Zoltan Istvan – Transhumanist

Zoltan Istvan is an American writer, futurist, philosopher and transhumanist.

He writes transhumanist-themed columns: “The Transhumanist Philosopher” a blog for Psychology Today and “Transhumanist Future” for Vice’s Motherboard.

He has also worked as a reporter for the National Geographic Channel and is a blogger of futurist, transhumanist, and atheist topics for The Huffington Post.

He is the author of The Transhumanist Wager, a philosophical science fiction novel.

In late 2014, he announced his intent to run for President of the United States in the 2016 elections to raise transhumanist politics issues.

00:00 Trailer.
02:11 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
06:22 Brian’s Introduction.
06:54 Becoming tired of almost dying.
10:27 Media work in war zones brings conflicting concerns.
13:32 Transhumanism aim to overcome human death.
15:47 Religious views holding back scientific progress in health.
20:03 Why Zoltan is standing for Presidential election.
22:15 National Rifle Association (NRA) and artificial intelligence issues analogous.
23:37 A surprising amount of media attention Zoltan’s concepts are attracting.
27:54 Do we want phones controlling hearts amid concerns for a need to reduce technological dependency?
29:36 Value of Transhumanism movement to society.
33:01 How to run for Presidential election and Zoltan’s aims for his campaign.
37:09 Priorities for a transhumanist President Istvan.
40:13 What is wrong with the present United States healthcare policy?
44:13 His image as a Presidential candidate and transhumanist.
45:41 Breadth of transhumanism is detrimental to its growth.
50:20 Differences between America’s and Europe’s perspective of Zoltan.
54:41 Interesting concept of uploading yourself or two of you, but what about the body?
58:14 Isn’t the beauty of life in the randomness of it?
1:00:01 What might the human existence of being in a hard drive be like?
1:03:02 How does Zoltan respond to his detractors?
1:05:30 Living for ever. We should treat aging as a disease.
1:08:41 The three laws of transhumanism.
1:10:20 7 years boat trip with 500 books delivers amazing experiences.
1:14:01 What to avoid doing in Papua New Guinea.
1:15:14 The opportunities of being a journalist that Zoltan misses.
1:16:50 Does transhumanism relate to Bitcoin?
1:17:54 How would transhumanism deal with the possibility of people abusing technology?
1:19:58 What would need to happen for Zoltan to realistically win the Presidential election in 2020?
1:21:36 The future of Transhumanism with the younger generation.
1:23:15 If older generation are never to die, will younger generation’s ideas be suppressed?
1:24:12 Big organisations wanting to hear more about transhumanism.
1:25:25 Success secrets.
1:26:15 Phone call to 20 year old Zoltan.
1:28:08 What advice would the 150 year old Zoltan say to him now?
1:30:28 Best advice he ever received.
1:31:44 To the 20 year old listening what should they do to be like him?
1:34:43 Why he always encourages people to start writing a blog and to read.
1:35:20 Brian’s summing up.
1:36:24 How to support transhumanism.

50
Leave a Reply

28 Comment threads
22 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
29 Comment authors
Ken Livingstone – Mayor of London – My BlogLawrence Krauss – A Godless Universe – My BlogChristopher Z HemenwaySimon Vait.Paulo Sigerson Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
trackback

[…] Cameron Harold Macmillan George Osborne Edward Heath Patrice Lumumba Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders Zoltan Istvan John […]

trackback

[…] Miley Cyrus Richard Dawkins Alan Alda Noam Chomsky Sam Harris Hunter S. Thompson Woody Allen Zoltan Istvan Christopher Hitchens Richard Feynman Galileo Charles Darwin Brian […]

Christopher Z Hemenway
Member

Politics, ahh the business of managing other people’s lives on stolen money. If we haven’t outgrown religion yet, I can’t wait to see how long it takes to ditch government. Another great interview though Brian despite my snark comment. You are always on point and so diverse! Thanks.

Simon Vait.
Member

living 10000 years in a finite planet seems like an awesome idea. These ideas shall not be promoted until we have habituated mars.

Paulo Sigerson
Member

It took me some time to check this interview, but I really hope someone at in London Real team can find some time to read these two articles:

http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html (part 1 of 2)
http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/12/what-makes-you-you.html

Wish you guys the best

Eugene Yakshin
Member

That’s a hell of a branching discourse. I like the guest. I can’t believe what I’ve just heard: States seriously considering Russia having AI first? Shure we have a lot of bright people here, but come on. After the Human Brain Project budget approved in Europe Obama made a statement about launching their own alternative in the States literally in a couple of days. Do you think here in Russia we had _a_n_y_ discussion going on? Nope. You’ll have immigrated Russian engineers all over Google more likely. It looks like Russia’s first priority development vector in is war now. Not… Read more »

Natalie Gray
Member

We live in a natural world. Everything in this world is natural. Not everything that’s natural is good. I’m annoyed at people who consider things like Aspirin unnatural when it’s made from the bark of a willow tree. Oil itself originates in nature, but we need to overcome our dependence with it on behalf of our environment.

Tony
Member

Never been a fan of using Vimeo as it always seems to stop and start! Vimeo does not seem to be a very stable video platform. Some people say it depends on the browser etc,. Does anyone out there also have this problem?

Tabitha Jayne
Guest
Tabitha Jayne

This was an interesting interview. I’m all for someone who can see that the U.S. electoral system is broken and is committing his own income to challenging that. Not quite sure about Transhumanism though. When Nature teaches us that there’s no death, rather a cycle of renewal and recycle instead it gives me the sense that the goal of avoiding death comes from a disconnect to Nature. It’s interesting that his objective to reduce cardiovascular disease is through heart transplants. It ignores all the research that exists on why cardiovascular disease exists and doesn’t take into consideration that there are… Read more »

Kristina Lesana Matty
Member

Exactly what I wanted to point out.

Howard Brooks
Member

How would you live your life differently today if you knew your life span would increase dramatically? Would you make different choices if you were certain you had an additional 100 years of high quality life ahead of you?

Ben Wells
Member

For me the best visionary of the human race in the future is Iain M Banks ‘Culture’ Novels >> ‘The Player of Games’ and ‘Feersum Endjinn’ uses multi level consciousness within a computer mainframe and external reality as it’s back ground for the story and ‘Excession’ really is an amazing futuristic look at human/robot symbiotic relationships… the future is already set

David Murphy
Member

I would recommend reading wikipedia’s entry on the goals and origins of Transhumanism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism Please also apply basic logic to the statements made in this interview. At a minimum, consider the number of vague generalizations and terms. Transhumanism has no claim to ‘all technologies that benefit humans’. And technology external to the ‘self’ (ie. cel phones) does not make you ‘transhuman’. The whole point with transhumanism is that you MERGE with the technology. It becomes part of your ‘self’, in a way where ‘you’ and it can’t be separated. In other words, the technology is no longer something you possess,… Read more »

David Murphy
Member

“Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. Remedies from chemicals will never stand in favor compared with the products of nature, the living cell of the plant, the final result of the rays of the sun, the mother of all life.”

— T.A. Edison

Renata Koba
Member

I think we are all Transhumanists already, whether we like it or not. There’s so much technology in our lives today that it is practically impossible not to be a Trans-human. Loved the video and the man!

Perry Piper
Member

It’s important to acknowledge that to be human is to go beyond limits. Picking up branches as tools, building dams and walking on the moon are great human accomplishments. The distinction though where human ends and transhuman begins is when people are electively “upgrading” themselves before normal health scares are even on the radar. People that will die as humans and not transhumans are those that reject the concepts of extending life and upgrading the body in favor of religious myths and afterlives. Zoltan talks about “bandaid-medicine” when referencing our current healthcare system and how doing things like implanting magnets… Read more »

Chris Mcaulay
Member

I assume one has to pay for the video to play properly.

Perry Piper
Member

Play properly? There were ads, sure, but my quality was excellent only through signing in.

Marie-Judith Jean-Louis
Member

Interesting. I love this idea of going on a year long vacation to read. #Bucketlist

Swithun Gibbs-kennet
Member

Looking forward to this . I don’t know anything about this guy buy I have an open mind ?

Luis Solarat
Member

My opinion is that in some points Transhumanism is very close to religion, trying to overcome death and being inmortal is something similar to the idea of the heaven or life after death of many religions. I think we should embrace death as a part of life! 🙂

Omar Gatti
Member

Transhumanism and religion share just the desire to keep on existing as individuals, at least some religions because others tell you that when you die you lose your identity and become part of “everything”, whatever this everything means. Anyway, this, and only this is the similarity between Transhumanism and religion. The huge difference is their basis: Religion is based on myths and stories that could be just fairytales while Transhumanism is based on science, so rationality. I’m not saying that religion is just a bunch of nonsense: if you think about Christianity, there have been lots of philosophers that tried… Read more »

Perry Piper
Member

Right, following up what Omar has said, Transhumanist goals are very similar to the Manhattan Project or Large Hardon Collider projects in terms of scope. The goals are based in reality. Religion just has vague future predictions about the return of prophets and doomsday judgements and such. Those aren’t goals, but things that “might” happen one day. Transhumanism and science in general will keep going into the future through decades or centuries earlier speculation and dreams of science fiction writers and prominent thinkers. After the Manhattan Project’s completion, American leaders concluded that probably anything was possible if we dedicate enough… Read more »

Ekaterinya Vladinakova
Member

A big part of Transhumanism to me is increasing one’s access to choices. What choices do we have when we are all going to grow old, get sick and die? When we develop ways to overcome aging, we will have the choice for these therapies or not. To upgrade the self or not, to free once’s self of horrific suffering.

Perry Piper
Member

Choices are definitely important. The thing that I’m not sure about is if we want to promote both longevity and a sort of free suicide culture. Today, if someone refuses a blood transfusion and dies, they are generally seen as crazy. If parents reject modern medicine and turn to faith healing and their child dies, that’s seen as neglect or even manslaughter. So if someone shoots themselves as a suicide, how is that different from a 100 yr old refusing the next aging vaccine while they are totally healthy otherwise? Are we as a culture ready to accept just normal,… Read more »

Louise Carrier
Member

Really interesting interview as is provoked a lot of questions for me. I know it’s a bit of a basic question but when there are concerns regarding overpopulation if we were to live longer or even become immortal where would everybody go?

Ekaterinya Vladinakova
Member

Interesting question. The main issue with overpopulation is resources and our horribly inefficient method in generating resources, and the high birth rate in extremely poor countries. We will also be upgrading our capacity to create food. The current system we have in place to put food on the table, or to generate energy is incredibly inefficient. There has been progress made in the technology of growing meat from cells extracted livestocks without having to kill an animal. It’s called “Cultured Meat”. This new method would reduce land usage for meat by 99%, since growing tons of animals takes up tons… Read more »

David Murphy
Member

IMO there are a couple of misconceptions in these statements. Factory ‘farming’ methods are extractive (think mining). At some point you have extracted all of the nutrients contained within the environment you’re farming. This is where the entire conception of ‘not enough resources’ comes from. The short term thinking (fix the ‘immediate problem’) solution is ‘extract more efficiently’.. but obviously that just means the mine runs out of resources more rapidly, or use the extracted resources more efficiently.. but of course in the case of calories for human consumption, you can’t increase the efficiency of the ‘human machine’. So, if… Read more »

Perry Piper
Member

Other repliers have great points for the long term changes we might do. However, in the next 100 years, I’d imagine only a tiny fraction of the global population would even sign up to extend their lifespans at all. So many people are religious and believe that to get to the best part of existence, the afterlife with God seeing deceased family members again, that they must die after they’ve lived a natural life. Many other people, even of the Millennial age (1980-2000 birth years), WANT to die for environmental reasons or that they hate living, as silly as that… Read more »

Gabriel González
Member

What?

Sorry
Because of its privacy settings, this video cannot be played here.

Omar Gatti
Member

Brian quotes Aubrey in a wrong way: Dr De Grey has never said that aging isn’t natural. He knows that is natural and it has been normal so far, what he states is that it is not acceptable because it causes too much sufferance and it can be cured.

Since it is a biological condition that causes pain and makes people die, it’s quite logical to define it a disease.

Cez Całka
Member

He seems like a really knowledgeable and honest guy.

John Pate
Member

This is an important topic. You need to find someone who actually talks realistically about this… and I don’t mean this guy or that bullshitter Aubrey de Grey.
Ask them when they’re going to come up with a reversal for male pattern baldness, for instance, or fix people’s eyesight so it’s unambiguously improved on the natural state without having to use glasses / contact lenses / telescopes.
As for human lifespan (not expectancy) it’s 120-130 years and you’re not going to break that in the foreseeable future, not enough is known about ageing to imagine otherwise.

Perry Piper
Member

Are you saying he’d have a better chance of winning the presidency if he spotlighted male pattern baldness over extending healthy lifespans? But to those areas, gene therapy is a possible lead that’s improving all the time. DNA printers like those developed at Singularity University can print the correct “source code” DNA that’s a copy of yours with the errors fixed. But the technology to input that into the body to overwrite your inherited/mistaken genes doesn’t exist yet. Gene therapy could be used for fixing eyesight as well, but I’d wager robotic implant eyes will be best long term because… Read more »

Arwa Stone
Member
Arwa Stone

Love this one! Transhumanism is the future.

Omar Gatti
Member

Yes, Arwa and you know what?

actually is the present in action.

A present to create a better future.

Don’t you think?

Arwa Stone
Member
Arwa Stone

It would definitely create a better future, also, it depends on how it’s used.

Peter Parwan
Guest
Peter Parwan

Now, as we have destroyed nature, the intelligent elite do not understand how to fix it, but thinking about next step escaping out of the mess, going to the stars… This is beautiful thinking, and it fact there is a possible way to go – the danger is obvious: as we did not manage to protect our own planet, how can we go on with transhumanism? Brilliant heads of all sorts are now give a warning, that this is easily getting out of control, in the very beginning. Because it is an issue of power and businesses…. like children, who… Read more »

Omar Gatti
Member

As Zoltan mentioned briefly, a goal of transhumanism is protecting the environment.

Peter Pan
Guest
Peter Pan

Talking about Goals is no Solution…

Jacob Montes
Member

Neither does shutting down ideas before they come to fruition.

Perry Piper
Member

Screwing up the environment was more of an unknown. Many to this day think that humans messing with climate, for example, is impossible, a fairy tale. Changing the globe literally goes against their religion.

The solution is literally climate geoenginnering. We can only cut emissions so far, but to fix things back to how they were, we’ll need to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere on a mass scale. Catastrophic climate change might happen, but within 100 years, if we choose, we’ll be able to revert back to our global state from 400 years ago before any inkling of industrial ages.

Tom Walker
Member

This is fascinating stuff. Reminds me of the Aubrey DeGrey one. More like this please!!!

zoransa
Member

This is awesome topic and great speaker. I cant wait to see it!

Omar Gatti
Member

Me too 🙂

Omar Gatti
Member

Transhumanism is a movement too often misunderstood so I hope Zoltan Istvan can clarify its meaning, its goal and its consequences as much as possible.

It won’t be an all-embracing clarification because Istvan represents just one tendency of the transhumanism, but his word will be anyway useful to everyone that wants to understand it better.

zoransa
Member

Well, we are transcending ‘human’ all the time without even realizing it also we are transforming planet, environment, this raise a lot of moral and legal questions that we only see in SciFi movies snd lately few of them were really good like Ex Machina, Transcendence with Johnny Depp… and also Lucy had few interesting angles.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCTen3-B8GU