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Should a Transhumanist Run for US President?

10/08/2014 04:12 pm ET | Updated Dec 08, 2014
  • Zoltan Istvan US Presidential candidate of Transhumanist Party; Creator of Immortality Bus; Author of #1 bestselling Philosophy novel 'The Transhumanist Wager'

I'm in the very early stages of preparing a campaign to try to run in the 2016 election for US President. I'll be doing it as a transhumanist for the Transhumanist Party, a political organization I recently founded that seeks to use science and technology to radically improve the human being and the society we live in.

In addition to upholding American values, prosperity, and security, the three primary goals of my political agenda are as follows:

1) Attempt to do everything possible to make it so this country's amazing scientists and technologists have resources to overcome human death and aging within 15-20 years--a goal an increasing number of leading scientists think is reachable.

2) Create a cultural mindset in America that embracing and producing radical technology and science is in the best interest of our nation and species.

3) Create national and global safeguards and programs that protect people against abusive technology and other possible planetary perils we might face as we transition into the transhumanist era.

These three goals are so simple and obvious, you'd think every politician in the 21st Century would be publicly and passionately pursuing them. But they're not. They're more interested in landing your votes, in making you slave away at low-paying jobs, in keeping you addicted to shopping for Chinese-made trinkets, in forcing you to accept bandage medicine and its death culture, and in getting you to pay as much tax as possible for far-off wars (places where most of us will never step foot in).

While I look forward to the challenge of being involved in politics, the reality is, of course, that it's totally improbable a new independent party and its candidate will get elected. It probably will be impossible to even get on many state ballots. Obviously, I'm aware of that. Why do it then? Because it's a start. And if transhumanists--a growing group consisting of futurists, life extensionists, biohackers, technologists, singularitarians, cryonicists, techno-optimists, and many other scientific-minded people--are serious about the pending future, then it's time to get involved in the political game. Enough lawyers and politicians over the years have had their fill. Enough faith-touting Congress members have stifled this country. Enough WASP-supporting men have sat and tried to dictate its terms for too long. Transhumanists must get involved to protect and usher in their futures.

The transhumanism movement goes back decades, to a time when philosophers, futurists, and scientists began understanding how fast technology could solve all the world's problems. The movement has continued to grow and is now spreading amongst the youth like wildfire. There are many employees at major tech companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google who subscribe to transhumanist aims. Transhumanist-themed conferences, groups, and even schools, like Singularity University, are popping up. Notably, even Italy has recently elected a transhumanist Parliament member named Giuseppe Vatinno. Another transhumanist politician Gabriele Rothblatt is running for US Congress in Florida's 8th District.

The term transhumanism is, of course, just a label, like Republican, Democrat, libertarian, or tea partier. But the label is important, nonetheless. This is because there is a big difference between those who appreciate science, and those who are willing to use it to fundamentally alter themselves and society in the 21st Century. In the next 25 years, all of us will face a choice about how far we want to take technology and science--all of us will face a Transhumanist Wager. Artificial hearts will become better than the best human hearts. Bionic arms will become superior to human arms. Smart phones will become the size of a fingernail and will likely be implanted into your body. Speaking out loud will disappear as the modern world uses mindreading headsets to communicate, which already exist. Where will you stand? How far will you take technology in your life?

The future is less about social security, climate change, immigrant border traffic, taxes, terrorism, the economy, and the myriad other issues that flash across news headlines every day--and more about how far we are willing to use science and technology to fundamentally alter the human being and experience. That transhuman future doesn't care what color skin you have, what your sexual orientation is, what faith you embrace, where you were born, what type of job you have, or what political perspective you hold.

Transhumanism is not a political end, but a life-affirming commitment to becoming one's best self using the help of reason, science, and technology. It doesn't belong to any formerly established political system or party. It's only concerned with reaching its goals and being true to its ideals. My own politics are similar; I'm interested in making the most headway we can into our future.

Friends, we've all seen what's happening lately. The transhumanist era is literally upon us. Those paralyzed and bound to wheelchairs can walk via exoskeletons. Those who have never heard sound can now hear via implants. Gun shot victims who are dead are brought back to life via suspended animation. The poverty rate is the lowest it's ever been around the world. Science and technology are responsible for these joys and successes.

Yet, we spend so little of our resources on the brilliance that science can bring all of us. America still spends almost 10 times its resources on defense than on science and medical research. It spends approximately four times its resources on the prison system than on education for our kids. It spends at least 100 times its wealth on bureaucratic-inspired legal fees than on critical life extension science to keep its citizens alive. This is why a transhumanist politician could be an extraordinary help to the nation and the 21st Century.

The future is coming so fast, that unless we change the paradigm and how we lead our great nation forward, we will find ourselves at the mercy of such powerful technology. It's time to introduce the future to our political leaders who will lead this country forward. The Transhumanist Party will not win this election. But it can change the questions the real elected leaders will ask. That is something significant, indeed.

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