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Will 2015 Be Remembered as the Breakout Year for Transhumanism?

12/29/2015 03:08 pm ET | Updated Dec 29, 2015
  • Zoltan Istvan US Presidential candidate of Transhumanist Party; Creator of Immortality Bus; Author of #1 bestselling Philosophy novel 'The Transhumanist Wager'

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Depiction of a futuristic transhuman city -- Image by Jonas de Ro

Last year, I wrote that 2014 was a great year for the transhumanism movement. But 2015 was simply incredible -- it might end up being called a breakout year. I'm not yet willing to declare transhumanism as "mainstream," but it's getting quite close now. Transhumanism has become a word that is used frequently by people around the world and in major media when discussing radical science and technology changing our species.

Below is a quick recap of some select stories in English that came out this year on transhumanism and some of my efforts to bring the future closer.

Let's start with what might end up the most in-depth story on transhumanism ever written. The Verge sent journalist Elmo Keep to ride on the coffin-shaped Immortality Bus. Two months later a behemoth 10,000+ word piece appeared, leading the front page of the site for a few days. The article was also translated into numerous languages. Photographer Nancy Borowick astonished us with amazing photos of transhumanist activism. Then, Digg ran the story and had a chat session on the piece with the author.

While much appeared on video about transhumanism, perhaps the most viewed clip was by the always entertaining Good Mythical Morning YouTube show, starring Rhett James McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln "Link" Neal III. Combined with various outlets, their piece on transhumanism (and my presidential campaign) has garnered around two million views.

I got plenty of criticism this year from religious people for my atheist writings, but as I always try to point out, the secular community is still larger than the transhumanist one. And if a movement like transhumanism wants to grow, it must learn the engage the godless since they are natural supporters of science. My somewhat tongue-in-cheek Huffington Post story on atheists getting a bypass in airport security lines easily garnered the most impressions of any story I wrote this last year. Besides The Daily Caller, Western Journalism, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science discussing it, Fox News Channel covered it on their morning show Fox and Friends.

One of the most in-depth profile stories this year was written by Tim Maughan of BBC Future, highlighting a day in Washington DC with Transhumanist Party members and my transhumanism speech at the World Bank. The long article was the 2nd lead story on the BBC.com for almost a full day, and also appeared in various translations on foreign BBC sites, like BBC Hindi and BBC Portugal.

One of the most exciting moments of my own efforts to talk about transhumanism occurred when BuzzFeed invited me to visit their office in Los Angeles and sit down for an interview. Shane Madej and I discussed transhumanism, the future, and overcoming death.

On a personal note, a favorite Op-Ed piece came out with Gizmodo, when I had the chance to write directly about how my presidential campaign was going.

Another well-read piece covering transhumanism and longevity issues this year was a Popular Science weekend feature. Also, Vox's Dylan Matthews wrote a brilliant series of articles on transhumanism and the Immortality Bus, as did The Telegraph's Jamie Bartlett. Additionally, CNET's Eric Mack wrote a major story that was balanced and entertaining. TechCrunch ran a challenging article of mine on artificial intelligence, and The Daily Dot also published a fun one on my campaign and what it's like to get a biohacker implant.

Other sites also covered transhumanism: Reason ran a 10-minute video, Crypto Coin News (a leading Bitcoin site) ran a story, and Extreme Tech sent journalist Aaron Krumins on the Immortality Bus. Additionally, Medium ran a major interview on its front page, and Tech Insider published a popular piece and video on cryonics. Religious transhumanism was covered too, with articles on respected sites like Big Think.

Of course, there were plenty of critical stories about transhumanism--and also my campaign. The National Review's Wesley J. Smith wrote of my desire to become a vacuum cleaner. And I received many angry tweets after I did an hour-long in-studio interview on the Alex Jones Show.

Of course, no recap of a year on transhumanism would be complete without discussing Motherboard. They ran a large number of impactful stories exploring how technology is taking human beings beyond natural ability. A number of these stories appeared on the front page of their parent Vice, too.

The most surprising story for me this year was a lengthy interview in Esquire, where John Hendrickson asked me about why I might want an artificial intelligence as a president. It was the start of many questions regarding such a possibility over 2015, including another story in Pacific Standard.

A 5-part series of videos on transhumanism also appeared on the Daily Mail, including my favorite one about environmental and overpopulation concerns (including global warming).

There was lots of fun, too. International Business Times via Anthony Cuthbertson ran a comic video of my meeting with presidential candidate John McAfee, which was also picked up by Yahoo and MSN. It's a funny video.

If I had to pin down my best time this last year, I'd have to say thanks to the Financial Times for having me speak on transhumanism at their wonderful London event Camp Alphaville.

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