person acquire their own sense of individuality. Mullins is both an athlete and a fashion model, whereas Herr is an engineer and biophysicist. What connects them is the fact that both are double amputees. I am sure you are wondering: so what? Well, it isn’t so much the double amputation of their legs which brings them together; rather how these two individuals decided to address their disability and their goals for humanity.

During a 2009 TED conference, Mullins walked on stage (you read that right) and started talking about why she no longer considers herself disabled. She recalled the time when she met up with a friend who noticed Mullins was now taller than her friend remembered. Mullins explained that she has an entire assortment of prosthetic legs that vary in length, allowing her the option of choosing her height on any given day. Her friend’s response was perfect: “But, Aimee, that’s not fair!” This response had become her “ah ha!” moment, realizing the practically limitless future possibilities of prosthetic technology and how it could affect our daily lives.

Mullins asserts that: “The conversation with society has changed profoundly in this last decade. It is no longer a conversation about overcoming deficiency. It’s a conversation about augmentation. It’s a conversation about potential. A prosthetic limb doesn’t represent the need to replace loss anymore. It can stand as a symbol that the wearer has the power to create whatever it is that they want to create in that space. So people that society once considered to be disabled can now become the architects of their own identities and indeed continue to change those identities by designing their bodies from a place of empowerment.”[9]

In 2014, during another TED conference, Hugh Herr discussed the remarkable history of his disability and how he made it his life’s mission to not only conquer his own, but subsequently conquer all disabilities as a whole. He leads the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group, which is making great strides in engineering low-cost, highly efficient prosthetic limbs and exoskeleton suits.

Herr explained how he used different prosthetics to help conquer difficult feats in a more efficient way than he ever could with his original biological limbs, for example mountain climbing. This, in turn, became Herr’s ‘ah ha!’ moment, helping him reach a similar conclusion to Mullins. Herr explains: “Every person should have the right to live life without disability if they so choose — the right to live life without severe depression; the right to see a loved one in the case of [the] seeing impaired; or the right to walk or to dance, in the case of limb paralysis or limb amputation. As a society, we can achieve these human rights if we accept the proposition that humans are not disabled. A person can never be broken. Our built environment, our technologies are broken and disabled. We the people need not accept our limitations, but can transcend disability through technological innovation.”[10]

The coming transformation of the prosthetic limb market

These examples offers an excellent segue into the ongoing efforts of open-sourcing prosthetic technology to the overall populace. Both Herr and Mullins envision a near-future where prosthetic technology is available to everyone, empowering them with nearly limitless options in expressing their self-determination. The largest base of consumers for this future business practice will, at first, largely revolve around those with disabilities. Gradually, as those with disabilities are then enhanced and augmented with advanced technology, we will witness a shift in how we define disabled. In other words, people who are simply able-bodied may start to consider themselves disabled in comparison to those who’ve been enhanced.[11] Once that occurs, a whole new base of consumers could begin to emerge.

The growing popularity of low-cost prosthetic technology is overwhelmingly clear. In 2014, Intel held a contest entitled Make It Wearable. They invited teams to compete in developing new, wearable technologies that would essentially either change how humans go about their day-to-day lives or change the human condition itself. In response, entrants began engineering new and revolutionary technologies.[12] By November 3rd the finalists were selected. The winner was the Nixie – pan autonomous mini-drone that wraps around your wrist. In second place was the newly established UK-based company Open Bionics with a goal of producing low-cost, lightweight, modular limbs by combining bionics with 3D printing.[13]

Since then we’ve witnessed a wave of open-source, low-cost prosthetic limb production. Formed in 2014, volunteer-based group Limbitless Solutions has gained considerable attention for its emphasis on helping disabled youth become able-bodied again using Limbitless’ prosthetics. This was especially welcomed, given the lack of emphasis on youth from corporate prosthetic development companies because they would be developing prosthetic limbs that would need to be re-designed over time as the children grew up. With 3D printing, this problem goes away completely. The company mission states: “Limbitless Solutions is a growing engineering community devoted to changing lives through the innovation of new bionic arm designs and development of a worldwide network of makers and thinkers… Our mission is to create a world without limits, where everyone has access to the tools necessary to manufacture simple, affordable, and accessible solutions through open source design and 3D printing.”[14]

As 3D printing continues its seemingly exponential growth, the amount of options people will be able to choose from to enhance themselves should grow just as fast. As I was writing this, a new 3D printer was introduced to the world that could change the 3D-printing industry forever. Called the CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production), the relatively new company Carbon3D had shocked the world at TED2015 with a 3D printer that uses light, oxygen, and UV-cured resin to develop objects 25-100 times faster than previous 3D printers.[15] This goes hand in hand with the goal of making Body Shop enhancements both affordable and quick.

Biohacking 

So we have covered both cybernetic implants and 3D-printed prosthetic technology. The last major facet of future Body Shop establishments will harness the power of biohacking.[16] As noted previously, there are already biohacking companies helping hack people’s biology via cybernetics. However, as fate would have it, in the last couple of years a new potential in biohacking has presented itself under the guise of genome editing.

Previously there were methods of editing an organism’s genome – for example RNAi (Ribonucleic acid interference); however, those methods were quite limiting. Thanks to a group of researchers, led by geneticist and molecular engineer George M. Church, a new method was developed with near-perfect accuracy throughout an entire range of different organisms, including the possibility of editing human biology.[17] This method has since come to be known as CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats). This uses an RNA-guided DNA enzyme known as Cas9 to help target and manipulate, or altogether change, entire genome sequences. The possibilities for such a revolutionary new tool – medical and nonmedical – are practically limitless.

The prospect of gene hacking was predicted by Ramez Naam, who authored the book More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement, in which he stated: “In just a few decades, we’ve gone from the first tinkering with human genes to the discovery of dozens of techniques that could alter the human genome in very precise ways. Those techniques give us the power to cure diseases or to enhance and sculpt our bodies. This new control over our genes promises to enhance our quality of life as dramatically as the medical discoveries of the past century.”[18]

The path to body shops – imagining the future

So imagine with me, if you will, what these groups of radical technologies could achieve in the next 15 to 20 years. With cybernetic implants, we have the prospect of changing how people will interact with firstly their various electronic possessions, and subsequently their surrounding environment. A growing number of people are already acquiring magnetic finger-tip implants, solely for the purpose of enhancing their sense of touch. Once cybernetics advance to the point where a person’s entire body is connected in some way to online systems, we will officially give birth to bio-computing.

The markets for 3D printing and prosthetic technology are accelerating at a remarkable rate, delivering open-source, low-cost bionic limbs in just hours, and soon mere minutes! Enhanced and unenhanced people will walk into these Body Shops to try on new synthetic body parts as if they were a pair of glasses. By that time, we could officially have done away with disability altogether. The new market slogan won’t be “Become able-bodied!” Instead it will be “Become augmented!”

With genetic biohacking, we are truly traversing extremely radical grounds. People will be looking to well-regulated Body Shops for proper genetic enhancements, as opposed to DIY underground establishments. The marketing proposition would be to become superheroes; to become gods! For better or worse, this will be a new booming business opportunity.

Once this book is published, and you’re reading this chapter, months will have gone by, and even more new and radical technologies will have been developed. As noted at the beginning, future business strategy requires a keen eye on what is going on throughout the sectors of science and technology. We are moving at an incredible rate, and actually, I believe my 15-to-20-year estimation for the emergence of Body Shops may be a bit conservative. Getting there, however, requires an open mind, a proactionary drive to move forward, and, of course, it requires you.

As business people, it is up to you to determine how you will proceed with the future of human enhancements. I’ve presented a clear case for how enhancement could turn into a viable business opportunity. There will, of course, be a question of risks and how best to manage them. I can only offer the advice of adhering to the proactionary principle (as opposed to the precautionary principle) when discussing the mitigation of any possible risks. And of course, there’s the question of when these Body Shops will emerge. Whenever they do, I predict many will achieve dramatic success with the Body Shop business model, on which other businesses will eventually base their own strategies.

Having said that, this chapter certainly raises other questions you’ll need to answer for yourself:

  • How might your future business respond to laws that may or may not limit the degree in which a person can be enhanced?
  • Given the open-source nature of 3D-printing technologies, how can your company stand out from everyone else in terms of design, manufacturing, and service capabilities?
  • Given the potentially contentious nature of this market, are you prepared to become a business that represents the customers’ interests when they are put into question?

Let the future commence!

Notes

  1. Ha, T., 2014, “Computing Is Still Too Clunky: Charlie Rose and Larry Page in Conversation,” article, 03/15/15.
  2. Kurzweil, R., 2001, “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” article, 03/15/15.
  3. Cyborg (or Cybernetic organism): A being, both human and nonhuman, which contains significantly interconnected organic, biomechatronic and electronic parts that enable it to perform biological, mechanical, and computational functions
  4. Rydell, S. A., Harnack, L. J., Oakes, J. M., Story, M., Jeffery, R. W., French, S. A., 2008, “Why Eat at Fast-Food Restaurants: Reported Reasons among Frequent Consumers,” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 108(12), pp. 2066–2070
  5. American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2014, “2013 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report,” report, 03/15/15
  6. 2014, “American Society of Plastic Surgeons Reports 15.1 Million Cosmetic Procedures in 2013; Marks Fourth Consecutive Year of Growth,” article, 03/15/15
  7. Naik, R., 2014, “The Business of Being a Cyborg,” article, 03/15/15
  8. Clark, L., 2012, “Magnet-Implanting DIY Biohackers Pave the Way For Mainstream Adoption,” article, 03/15/15
  9. Mullins, A., 2009, “Aimee Mullins: My 12 Pairs of Legs,” TEDtalk, 03/16/15
  10. Herr, H., 2014, “Hugh Herr: The New Bionics That Let Us Run, Climb and Dance,” TEDtalk, 03/16/15
  11. Murphy, B. J., 2013, “Will Today’s Handicapped Become Tomorrow’s First Post-Human?,” article, 03/16/15
  12. Murphy B. J., 2014, “Intel Wants You To Become A Cyborg!,” article, 03/16/15
  13. 2014, “Development Track Finalists,” webpage, 03/16/15
  14. 2014, “Mission Statement,” webpage, 03/17/15
  15. Murphy, B. J., 2015, “Carbon3D’s CLIP Has Just Re-Revolutionized the Entire 3D Printing Industry!,” article, 03/17/15
  16. Biohacking: Managing or altering the body’s own biology using medical, genetic manipulation, nutritional and electronic techniques.
  17. Mali, P., Esvelt, K. M., Church, G. M., 2013, “Cas9 as a versatile tool for engineering biology,” Nature Methods, 10(10), pp. 957-963.
  18. Naam, R., 2005, More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement, Broadway Books, New York, p. 41, Chap.1.

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B.J. Murphy is the Director of Social Media of the U.S. Transhumanist Party.