The Transhumanist candidate for President knows that he isn’t going to win in 2016, or at least he’s pretty sure. The party was only founded six months ago, so winning the top office in the land isn’t necessarily the goal at this point. CCN spoke to Zoltan Istvan, a Californian who once sailed the open seas for seven years, via Skype one night recently. We talked about Bitcoin, politics, and, most interestingly, Transhumanism, or, according to Wikipedia:
… an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.
Zoltan Istvan started out as a philosophy major. He’s been a freelance journalist for years, writing for such publications as Vice. He is the author of the novel The Transhumanist Wager. About Bitcoin, he says:
Basically, I’d say most Transhumanists support cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin and new technologies that are coming that way. At the same time, I’d say most of the Transhumanist emphasis is actually on the human body. On how to make it better so that we might not in the future make such [political] errors. […] A lot of Transhumanists are very interested in virtual currencies. […]
I feel like encryption and ideas that resemble that with computers and technology, that’s never going to go away. The further we get into the technological world, the more we’re going to need to protect ourselves, so that you can’t falsify information [referring to the anti-counterfeit nature of Bitcoin], you can’t just have hackers come in and take away your existence. We live in a world that’s increasingly dominated by 1s and 0s and it requires a lot of security. So certainly I think that’s one of the elements that, I think, Bitcoiners share with Transhumanists and people of that nature that are very interested in protecting the things that matter to them.
Universal Basic Income
Many Transhumanists, including Istvan, support a future where robotic labor is the main source of production. Humankind has invented most of the solutions needed to eliminate human labor, they say, but has yet to fully take advantage of it, for economic reasons. Transhumanists propose that a Universal Basic Income is one possible solution to this.
A radical restructuring of the way things are taxed, and the things that are taxed, would lead to a situation where every person in a given economy would be afforded a monthly salary that would cover their basic needs and wants. This would not be akin to communism, as people would still be free to start businesses. The resources that belong to all people, such as air, water, and land, however, would be taxed such that everyone who owns them would be provided for. Income tax would become a thing of the past.
I think right now it’s not too early to discuss it, but it’s certainly too early to implement it, because, you know, robots are not taking all the jobs right now. They’re taking some. But not nearly as much as they’re probably going to take in let’s say ten years’ time. But that said, it’s a very important conversation to have. I think one of the main problems with futurist issues and technology and politics is that people always address everything too late. If we have designer babies here today, we should have been discussing this five years ago and implementing actual national policy. Instead, they haven’t even discussed national policy on this, except for a total moratorium or just, you know, not enough. And the point of the story is that we need to address these things ahead of time. And that takes courage, it takes know-how of the experts, and it just takes people kind of standing up and saying yes, politics is thorny and so is law, but let’s get down to it and say, what is it that people feel comfortable doing.
And I think the same thing applies to Universal Basic Income. I think most reasonable people agree that you’re going to need something like that if you are taking away all the jobs. Because without it, it’s a matter of basically becoming a dystopian society where the rich become richer and the poor become far, far poorer. […] I think it could come to a point where it’s so ludicrous that the poor literally say, hey, it’s worth revolting. It’s worth fighting, rather than just saying, this is our piece in life.
The Transhumanist party is working on accepting Bitcoin donations for their political campaigns. Their primary purpose in politics is to advance technologies that will in the near term benefits humans. Things like the elimination of deadly diseases such as cancer are chief on their agenda. Most of their views are in line with libertarian social philosophies, although they do believe in utilizing the government to promote progress. Currently, they’re looking for a Bitcoin expert to help them develop digital currency policy as well as a system for making the most of their Bitcoin donations. For more information, visit their website.