Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 3.0
Version 1.0 written by Zoltan Istvan – Delivered to the U.S. Capitol on December 14, 2015
Version 3.0 developed by members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party – Adopted via Electronic Vote on December 2-9, 2018 – Integrated from Voting Preferences on December 12, 2018
[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. All sentient entities are entitled, to the extent of their individual decisions, to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, social, or planetary origin, property, birth (including manner of birth), biological or non-biological origins, or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional, or international status of the country or territory to which a sentient entity belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing, or under any other limitation of sovereignty. In the exercise of their rights and freedoms, all sentient entities shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order, and the general welfare in a democratic society, which may not undermine the peaceful prerogatives of any individual sentient entity. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.
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. All sentient entities are created free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood (without necessitating any particular gender or implying any particular biological or non-biological origin or composition).
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. The right of ending involuntary suffering does not refer to euthanasia but rather to the application of technology to eliminate involuntary suffering in still-living beings, while enabling their lives to continue with improved quality and length.
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. A system of universal health care does not necessitate any particular means, policy framework, source, or method of payment for delivering health care. A system of universal health care may be provided privately, by governments, or by some combination thereof, as long as, in practice, health care is abundant, inexpensive, accessible, and effective in curing diseases, healing injuries, and lengthening lifespans.
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 of full age and competency, without any limitation due to race, nationality, religion, or origin, have the right to marry and found a family or to found a family as single heads of household. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage, and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. All families, including families formed through novel means, are entitled to protection by society and the State. 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. No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his, her, or its privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his, her, or its honor and reputation. Every sentient entity has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. 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. No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. 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 are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All sentient entities are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS and against any incitement to such discrimination.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 life, liberty and security of person. 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. This includes the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including food or other necessary sources of energy, clothing, housing or other appropriate shelter, medical care or other necessary physical maintenance, necessary social services, and the right of security in the event of involuntary unemployment, sickness, disability, loss of family support, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond the sentient entity’s control. Present and future societies should ensure that their members will not live in poverty solely for being born to the wrong parents. All children and other recently created sentient entities, irrespective of the manner or circumstances of their creation, shall enjoy the same social protection. Each sentient entity, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his, her, or its dignity and the free development of his, her, or its personality.
Article XIX. Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace 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. All sentient entities have the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available, and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the sentient entity’s personality and to the strengthening of respect for all sentient entities’ rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations, racial, religious, and other sentient groups – whether biological, non-biological, or a combination thereof – and shall further the maintenance of peace. Parents and other creators of sentient entities have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children or other recently created sentient entities which have not yet developed sufficient maturity to select their own education.
Article XXI. All sentient entities are entitled to join their psyches to a collective noosphere in an effort to preserve self-consciousness in perpetuity. The noosphere is the sphere of human thought and includes, but is not limited to, intellectual systems in the realm of law, education, philosophy, technology, art, culture, and industry. All sentient entities have the right to participate in the noosphere using any level of technology that is conducive to constructive participation.
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. No sentient entity shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article XXVI. No sentient entity shall be subjected to torture or to treatment or punishment that is cruel, degrading, inhuman, or otherwise unworthy of sentience or sapience.
Article XXVII. Each sentient entity has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article XXVIII. All individual sentient entities have the right to an effective remedy by the competent local, national, international, or interplanetary tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted them by the constitution, by law, and/or by this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.
Article XXIX. All individual sentient entities are entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of their individual rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against them.
Article XXX. All individual sentient entities charged with a penal offence have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which they individually have had all the guarantees necessary for their defense. No sentient entity shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
Article XXXI. All sentient entities have the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Each individual sentient entity has the right to leave any country, including his, her, or its own, and to return to his, her, or its country.
Article XXXII. All sentient entities have the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.
Article XXXIII. All sentient entities have the right to a nationality. No sentient entity shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its nationality nor denied the right to change his, her, or its nationality.
Article XXXIV. All sentient entities have the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its property.
Article XXXV. All sentient entities have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest one’s religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. This right also includes freedom not to have a religion and to criticize or refuse to engage in any religious practice or belief without adverse legal consequences.
Article XXXVI. All sentient entities have the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article XXXVII. All sentient entities have the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No sentient entity may be compelled to belong to an association.
Article XXXVIII. All sentient entities have the right to take part in the government of their countries, directly or through freely chosen representatives. All sentient entities have the right of equal access to public service in their countries. The will of the constituent sentient entities shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage of sentient entities and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Article XXXIX. All sentient entities have the right to work, to free choice of employment, and to just and favorable conditions of work, as long as employment is offered or considered economically necessary in the sentient entity’s proximate society and contemporary epoch. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to equal pay for equal work. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to just and favorable remuneration, ensuring for themselves and their families an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection, such as a universal basic income. All sentient entities have the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of their interests; however, no sentient entity may be compelled to join a trade union as a condition of employment.
Article XL. All sentient entities have the right to rest and leisure commensurate with the physical requirements of those sentient entities for maintaining optimal physical and mental health, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay in societies where paid employment is considered economically necessary.
Article XLI. All sentient entities have the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts, and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. All sentient entities have the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary, or artistic production of which they are the authors.
Article XLII. All sentient entities are entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS can be fully realized.
Article XLIII. Nothing in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS may be interpreted as implying for any State, group, or sentient entity any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.