Pre-announcing Transhumanism 2024

This is not yet an announcement. It’s definitely not a press release. Not yet, anyway.

But it’s a call for feedback on a potential multi-year campaign.

You can give feedback at or before an online event happening on Saturday 2nd October.

Image credit: this picture includes a photograph by Pixabay user BazzaBoy.

Provisionally, the campaign has the name “Transhumanism 2024”.

It envisions candidates representing Transhumanist UK standing in mayoral elections in the UK in May 2024 – in cities such as London and Greater Manchester, and potentially others too.

The idea is that, between now and these elections, Transhumanist UK will develop and highlight a memorable, compelling set of political policies in support of our vision for a radically better human society.

We’ll need some powerful slogans that distinguish us from other political initiatives. For example, as in the image shown above, “Steering technology for profound social progress”. (Other suggestions are welcome!)

We’ll also need a number of clear, concise policy proposals. Some examples are given below. Evidently, more work is needed here.

If the campaign is successful, these slogans and policy proposals will increasingly enter the main political discussion over the next three years, via the influence of Transhumanist UK.

Toward transhumanist mayors

Why focus on city mayoral elections? Because these elections take place under a “supplementary vote” system, in which voters can indicate both first and second preferences for candidates. That will make it easier for voters to cast their votes for us.

More details: Supplementary vote is different from the “first past the post system” (FPTP) that is used in the UK’s parliamentary elections. In FPTP, each voter has only a single vote. Voters are often reluctant to give their votes to minor party candidates (e.g. Candidate M), worrying that their vote would be wasted, and that it might allow a candidate they really dislike (Candidate RD, say) to beat another candidate they would quite like to win (Candidate QL, say). With supplementary vote, the voter can give their first vote to M and their second to QL. But in FPTP, most such voters would just vote for QL, despite their level of interest in M.

Next steps with the campaign

Here’s what could happen next:

  1. An initial set of possible policy proposals is presented (see below)
  2. The set is improved, iteratively, via online feedback
  3. An online meeting in October helps to clarify ideas and focus minds
  4. Material is prepared for a public launch of the campaign
  5. The public launch takes place
  6. Things take off from here!
  7. Things become more and more serious…

Possible policy proposals

The following proposals:

1. From “everyone online” to “everyone empowered”

AI-powered personal digital assistants, as well as enabling large cost-savings, can empower all citizens rather than constrain them, intimidate them, distract them, or manipulate them. Key to acceptance of these assistants will be democratic oversight of the associated software systems, rather than these systems being operated by opaque corporations.

2. From “smart city” to “trusted city”

The technology systems that sense and monitor what is happening throughout the city should prioritise openness and fairness, in ways that deliver clear benefit to all citizens and can gain everyone’s trust. Legitimate privacy concerns will be respected, whilst instances of crime and terrorism can be reduced, and resources can be deployed more efficiently.

3. Automation that uplifts rather than deprives

Automation should be welcomed wherever it makes lives safer, reduces work that is back-breaking or soul-destroying, and enables key goods and services to be provided at lower costs. The social safety net should be reconfigured to avoid victimising people who lose their jobs as a result of automation. This new social safety net can include features that might be called “UBI v2.0” (details to be worked out).

4. Local superdemocracy and citizens’ assemblies

Vibrant citizens’ assemblies (or other similar groupings), aided by transparent AI systems, can accelerate reaching deep agreement on the best ideas from anywhere inside the city. In this way, local politics will feature less partisanship and more constructive collaboration.

5. From GDP to IHSF (Index of Human and Social Flourishing)

Instead of measuring and trying to improve GDP – the total financial value of goods exchanged – politicians should switch to defining, measuring, and improving IHSF – the Index of Human and Social Flourishing (name subject to change). The IHSF should increase as the requirements for a good quality of life reduce in cost; it should fall when more citizens feel they are being “left behind” against their will.

6. A city that flourishes whilst being carbon neutral

The city should accelerate taking wide advantage of next generation green technologies. In this way, buildings and transport systems will provide higher qualities of life at the same time as avoiding any net negative impact on the environment.

7. Healthcare for open-ended youthful lifespans

Significantly more funding should be provided to develop and deploy treatments that keep bodies and minds youthful and vigorous – biorejuvenation therapies that prevent the build-up over time of biological damage, undo the trauma of aging, and detect and reverse illnesses early. That’s the best approach to address chronic age-related diseases such as cancer, heart failure, dementia, stroke, diabetes, and immunosenescence. In this vision of the not-so-distant future, people will be as healthy and as engaged in all aspects of life at the age of 90 as when aged 40. This will make the longevity dividend real.

8. Accelerate access to neurotechnologies and psychoactive substances

Laws banning the use of various nootropic and psychedelic drugs in the UK are ill-informed and are overdue revision. These compounds, when used with due guidance and supervision, can boost many aspects of mental vitality. Likewise, forthcoming AI-powered neurotechnologies have the potential to significantly improve mental creativity, rationality, interpersonal relationships, and democratic participation, and should also be accelerated.

9. Selectively embrace genetic editing

Techniques such as CRISPR have the potential to edit human genomes to remove causes of rare genetic diseases and to enable other improvements. Viable applications should be explored promptly and, when found safe, legislative barriers against their use should be removed.

10. Incentivise meat from non-sentient sources

Incentives should be provided for people to switch their diets away from meat from slaughtered animals. Meat that is cultured in labs should be preferred: it’s healthier, better for the environment, and avoids killing sentient animals. This is also in line with the transhumanist vision of championing the wellbeing of all sentience.

11. A city that is a champion of the transhumanist and cosmist revolutions

The city should be attractive to the innovators who are building the technologies that enable substantial improvements in the human condition, including technologies to transcend limitations imposed by biology and gravity. The city should align with the bigger visions of humanity reaching into new dimensions of both inner and outer space. Particular support should be provided for those innovators who prioritise safety as well as positive impact.

12. Uphold morphological and social freedom

New technology brings new possibilities in self-expression and group-expression, including body modifications, biohacking, alternative genders, new options in child-bearing, and new structures for social collaboration. No unnecessary restrictions should be placed on consenting well-informed citizens carrying out such experiments on themselves.

13. The human right to cryonic preservation

Citizens should be supported if they express a desire for the cryonic preservation of their body on the point of legal death.

14. Steer the singularity: Anticipate AI breakthrough

The city needs to anticipate the possibility of a sudden acceleration in the power of AI, and to take action to steer any such development in a beneficial direction.

15. Education fit for the new future: STEM and beyond

Revisions in education systems should help citizens of all ages to prepare to handle the risks and take advantage of the opportunities of a society that:

  1. Is changing rapidly, in ways that are difficult to anticipate
  2. Is ultra-diverse – with a growing variety of transhumans and AIs
  3. Is awash with irrationality and destructive tendencies
  4. Has lost its confidence in traditional moral principles
  5. Is approaching a state of “post-scarcity”, characterised by abundance
  6. Is approaching a state of “post-work”.

This involves more attention to STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths – but also to many other subjects, as laid out in the Vital Syllabus project.

Footnote

A couple of issues will need attention.

First, the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has declared an intent that the mayoral elections in 2024 will be held under FPTP rather than Supplementary Vote. The announcement has generated considerable controversy.

Second, candidates for mayors in these elections need to submit a deposit of UKP £10,000. That will require Transhumanist UK to raise an order of magnitude more funds than before.

Feedback requested

Please let Transhumanist UK know if you:

  • Want to become involved in the Transhumanism 2024 campaign
  • Have views on possible slogans or policy proposals
  • Have ideas about ways of gaining early public impact from the campaign (well ahead of 2024)
  • Have any other feedback on this proposal.

Thanks!

Published on 30 June 2021. Revised 20th September 2021.

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