Zoltan Istvan, America’s most famous transhumanist, is running for President again in 2020 – this time as a Republican against Donald Trump. In 2016 he ran as a candidate for the Transhumanist Party.
The 46-year-old journalist’s quixotic tilt at becoming Leader of the Free World reveals a major political rift amongst transhumanists. Istvan fears that socialists and authoritarians are taking over the movement. He represents the libertarian wing, as he explains on his website.
“The fate of fiscally conservative Republicans rests in embracing transhumanism and become more open-minded to cultural and technological change—or the far-left will own the future, just like they already own the environmental movement. The GOP must embrace radical innovation in the human being and be the caretakers of humanity’s brave future.”
His platform includes a number of distinctively transhumanist themes:
- Ageing and all disease will be eradicated as the national health mission of the United States.
- Constitutional protections for morphological freedom
- Protection from existential risks such as asteroids, plagues, climate change, nuclear risk, and AI innovation
- A ban on laws prohibiting genetic editing, cloning, and other radical science.
- Rights for future advanced sapient beings like conscious robots and cyborgs, as well as the possibility of 3D Printing of entire humans beings and AI creating the Singularity.
- Options such as giving criminals the choice of cerebral reconditioning rather than execution.
His perspective on the abortion debate may be far-fetched, but it is original: “There are approximately 50 million abortions worldwide a year. Use government funds and offer private companies incentives to help develop the artificial womb.”
Another potentially controversial policy is licencing parents in order to prevent child abuse. He suggests that “prospective parents [should] pass a series of basic and quick tests, similar to a DMV driving test, to quality and get the green light to get pregnant and raise children.
As a libertarian, Istvan wants to reduce the size of government. Although it might not be a vote-winner, he proposes eliminating “millions of government jobs by robots, AI, and new tech”.
He describes himself as “a new type of Republican politician”. However controversial his policies might be, that is one thing that everyone can agree on.
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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