Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 2.0
Version 1.0 written by Zoltan Istvan – Delivered to the U.S. Capitol on December 14, 2015
Version 2.0 developed by members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party – Adopted via Electronic Vote on December 25-31, 2016 – Integrated from Voting Preferences on January 4, 2017
[NOTE: The Transhumanist Bill of Rights is not static and is open to further amendments via future votes of U.S. Transhumanist Party members. To suggest a specific amendment, you may make a post on this thread or e-mail Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, here. Proposed amendments that receive sufficient member demand will be considered for inclusion on future ballots.]
Whereas science and technology are now radically changing human beings and may also create future forms of advanced sapient and sentient life, transhumanists establish this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS to help guide and enact sensible policies in the pursuit of life, liberty, security of person, and happiness.
As used in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS, the term “sentient entities” encompasses:
(i) Human beings, including genetically modified humans;
(iii) Digital intelligences;
(iv) Intellectually enhanced, previously non-sapient animals;
(v) Any species of plant or animal which has been enhanced to possess the capacity for intelligent thought; and
(vi) Other advanced sapient life forms.
Sentient entities are defined by information-processing capacity such that this term should not apply to non-self-aware lifeforms, like plants and slime molds. Biological processing substrates are referred to as using an “analogue intelligence”, whereas purely electronic processing substrates are referred to as “digital intelligence”, and processing substrates that utilize quantum effects would be considered “quantum intelligence”.
Sentience is ranked as Level 5 information integration according to the following criteria:
- Level 0 – No information integration: Inanimate objects; objects that do not modify themselves in response to interaction – e.g., rocks, mountains.
- Level 1 – Non-zero information integration: Sensors – anything that is able to sense its environment – e.g., photo-diode sense organs, eyes, skin.
- Level 2 – Information manipulation: Systems that include feedback that is non-adaptive or minimally adaptive – e.g., plants, basic algorithms, the system that interprets the output from a photo-diode to determine its on/off state (a photo diode itself cannot detect its own state). Level 2 capabilities include the following:
- Expression of emotion;
- Expression of sensory pleasure;
- Taste aversion.
- Level 3 – Information integration – Awareness: Systems that include adaptive feedback, can dynamically generate classification – e.g., deep-learning AI, chickens, animals that are able to react to their environment, have a model of their perception but not the world. This level describes animals acting on instinct and unable to classify other animals into more types than “predator”, “prey”, or “possible mate”. Level 3 capabilities include the following:
- Navigational detouring (which requires an being to pursue a series of non-rewarding intermediate goals in order to obtain an ultimate reward); Examples: documentation of detouring in jumping spiders (Jackson and Wilcox 1998), motivational trade-off behavior in hermit crabs (Elwood and Appel 2009);
- Emotional fever (an increase in body temperature in response to a supposedly stressful situation — gentle handling, as operationalized in Cabanac’s experiments).
- Level 4 – Awareness + World model: Systems that have a modeling system complex enough to create a world model: a sense of other, without a sense of self – e.g., dogs. Level 4 capabilities include static behaviors and rudimentary learned behavior.
- Level 5 – Awareness + World model + Primarily subconscious self model = Sapient or Lucid: Lucidity means to be meta-aware – that is, to be aware of one’s own awareness, aware of abstractions, aware of one’s self, and therefore able to actively analyze each of these phenomena. If a given animal is meta-aware to any extent, it can therefore make lucid decisions. Level 5 capabilities include the following:
- The “sense of self”;
- Complex learned behavior;
- Ability to predict the future emotional states of the self (to some degree);
- The ability to make motivational tradeoffs.
- Level 6 – Awareness + World model + Dynamic self model + Effective control of subconscious: The dynamic sense of self can expand from “the small self” (directed consciousness) to the big self (“social group dynamics”). The “self” can include features that cross barriers between biological and non-biological – e.g., features resulting from cybernetic additions, like smartphones.
- Level 7 – Global awareness – Hybrid biological-digital awareness = Singleton: Complex algorithms and/or networks of algorithms that have capacity for multiple parallel simulations of multiple world models, enabling cross-domain analysis and novel temporary model generation. This level includes an ability to contain a vastly larger amount of biases, many paradoxically held. Perspectives are maintained in separate modules, which are able to dynamically switch between identifying with the local module of awareness/perspective or the global awareness/perspective. Level 7 capabilities involve the same type of dynamic that exists between the subconscious and directed consciousness, but massively parallelized, beyond biological capacities.
Article I. All sentient entities are hereby entitled to pursue any and all rights within this document to the degree that they deem desirable – including not at all.
Article II. The enumeration in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage any other rights retained by sentient entities.
Article III. All sentient entities shall be granted equal and total access to any universal rights to life.
Article IV. Sentient entities are entitled to universal rights of ending involuntary suffering, making personhood improvements, and achieving an indefinite lifespan via science and technology.
Article V. No coercive legal restrictions should exist to bar access to life extension and life expansion for all sentient entities. Life expansion includes life extension, sensory improvements, and other technologically driven improvements of the human condition that might be achieved in the future.
Article VI. Involuntary aging shall be classified as a disease. All nations and their governments will actively seek to dramatically extend the lives and improve the health of their citizens by offering them scientific and medical technologies to overcome involuntary aging.
Article VII. All sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of a system of universal health care.
Article VIII. Sentient entities are entitled to the freedom to conduct research, experiment, and explore life, science, technology, medicine, and extraterrestrial realms to overcome biological limitations of humanity. Such experimentation will not be carried out on any sapient being, without that being’s informed consent. Sentient entities are also entitled to the freedom to create cybernetic artificial organs, bio-mechatronic parts, genetic modifications, systems, technologies, and enhancements to extend lifespan, eradicate illness, and improve all sentient life forms. Any such creations that demonstrate sapience cannot be considered property and are protected by the rights presented herein.
Article IX. Legal safeguards should be established to protect individual free choice in pursuing peaceful, consensual life-extension science, health improvements, body modification, and morphological enhancement. While all individuals should be free to formulate their independent opinions regarding the aforementioned pursuits, no hostile cultural, ethnic, or religious perspectives should be entitled to apply the force of law to erode the safeguards protecting peaceful, voluntary measures intended to maximize the number of life hours citizens possess.
Article X. Sentient entities agree to uphold morphological freedom—the right to do with one’s physical attributes or intelligence whatever one wants so long as it does not harm others.
This right includes the prerogative for a sentient intelligence to set forth in advance provisions for how to handle its physical manifestation, should that intelligence enter into a vegetative, unconscious, or similarly inactive state, notwithstanding any legal definition of death. For instance, a cryonics patient has the right to determine in advance that the patient’s body shall be cryopreserved and kept under specified conditions, in spite of any legal definition of death that might apply to that patient under cryopreservation.
Morphological freedom entails the duty to treat all sapients as individuals instead of categorizing them into arbitrary subgroups or demographics, including as yet undefined subcategorizations that may arise as sapience evolves.
However, the proper exercise of morphological freedom must also ensure that any improvement of the self should not result in involuntary harms inflicted upon others. Furthermore, any sentient entity is also recognized to have the freedom not to modify itself without being subject to negative political repercussions, which include but are not limited to legal and/or socio-economic repercussions.
Article XI. An altered, augmented, cybernetic, transgenic, anthropomorphic, or avatar sentient entity, whether derived from or edited by science, comprised of or conjoined with technology, has the right to exist, form, and join the neo-civilization.
Article XII. All sentient entities are entitled to reproductive freedom, including through novel means such as the creation of mind clones, monoparent children, or benevolent artificial general intelligence. All sentient entities also have the right to prevent unauthorized reproduction of themselves in both a physical and a digital context. Privacy and security legislation should be enacted to prevent any individual’s DNA, data, or other information from being stolen and duplicated without that individual’s authorization.
Article XIII. All sentient entities have privacy rights to personal data, genetic material, digital, biographic, physical, and intellectual enhancements, and consciousness. Despite the differences between physical and virtual worlds, equal protections for privacy should apply to both physical and digital environments. Any data, such as footage from a public security camera, archived without the consent of the person(s) about whom the data were gathered and subject to legal retention, shall be removed after a period of seven (7) years, unless otherwise requested by said person(s).
Article XIV. Sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.
Article XV. All sentient entities, with the exception only of those in legal detention, have the right to private internet access without such access being prohibited or circumvented by either private corporations or governmental bureaucracy.
Article XVI. All sentient entities should be protected from discrimination based on their physical form in the context of business transactions and law enforcement.
Article XVII. All sentient entities have the right to defend themselves from attack, in both physical and virtual worlds.
Article XVIII. Societies of the present and future should afford all sentient entities sufficient basic access to wealth and resources to sustain the basic requirements of existence in a civilized society and function as the foundation for pursuits of self-improvement. Present and future societies should ensure that their members will not live in poverty solely for being born to the wrong parents.
Article XIX. Given the inevitability of technology eventually replacing the need for the labor of sentient entities, all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.
Article XX. Present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values.
Article XXI. All sentient entities are entitled to join their psyches to a collective noosphere in an effort to preserve self-consciousness in perpetuity.
Article XXII. Sentient entities will take every reasonable precaution to prevent existential risks, including those of rogue artificial intelligence, asteroids, plagues, weapons of mass destruction, bioterrorism, war, and global warming, among others.
Article XXIII. All nations and their governments will take all reasonable measures to embrace and fund space travel, not only for the spirit of adventure and to gain knowledge by exploring the universe, but as an ultimate safeguard to its citizens and transhumanity should planet Earth become uninhabitable or be destroyed.
Article XXIV. Transhumanists stand opposed to the post-truth culture of deception. All governments should be required to make decisions and communicate information rationally and in accordance with facts. Lying for political gain or intentionally fomenting irrational fears among the general public should entail heavy political penalties for the officials who engage in such behaviors.
Article XXV. In addition to the rights enumerated herein, this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS hereby incorporates by reference all of the rights expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and hereby extends these rights to all entities encompassed by this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.